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Memo Pad: Swapping Love Notes

Kate White and David Zinczenko are cohabitating - figuratively - in the May issues of their respective magazines, Cosmopolitan and Men's Health.

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SWAPPING LOVE NOTES: Kate White and David Zinczenko are cohabitating — figuratively — in the May issues of their respective magazines, Cosmopolitan and Men's Health. The two editors in chief collaborated to swap content about relationships culled from responses from a joint survey of their readers on what makes the perfect mate. Editors from each title created special sections for the other magazine, providing Cosmo readers straight advice from the men of Men's Health, and Men's Health readers tips from the female perspective.

How did the editorial hookup come about? And more important, how did Zinczenko and White, who are close friends, get the idea past the top chiefs at Hearst and Rodale? It's rare enough when two magazines at the same publishing houses collaborate on content, much less two titles from competing publishers. And the partnership seems especially peculiar since both editors have accessible partners in their own homes — Esquire at the Hearst Tower and Women's Health at Rodale.

The idea stemmed from an e-mail White sent to Zinczenko in October suggesting they work together. Convincing higher-ups to sign off was a nonissue: "[Hearst Magazines president] Cathie [Black] gives me the freedom to make my own editorial decisions," said White via e-mail, and Zinczenko at Rodale has similar breathing room. Additionally, the readership and content in the two titles were a better fit than, say, Cosmo and Esquire. "Men's Health is more likely to do the relationship and sex pieces that we do in Cosmo, so they were a natural fit," said White. The median age of Men's Health's readers is 36; Cosmo's median age is 31: Esquire's is near 44, according to statistic from Mediamark Research Inc.

As for the survey, it revealed that both sexes wanted similar things (or said they did): a companion who's funny, who will listen when they're in a bad mood and someone who takes his or her time in the sack (the longer the foreplay, the better, according to both magazines).

Meanwhile, Cosmo readers might be pleased to hear Men's Health is embracing its metrosexual side by giving readers its seal of approval on more than 40 grooming products, from shampoo to face scrub. The May issue presents the magazine's 2007 Grooming Awards, reminiscent of Allure's Best of Beauty rundown, without the mascara and lipstick.
The May issue drove beauty advertising up 45.8 percent over May 2006, with the help of ads from Lancôme's Hypnôse, Gucci Pour Homme II, Kenneth Cole RSVP and Avon's Derek Jeter Driven Skin Care. Also, in a first for a men's magazine, Men's Health has partnered with Walgreens for a mass retail promotion, "Get Your Groom On," to promote the awards, said Jack Essig, vice president and publisher. — Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks