Posts Tagged ‘Elle’

Self-referential covers: Queen and Elle

December 7, 2016
Queen magazine cover  from 1963 showing Elle

Queen magazine cover from 1963 showing Elle

Magazines that refer to magazines usually refer to themselves. This is a rare example of a magazine referring to another title. Today, this would not happen.

However, in 1963, there will have been no chance of Queen plugging a competitor, because Elle at this time was not published as an English edition – there was only the French original. So the special Getaway issue of Jocelyn Stevens’ Queen can afford to show a reader brushing up on her vacance in French. The idea adds a certain je ne sais quoit.



Hearst closure of Dutch ‘Red’ – and cash cow thinking

May 27, 2014
Heart Magazines Nederlands has decided to stop the women's lifestyle glossy magazine Red from the June 2014 edition

Heart Magazines Nederlands has decided to stop publishing the women’s lifestyle glossy magazine Red from the June 2014 edition

Big consumer groups such as Unilever have occasional culls of their brands – in 1999, it sold off two-thirds of its products! The theory is that you focus your money and management on the strongest brands and get rid of the smaller ones. In the jargon invented as part of the Boston matrix, companies should milk the cash generated by their ‘cash cows’, to spend on their ‘stars’ and ‘question marks’, while closing down the ‘dogs’.

The decision by Heart Magazines Nederlands to close women’s monthly lifestyle magazine Red is an example of that sort of thinking. It also demonstrates the global strategy of the US parent company.

The June 2014 edition will be the last, with the Dutch press reporting that Hearst saw a lack of interest among advertisers for the glossy monthly. So, Red had become a ‘dog’. However, the Dutch subsidiary also publishes Elle, undoubtedly a global ‘star’, and the closure frees up resources for that title. More importantly, Hearst Magazines Netherlands is launching a Dutch edition of Harper’s Bazaar at the end of August. This ‘question mark’ is where the money will go.

Harper’s Bazaar was bought by Hearst in 1913 and is a core star title for the US publisher. In contrast, Red is an English licensed glossy, which was launched 10 years ago by Hachette in the Netherlands. The original Red was invented by Emap and Hachette Filipacchi as a joint venture in 1989. It coined the term ‘middle youth’ for its target market, with a focus on fashion, beauty, jewellery, interiors, food and travel, for women aged over 30.

In 2011, US group Hearst bought Hachette Filipacchi from French media group Lagardere. As a result, it changed the near century-old name of its UK offshoot, the National Magazine Company, to Hearst UK and closed veteran title She. Similarly, the Hachette name was changed to Hearst across the world. Another victim of magazine globalisation was in 2006 when Harper’s & Queen dropped the second half of its name – which had come about when Harper’s took over the 110-year-old Queen in 1970 – to match the Harper’s Bazaar name elsewhere.

At the heart of the thinking is the ability to sell the same name to international advertisers more easily.

The Dutch Red was selling 62,167 copies an issue in 2013, and was read by 174,000 readers (NOM). In the UK, Red‘s sales are a healthy 203,354, well ahead of both Elle (172,079) and Harper’s Bazaar (111,071). So in Hearst’s global strategy it is a cash cow – though that may mean it can be starved of investment and may eventually become a dog as other titles suck out its cash. While UK editions of Red can be bought on Amazon in the US – for an eye-watering $11 – Hearst is unlikely to launch it there.

Hearst editions of Red elsewhere need to keep looking over their shoulders.

Hearst in £574m deal over Elle rights

March 30, 2011

US group Hearst – owner of NatMags in the UK – is to pay French media group Lagardere €651m for control of its international magazines, including UK arm Hachette Filipacchi, Press Gazette reports.

The agreement includes Elle (in the US, Russia & Ukraine, Italy, Spain, the UK, China, Japan, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Taiwan, Canada and Germany) among 102 Lagardère print titles in 15 countries as well as 50 websites and mobile and tablet apps.

Other titles include Woman’s Day, Car & Driver and Cycle World in the US, Red in the UK and Holland.

Lagardère will continue to own the Elle trademark and receive royalties. Before the deal, Lagardère was the largest magazine publisher in the world. Hearst will strengthen its international portfolio against Vogue publisher Conde Nast.

NatMags profile
Hachette Filipacchi profile
Lagardère website
Hearst website
Conde Nast profile

The glories of Elle in Russia

March 25, 2008

The March issue of Elle in Russia must have its publishers rubbing their hands in glee. No sign of the credit crunch hitting advertising there. For a start, the issue of the French-owned fashion magazine runs to 460 pages with an ultra glossy cover – and uses just about every device known to print advertising creatives.

Opposite page 362, we have a card insert with spot varnish for Cote d’Or chocolates.

Another card insert by page 202 adds embossed silver ink for Super Slims from Dunhill. The developing world offers the last chance for tobacco companies to ply their wares as mass market advertisers – they are banned from TV and print media in most Western countries and the size of the health warnings on packets is a good decade behind the West.


Cigarettes again, again on a card insert, by page 162 for Virginia Slims with the page using both silver ink and spot varnish.


And Dunhill is not left out of the action. Its ad on page 173 is preceded by a sheet of tracing paper carrying a tailor’s pattern for a tobacco leaf. The advert is on thick card.

But what about gatefold? Tip-ons? Supplements? you cry. Well I’m just coming to the supplements. There are two – a 32-page stapled brochure of Italian fashion, and a magazine-in-itself beauty section running to 356 pages. It has a reverse gatefold with a Winehouse-esque eye gracing its cover.


The supplement has a tip-on sachet of Lancome make-up …


… and a double card spread with gold ink and spot varnish for Carte Noire instant coffee.


Bonuses all round at Hachette Filipacchi Medias.

Elle Russia website

Women’s glossies profiled

Secrets of magazine covers

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design