InStyle magazine is on top of its game and being taken very seriously as a credible source of positive Hollywood and celebrity news. Claire Atkinson reports.
InStyle magazine is on top of its game and being taken very
seriously as a credible source of positive Hollywood and celebrity news.
Claire Atkinson reports.
Linking your product or project to a celebrity is a well-worn way of
getting into print, but if you’re pitching to InStyle, Time Inc.’s
celebrity-stuffed lifestyle magazine, you’d better be able to back up
Senior editor Stephanie Tuck says that the magazine’s content is
rigorously fact-checked. ’We take these claims seriously. We need to
have them written on your company letterhead.’ Tuck has killed pieces
when PR pros could not substantiate their pitches in writing. However,
InStyle does not check with celebrities themselves that such PR claims
Then there’s the issue of backing out of the story. Tuck tells of how
one PR pro pitched a hotel where Cher had stayed, but then backtracked
when the management changed its mind about making it public. Tuck says
the lesson there is not to start down the road if you’re not prepared to
go the whole way. ’People have got into trouble with me when they’ve
told us things and had second thoughts,’ she adds.
Tuck, a freelance writer before joining InStyle, spent four years at
fashion title W. She says the InStyle staff members are very close
They’re planning an office brainstorming session in - where else? -
Antigua in May. Last year’s jet-set destination was Jamaica.
The staff deserves its perks. InStyle’s performance since its launch in
1994 can be summed up in two words: ’massive success.’ The rate base has
grown from 500,000 in June of 1994 to 1.3 million in January 2000.
And the tightly focused celebrity lifestyle package has forced other
women’s titles to up their star quota to compete.
But managing editor Martha Nelson, who joined from People, is quoted as
saying that rivals can’t hope to compete by using celebrity covers
alone. InStyle differs from other women’s magazines in the way it covers
the New York- and Los Angeles-centric celebrity scene.
InStyle is not about who’s dating whom. It’s all about lifestyles of the
rich and famous. However, you can be famous by association. The February
edition features the wife of actor Dylan McDermott, who hosted a
spiritual-girls-only party in her backyard. The edition also carried an
article on how celebrities keep their wardrobes tidy. Tuck insists there
are no deals done with publicists over content, but adds that if InStyle
is being invited to cover a celebrity wedding, the brides know the
magazine will be sending along a top-name photographer.
’They have built such an incredible track record that there isn’t much
education that needs to go on with the client,’ says Michael Nyman,
president of Hollywood PR shop Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, which organized
InStyle’s Golden Globe party last month. ’It is a win-win situation for
us, because the magazine is so seamless, it isn’t jumping between
editorial and advertising.’
Tuck explains that InStyle has a credibility factor that has kept the
title in Hollywood’s good graces. ’We are not interested in printing
rumors. We are not interested in tearing people down, and we don’t have
a gossip section. I’d say we are generally positive.’
InStyle has been ribbed mercilessly for such devotion and was once
dubbed an ’ass kisser’ by Spy magazine. The magazine is looking to make
celebrities lives more accessible. Rather than pushing stars’ latest
projects, getting onto its pages depends on providing information on
what they are doing outside their professional lives.
While InStyle is all about escapism, the opportunity to partake in the
fantasy is what makes it so appealing to readers. Indeed, the title is
an unabashed catalog of places and products, with stories accompanied by
toll-free numbers - a great incentive for PR pros to get mentions for
This month’s cover story about indulgence features everything from how
to get courtside Knicks tickets (so you can cheer alongside Spike Lee)
to ordering macaroni and cheese at New York’s Canteen restaurant (as
eaten by Matt Dillon and Shannon Doherty).
The magazine’s bulging press kit is chock-full of facts about the
achievements of Time Inc.’s first fashion-and-beauty title. It contains
an unusual range of testimonials, not from advertisers, but from firms
whose products have been ’placed.’
The July 1998 ’Objects of Desire’ section pictured a pair of chairs
priced between dollars 650 and dollars 870, as did Elle Decor and House
& Garden. But Carol Banz, customer relations manager at Maine Cottage
Furniture, notes: ’InStyle readers are the ones who make the calls and
place the orders.’ Fashion firm Parallel, whose faux-pony pants were
featured in the fall 1999 issue, says it immediately sold out when the
magazine hit the newsstands.
InStyle’s demographics are surprising. Its audience is pretty affluent,
though only a third graduated college. Almost 24% of its 4.4 million
estimated readership earns over dollars 100,000, though the median
income is dollars 62,000. The average age of an InStyle reader is 32.
That figure puts the magazine in a bracket with Metropolitan Home and
Food & Wine.
Also in the company’s media kit is a detailed list of upcoming
April’s cover features Charlize Theron and an Oscar glamour section as
well as a cover story on how celebrities ’prep, primp and polish.’ May’s
edition features the year’s hottest wedding ceremonies and tips from
Hollywood’s event planners.
Meanwhile, Tuck is looking ahead to putting together a fitness issue in
June. The issue, which closes at the end of March, features diet,
exercise and beauty regimes alongside a summer fashion report. Celebrity
moms and their kids are featured in July while the August issue looks at
how to travel like a star.
Just as People spawned InStyle, so InStyle is looking to capitalize on
its own name with spin-off magazines. In the middle of last year the
title announced it would launch a series of single-topic special issues
to come out quarterly. The first, InStyle Weddings, went on sale January
10. InStyle Makeover, InStyle Entertaining and InStyle The Look are
scheduled to come out later this year.
InStyle Time Inc.
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (212) 522 4455
Fax: (212) 522 0867
Managing editor: Martha Nelson
Executive editors: Charla Lawhon, Jeannie Park
Senior editors: Tim Allis (homes), James Patrick Herman (parties),
Angela Matusik (’Scene and Heard’), Hilary Sterne (working moms,
weddings, fashion 101), Stephanie Tuck (music, travel, hot hotels)
West Coast editor: Mark Morrison
Senior editor, west coast: Robin Sayers
Special projects editors: Cynthia Parsons McDaniel, Krysia Plonka
Fashion features director: Hal Rubenstein
Fashion news director: Cynthia Weber Cleary
Market editors: Alice Kim, Toby Tucker
Beauty director: Kim-Van Dang