The effort is part of what Bono told The New York Times in the same March article is his goal of making the July issue "a best-selling issue of Vanity Fair, I want to make a hit record."
And insiders say Bono has been extremely hands-on throughout his tenure — editing story drafts and headlines and even giving feedback on photography. He's also been very vocal about stories he supports. Insiders describe him as a pleasure to work with, as well as smart and down-to-earth. Perhaps it helps that this isn't the first guest-editing gig he's had: Bono performed similar duties at The Independent in London and the French newspaper Libération.
While newsstand sales will determine whether or not Bono has crafted a "hit record" for the monthly, at least he won't be disappointed in the advertising. The issue will carry more than double the ad pages of the July 2006 one — 105 pages compared with 49 — and will set a record for the title's biggest July issue ever. "It's Vanity Fair, it's Bono, it's a special Africa issue — this is a very big deal. And it reflects a huge trend in the marketplace, which is social responsibility," said Edward Menicheschi, vice president and publisher of Vanity Fair. Year-to-date, ad pages are up 21.5 percent. — Stephanie D. Smith
BRUCE ALMIGHTY: Are they really going out together? Hard to tell in Bruce Weber's new campaign for French fashion and accessories house Celine, part of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton empire. The fall spots, featuring actress Emmanuelle Seigner, model Bette Franke and two handsome young men, are loosely narrative, showing various members of the multigenerational group engaged in a pillow fight, a chase or just hanging out. "You can't really tell who is trying to seduce whom," says Ivana Omazic, Celine's creative director. "But there's a lot of innocence in all this. It's about having fun together, being happy in the moment." Omazic said the campaign is meant to convey an ageless "joie de vivre" and Celine's relaxed, woman-friendly style — and Weber fit the bill perfectly. "He's one of the few people in the world who can keep a sense of elegance with the spontaneity of real life," she said. "He works very instinctively." Serge Brunschwig, Celine's chief executive offer, said the budget for the fall-winter campaign is "significantly up" versus a year ago, allowing for more double-page placements to better convey the campaign's visual tale. "It's quite an important move for the brand," he said. Omazic hinted she hopes to continue collaborating with Weber. "For me, it's the beginning of the story," she said. — Miles Socha