Seventeen launches campaign in search of "real" cover girl

NEW YORK: In response to readers' "renewed interest in authenticity," Seventeen magazine decided to reinvent its cover model contest of the past with a search for a "real girl."

NEW YORK: In response to readers' “renewed interest in authenticity,” Seventeen magazine decided to reinvent its cover model contest of the past with a search for a “real girl.”     

The integrated marketing campaign, dubbed “Pretty Amazing,” is a partnership with Neutrogena that encourages readers to share personal stories and enter the cover contest via microsite, explained editor-in-chief Ann Shoket.

“We had a swing away from seeing that their role models were aspirational, toward something more accessible,” said Shoket.

“One of the things we think is so special is it's not a reality show,” she added. “We're not having artificial contests, and it's not some jump-through-hoops challenge.”  

Though it's been in the planning stages for about a year, the magazine's internal marketing, PR, and editorial team has been gearing up for execution for the past six months. The initiative will officially launch with the March issue, which will don a magazine cover with Neutrogena spokesperson, iCarly actress, and “Pretty Amazing” judge Miranda Cosgrove. It will culminate with the October 2011 magazine cover, slated to feature the winner. Neutrogena will also provide the winner with a $10,000 scholarship and a trip to New York City.

Additional judges and campaign partners include's Jared Eng, MTV show The Seven, and Shoket, who ultimately will choose the winner.

“I think most programs that are really kind of endemic to the editorial product are the best programs for our advertisers to leverage,” said Seventeen publisher Jayne Jamison. 

Promotional tactics include broad outreach to media targeting 13-22 year-old girls, as well as moms. Cosgrove will contribute to the promotional effort with a magazine signing at a Borders in New York City. The Today show is slated to announce the campaign on February 7, and MTV will report it the following day.

Aside from a “major PR blitz” and in-house ads, Jamison said that the team is using a new online voting tool. The editorial team - Shoket noted that one editor has a mission to get a million girls to sign up for the contest – and its various web platforms will also play a role in promoting the campaign.

Check out PRWeek's Q&A with Ann Shoket, which appears in the February issue.

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