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War Another Blow For Magazine World Still Reeling From ’02

Publishers and ad execs are divided on what impact the Iraqi war will have on media buying in the third quarter.

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For Rolling Stone, Gregory said that urban-wear lines like Phat Farm, Roc A Wear, and Sean John are all continuing to buy more aggressively.

But even cautiously optimistic predictions are being couched around statements like "it’s too early to tell," and most seem to acknowledge that fall ads will not be easy to book early.

Ad buyers acknowledge that.

"Some people will start to hold on a little tighter to ad dollars and see what happens. That’s what happened post-9/11, and it’s what may happen now," said Andrew Black of Laird and Partners, which reps Donna Karan and does campaigns for Gap. "If the war is a success there will be an extra flurry so that a dip in the middle is followed by a rebound at the end of the year."

"At Marie Claire, we’re planning from issue to issue," said publisher Katherine Rizzuto. "We don’t know what’s coming into every issue until close. We have 20 pages coming in at the very last minute every issue, and I think that will continue for a while until we know how this ends. In that sense, nothing changed last night. I would have told you that yesterday, I would have told you that two weeks ago and I would have told you every day after Sept. 10th [2001]."

But the war already has had an impact, with advertisers postponing the shooting of ad campaigns until good news comes back from the front, or until they substitute more wholesome ads in their place. As reported, Hedi Slimane postponed the shoot for Dior Homme’s campaign, and there are reports that models have begun refusing to fly to already-scheduled shoots because of the war.

"I’ve heard that even up until yesterday, advertisers were changing their ads at the last minute," said George Janson, senior partner, director of print at Mediaedge.

There is also trepidation on the part of many advertisers about appearing next to war coverage.

A Newsweek spokesman said some advertisers have called "about positioning and postponing ads temporarily, moving them to later weeks."
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