Christina Grdovic: VP & Associate Publisher, MARKETING, FOOD & WINE
Food and libation events are fun, but they can get stale. Grdovic has kept ratcheting up the effectiveness of Food & Wine’s event and advertising relationships, keeping the book vital in a highly competitive field.
Pardon Grdovic, but she just got off the phone with someone from the Starbucks marketing department, brainstorming how the world’s hippest coffee brand can do a sponsorship at the magazine’s signature event, the Food & Wine Classic, in Aspen, Colorado, in June.
Iconic chefs including Jacques Pepin and Emeril Lagasse already are onboard. So are at least 17 other top-notch sponsors, ranging from Andersen Windows to the Wines of Chile, from Chrysler to KitchenAid.
The 41-year-old, 10-year veteran of Amex Publishing’s Food & Wine has made a habit of pleasing sponsors and advertisers since she ascended to her current position in 2000 and bolstered events as a branding tool for both the magazine and sponsors. Last year, for example, Kohler selected the magazine as its partner for the construction and promotion of its Ultimate Entertaining Home. "Everyone wants to be in front of chefs these days for one reason or another," she says. "I don’t think that people will get sick of eating well;or reading about it."
Circulation has grown to 900,000. Advertising was flat at $83.9 million in 2005 per PIB, but bounced back 6.6 percent to $8.7 million for the first two months of 2006, based largely on events. One way Grdovic keeps Food & Wine’s events fresh is by keeping them exclusive. "We could have 40 sponsors in Aspen but I would never have more than 18," she says.
Food & Wine just created a partnership with Holland America Cruise Lines to staff a culinary arts program onboard. The magazine will select chefs who will conduct cooking demonstrations and be able to offer cookbooks.
VITAL STATS: More than 15 sponsors have signed on for the 2006 Food & Wine Classic.