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2013 US Advertising Growth Includes Print Magazines Too

According to new data from Kantar Media, US advertising spending for Q2 2013 is up 3.5% over the same period in 2012, to $35.8 billion. Cable TV made the greatest gains, up 14.9%, and Spanish-language TV was up 6.1%. On the other side of roster, newspaper advertising is down 4.3%.

September Magazine Issues

The most interesting news to me, though, is the section on print magazines. Ad revenues for consumer magazines are up 1.9%, although (if you want to quibble over the details) they sold fewer ad pages than last year, each one at a higher average rate. And Sunday magazines, the magazines inside newspapers, grew ad revenues by 4.1% — the same rate by which Internet display ad revenue grew.

Digging into individual titles shows more signs of vitality. The September issue of Vogue is the fattest since 2008 — 665 pages of ads — and the September Elle just broke the record for highest page count ever for a Hearst publication. W, Bon Appetit, Allure, Teen Vogue and Glamour all had their best Septembers since the 2008 financial crisis. The Atlantic, with its diversified approach across print, digital and events, is on a tear.

Who’d a thunk it?

Inspiration by House Beautiful, Colors by Glidden

Time to spiff up your pad? Hearst’s House Beautiful and Glidden paints want to make it easy on you.

Here’s how it works. Check out the photo flipbooks in House Beautiful’s Decorating section, mouse over an image you like that says “Find Your Color Inspiration,” and Glidden presents an information card that tells you the colors you need to make your house look like one that belongs in the pages of, well, House Beautiful.

Here’s how it works behind the scenes. House Beautiful creates the photos, Glidden makes interior paints in lots of stylish colors — Apricot White, Marshmallow White and Sweet Baby Boy, to name a few — and then the home-decor category experts at Pixazza Luminate tag walls and other surfaces inside the photos and match them to Glidden paint colors.

So get cracking, ChasNote readers. Especially those of you in the US: You have a long-weekend ahead of you, and no excuse for not working some Marshmallow White into your life.

Inspiration to Action: Hearst and Pixazza Partner to Bring Interactive Images to House Beautiful and Redbook

Fashion and design magazines have always used their pages, and especially their photography, to inspire. In some cases the inspiration hits readers, who seek to imitate the beautiful people, clothes, hairstyles and decors that are profiled. In other cases it’s advertisers and retailers that find inspiration, manufacturing and pitching similar products that will be accessible to a wider audience of consumers.

Vintage L'Oreal Ad from Harper's Bazaar 1961
(Vintage L’Oreal ad in Harper’s Bazaar from 1961.)

I couldn’t track down the first appearance of a “get the look” feature in an American magazine, but as far back as the late 19th century French fashion houses recognized (to their dismay) that commercial retailers were lifting their styles and converting them into mainstream product offerings.

“French design and the superior craftsmanship employed in its realization had always guaranteed access to the world’s luxury markets for all of the decorative arts, including the couture. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, revival styles were common in France, and even art nouveau, created in the 1880s in an attempt to develop a French style competitive with the English arts and crafts aesthetic, was suffering from the omnipresence of cheap machine-made copies.”

For at least my entire lifetime, the editors at leading fashion and entertainment publications have supported the trend by helping readers dress like the beautiful people. Maybe you’re unable to get Vera Wang to sew you a custom-made gown, they imply, but here are some made-to-wear alternatives that affect a similar look.

Pixazza on Redbook

So perhaps we’re due for a digital make-over — some internet magic that makes it easier for magazine readers to look at inspiring photographs and turn that inspiration into action with a single click. Today Pixazza and Hearst Digital Media announced a partnership to help readers of House Beautiful and Redbook find products (or ones that are visually similar) that are featured in the magazines’ photos. Readers who mouse over images marked with a “Get This Look” icon are presented with an information card that links to products in the picture and advertising offers that are relevant to content tagged inside the image.

“We look for those marketing opportunities that are disruptive, unexpected and true to the brand voice. At the same time, though, any advertising medium must work toward getting do-it-yourselfers going by moving them from inspiration to action,” says Rob Horton, vice president for marketing for Akzo Nobel Paints, maker of Glidden Paint and the maiden sponsor of interactive images on House Beautiful. (More at the NYT’s Media Decoder blog.)

The Pixazza approach uses freelance shopping experts to tag objects inside the image. That’s different in two ways from the traditional magazine approach, where a staff editor finds the “similar look” content. One, the crowdsourcing approach is faster and easier to scale — Pixazza’s shopping experts are tagging images that are viewed 3 billion times per month (and it’s still a relatively small team of taggers). Two, the concept of tagging things inside the image — creating a database of products and brands and even lifestyle attributes such as “is she wearing exercise clothing?” — opens the door to a more versatile suite of applications. “Get the Look,” certainly, is a popular one. But that’s only the beginning.