‘Parenting’ Going the Celebrity Route

Title going for hip parents

While most magazines have featured celebrities on their covers, the mass parenting titles have largely stuck to cute baby and kid models. But parenting magazines also are under pressure as new moms and dads increasingly go to the Web for advice.

Bonnier Corp.'s Parenting is hoping that adding celebrities to its covers will help it stay relevant, though. The October “Early Years” edition features Tori Spelling with her two tots, part of a design and content refresh.

Print editorial director Ana Connery also has added a new tagline (“Modern families + fresh ideas") and updated the content to reflect the growth of nontraditional families.

Examples include a new "Pop Culture" column on modern fatherhood by executive editor Shawn Bean and an article in the current issue about a couple who adopted a baby using Facebook. The fonts and layout have also been refreshed.

Connery said the celebrity covers, which she plans to run occasionally, respond to readers' interest in stars, both real and reality, and the rise of the celebrity mom. "By tailoring this trend for our brand and putting it on our pages, we're telling readers that we understand who they are," she wrote in an email. "We know what they watch and who they follow on Twitter feeds."

With the October issue, the Early Years edition also dropped that identifier. Parenting split into two editions in 2009, Early Years and School Years, to gain an edge over Meredith’s Parents. A Parenting rep said it hasn’t abandoned the editioning strategy, it  dropped the label for a while to make the new tagline more noticeable.

Going the nontraditional route hasn't always worked out well for parenting magazines. Condé Nast's Cookie folded after just four years. Celebrity covers can also backfire. As any editor who’s put Justin Bieber on the cover knows, a celebrity’s popularity doesn’t necessarily translate to magazine sales.