Friday, February 4, 2011

SI Tries To Juice Swimsuit Issue

With fewer advertisers flocking to its annual swimsuit edition in recent years, Sports Illustrated has used about every marketing tool available to keep its most valuable franchise rolling, wrirtes Russell Adams at

The latest big venture is a partnership with Nissan Motor Co. that will let readers vote on who gets to appear in a future issue.

The auto maker agreed to spend in the mid-seven figures, according to a person familiar with the matter, with a campaign dubbed Model vs. Model. Nissan purchased a four-page spread in this year's issue featuring swimsuit models matched with Nissan cars. For three weeks after the issue hits newsstands Feb. 15, readers also will be able to vote online and by other means on which of several unknown contestants merits a spot in next year's issue.

The Nissan partnership is one of dozens of campaigns in which advertisers, including Sony Corp., DirecTV and HTC Corp., will incorporate the swimsuit edition in various products, events and other initiatives, on top of purchasing pages in the magazine.

Until recently, the Time Warner Inc. magazine could bank on the swimsuit edition carrying 100 pages of ads and selling more than one million copies at the newsstand. Those figures have dipped in the last couple years, however. Last year's issue had about 72 ad pages and sold 925,000 newsstand copies. Executives at Sports Illustrated said ads have started to pick up and they expect to have more than 90 ad pages in this year's issue.

Read more here.

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