Memo Pad: Building Trust... Camera Ready... Growing but Shrinking...

Maybe all the celebrities were taken for Conde Nast's "Point of Passion" campaign.

BUILDING TRUST: Maybe all the celebrities were taken for Condé Nast's "Point of Passion" campaign. Over at Time Inc., it's media buying executives who are the headliners of the company's new corporate ad campaign, "Trusted Connections." The campaign focuses on four media executives who control purchasing plans in Time Inc. and other titles. They were photographed to represent the Time Inc. brand of their choice and, in a statement, executive vice president Stephanie George drummed the point home: "These fabulous executives have always had star status in our world," she gushed. So who are these celebrities in the Time Inc. universe? They're John Lisko of Saatchi & Saatchi, George Janson of Mediaedge:cia, Robin Steinberg of MediaVest and Andrew Swinand of Starcom.

The campaign will run in the traditional trade and online venues, as well as on taxi tops and in Times Square. It was dreamed up by its in-house marketing and creative executives.

One of the campaign's tag lines, "We don't sell pages. We sell attention," was clearly front of mind at the company's Digital Showcase Wednesday, given the recent shift in focus on many of its Web sites from page views to "engagement." This coincides with a decision by Nielsen/NetRatings last month to give measurement of time spent on a site more weight than simple page view rankings. Even before the Nielsen move, some Time Inc. sites already had begun to shift their emphasis from breaking news to video content and social media, as shown in presentations from's Mark Golin,'s Paul Fichtenbaum and Southern Progress Corp. representatives. Executive vice president John Squires acknowledged that, while those brands have made fairly natural transitions online, it is more "difficult to consider a unique position online" for a site like, relaunched in January, though he hopefully pointed to that site's blogs.

Time Inc. also is beginning to package its principal 15 Web titles — those that have seen the most investment so far — as a group buy. The digital future was touted as the company's savior in an earnings conference call, also Wednesday, during which Time Warner chairman and chief executive officer Dick Parsons said that just about every quarter, he is asked about Time Inc.'s future within the group. His answer hasn't changed: He said the company is committed to the division and is "focusing on the titles that can have a life in the online space." Publishing revenues of $1.3 billion were essentially flat for the second quarter, reflecting higher ad revenues, offset by lower "other" revenues. Operating income rose 13 percent to $256 million, based on an increase before depreciation and amortization.
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