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fashion-memopad

Glamour Heading in the Right Direction

The magazine had its strongest first quarter in five years, with advertising up 12 percent, or 34 pages, versus the prior-year period.

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ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GLAMOUR: Glamour magazine is back — at least according to its high-profile publisher Connie Anne Phillips.

What else would a turnaround publisher be expected to say? In this instance, the numbers appear to be trending in the right direction.

Phillips, who before coming to Glamour in June sat in the same seat at InStyle, where she gained a sort of rainmaker publisher status during her four-and-a-half-year tenure, pointed to her new pub’s shiny results.

Those include Glamour’s strongest first quarter in five years, with advertising up 12 percent, or 34 pages, for the first quarter of 2014 versus the prior-year period.

“This is the new Glamour,” Phillips told WWD Wednesday. “We have 11 million readers in print and eight million online. We deliver real scale, real impact and take that to marketers.”

For January, Glamour’s ads rose 25.8 percent, while in February ads expanded 11.9 percent, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Glamour told WWD that its March issue was up 8.2 percent over last year. New advertisers included Clarks, Coach, Emporio Armani, DSW and Simon G Jewelry, but Phillips noted that existing advertisers also spent more, pumping up pages.

The “rebound” of Glamour, according to Phillips, who, prior to InStyle spent 14 years at Condé Nast, where she ultimately served as associate publisher of Vogue, has to do with new talent.

Phillips has brought in five new positions on the ad side, including a luxury director, a retail director, a head of digital sales, a Detroit director and an executive director of integrated sales.

Speaking of new talent, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, who became Condé Nast’s artistic director last March, had been charged with working on Glamour, among other titles that needed a jolt.

Glamour, one of Condé’s strongest titles and longtime cash cows, had lost ground commercially and became a Wintour priority.

Although it finished 2013 with pages up 2.3 percent, 2012 saw ad pages dip 4.2 percent, and 2011 saw them decline 7.2 percent.

Under pressure, editor in chief Cindi Leive has worked closely with Wintour, but it hasn’t always been the easiest of relationships, even given the high-profile Leive’s diplomatic tendencies. It’s been somewhat “tense” at times, sources with knowledge of the relationship said. Under Wintour’s watch, Glamour’s fashion director Anne Christensen left, as did creative director of design Geraldine Hessler. Leive tapped Paul Ritter from Elle to replace Hessler, and appointed Jillian Davison, Vogue Australia’s former creative director, to take Christensen’s old gig. All of this took place within two months of Wintour’s September arrival at the magazine.

But now that Glamour appears to be back on the right track, Wintour has other titles to sink her teeth into, such as Self, which reported a 28.3 percent drop in ad pages for January and February combined, MIN data showed.

As for Glamour, Phillips is turning to digital, among other things, to keep the momentum going.

“I really believe that the most important thing for brand vitality is looking digital. We’re refreshing one of America’s true great media brands,” Phillips said, while giving kudos to Leive, who “inspires and empowers” her staff to create “modern, everyday chic” editorial.

Condé’s ceo Charles Townsend also doled out the praise, offering, “Glamour is a powerhouse brand, and these outstanding results are a true testament to Connie Anne and Cindi’s strong partnership, leadership and vision.”