First On FBNY: Food Network Magazine Debuts New Ad Opportunity, Wins Six-Issue Commitment From Unilever

As it heads towards its second year of publication, Food Network Magazine is seeking ever more new and exciting advertising opportunities for its clients.

The latest ad venture is a four-page spread that lives underneath the magazine’s unique recipe index at the front of the book. The index, which lists every recipe in each issue with a photo accompaniment, now opens up to reveal a spread that can be uniquely tailored to each brand’s needs with the right mix of advertorial and brand pages. The concept has garnered a six-issue commitment from Unilever, which plans to highlight at least six different brands over the course of the partnership, including Ragu, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Hellmann’s.

“It’s a very simple, smart, tailored, individualized idea,” Food Network Magazine vice president and publisher Vicki Wellington told FishbowlNY. “It’s the opportunity for us to create something that will be appropriate for each of the brands that we have brought on board. And it’s under the one spread that everyone talks about as soon as they open the issue. Some people have already seen it, and it’s already the envy of the community.”

Check out the index spread, after the jump

Wellington and her sales team worked closely with their own team of designers and photographers (separate from the edit team, of course) to develop the spreads for each Unilever product. “We come up with and created what is right for those brands,” she explained. “It could be four pages of advertorial. Ragu’s spread [in the March issue] is two brand pages and two pages of advertorial with recipes.”

Although Wellington would not comment on how much Unilever spent on the package, she admitted that a 4-page spread under the index would most definitely cost an advertiser more than a simple page in the magazine. “You’re getting four pages and you’re getting our creative team,” she said. “And you’re getting the big impact, so it’s definitely premium.”

The new index advertising package has enticed Unilever to sign on for 24 of these premium pages already this year, when the company had only run 12 pages in the magazine’s five issues in 2009. “And that doesn’t include any run of book pages,” Wellington said. “I feel bullish about them and about a lot of categories of business.” Other Food Network Magazine advertisers include American Airlines, Clinique, Olay and Verizon, just to name a few.

Wellington’s bullish feelings can be backed up by results. Food Network Magazine has already had a remarkable first quarter, selling 54 ad pages for its January/February issue, which outpaced the epicurean category Wellington says, and 58 pages in its March issue. For April, which has not yet closed, Wellington said she already has over 70 ad pages on deck.

“Our rate base is 1 million, however we’re already delivering 1.35 million,” Wellington told us. “We over-delivered by 2.1 million for anybody who advertised with us in 2009.”

Previously: Food Network Magazine Promotes, Expands Marketing Staff