Brownridge: No More 'Dickering' on Ad Rates
OK! GM on his approach to the recession.
For FOLIO:â€™s upcoming February issue, weâ€™re talking with publishers about how theyâ€™re going to survive the U.S. economic crisisâ€”call it Big Ideas for the Recession.
I talked to Kent Brownridge, general manager of OK! magazine, who announced in September that he was stepping down as CEO of Alpha Media to spend more time with his familyâ€”two weeks before turning around and taking the job at OK!.
Why Brownridge, a 68-year-old former Wenner Media executive would take a celebrity magazine job in the teeth of a recession after edging toward retirement was a bit puzzling. But he sees a big upside in OK!, which increased ad pages by 23 percent last yearâ€”one of a scant few magazines to show significant page growth in '08.
As far as ideas, thereâ€™s nothing terribly novel about Brownridgeâ€™s approachâ€”just a renewed focus on â€śmass-marketâ€ť categories (â€śluxury items are not useful in this economy,â€ť he said) and an increased volume of sales callsâ€”15 face-to-face calls per OK!â€™s 12 salespersons per week.
His comments, transcribed: â€śThis is not some avant-garde idea,â€ť Brownridge said. â€śThis is power-selling.â€ť
â€śOur theory is not to spend a lot of time dickering on rates. We offer our best rate from the get-go, we put our best rate out there. None of this timidly put a rate out there, have them come back, then we say weâ€™ll split the difference. Not this back and forth. Itâ€™s a rather annoying and irritating process.â€ť
Also, donâ€™t expect any new product launches from OK! in 2009. Said Brownridge: â€śAnyone who is talking about Web launches has probably given up the ghost, and has a bit of a pipe dream to save their business.â€ť
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