Memo Pad: Still Hanging In There... From West To East... Independent Women...

Readership is down, the economy stinks and key advertising sectors are imploding. But there's good news...

Separately, Tribune has continued issuing press releases that attempt boisterous humor but might simply achieve cringes: in announcing the hire of Kim Johnson as senior vice president of local sales, amid cracks about Al Gore inventing the Internet, she was described as "a former waitress at 'Knockers — The Place for Hot Racks and Cold Brews.'" It's unclear who exactly is laughing. — Irin Carmon

The Condé Nast Bridal Group has seen significant changes in the six months since Bill Wackermann was given oversight of the division. In March, he assigned the magazines, which previously had one publisher, separate publishers — Alison Adler Matz is now at Brides and Jennifer Hicks at Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Your Prom. Now, each title is positioning itself with distinct identities to advertisers.

Next week, Modern Bride will roll out a trade campaign featuring celebrity brides Daisy Fuentes, Laila Ali, Giuliana Rancic, actress Jeri Ryan, and "Hairspray" star Marissa Jaret Winokur. The ads include photos from the stars' wedding day with a message expressing each one's individuality as a young married woman ("I'm a Modern Bride because I chased my career instead of guys," declared Rancic). The campaign follows a redesign of Elegant Bride, which will have an increased focus on reception planning along with bridal content and a crisp aesthetic similar to Martha Stewart Weddings. At Brides, the sales force is going to market with a new positioning, "Brides First," that emphasizes the magazine's iconic status as the largest resource in the category. "We were able to separate the magazines so they have clear voices," said Wackermann, who paralleled the three books in terms of their fashion magazine equivalent: Brides is the category's Vogue, Modern Bride is akin to Glamour and Elegant Bride is similar to W.

The goal is to raise the bridal group's profile among the beauty and fashion advertisers and expand its non-endemic ad base. Wackermann believes women are trying and buying beauty and fashion products in droves to ensure they look their best for their big day. Take fragrance, for example, which Wackermann said advertised very little with the bridal books. "If there's a night when you're going to slather yourself in fragrance, it's your wedding night."
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