Revamp paying off for Elle

Montreal: The publisher of Elle Quebec says a recent revitalization program is showing positive results.Danielle Paquin says Elle's July issue was sold out, August did well and when the final numbers are in, September could be the biggest seller in Elle's...

Montreal: The publisher of Elle Quebec says a recent revitalization program is showing positive results.

Danielle Paquin says Elle’s July issue was sold out, August did well and when the final numbers are in, September could be the biggest seller in Elle’s four-year history.

New editor

Paquin says the revamping began with the hiring of a new editor earlier this spring, Carole Schinck.

She says, as well, there are new kinds of advertisers for the upscale publication and an increase in the number of targetted advertorials and sponsored supplements.

The October issue of Elle Quebec is a case in point.

It hit newsstands wrapped inside a polybag containing a special 24-page advertorial insert called Maquillage et Coiffure 9 a 5 (Make-up and Hairstyling, 9 to 5).

Billed as a bonus insert, the issue is being sold at the regular newsstand price of $3.50, highest cover price in the competitive Quebec women’s magazine sector.

Advertorial

‘Advertorials are very different from image advertising,’ says Paquin. ‘They’re especially beneficial when clients want to inform.’

She says the popularity of advertorials ‘is the result of clients seeking increased efficiency, and more reliable ways of measuring results.’

She says Elle is reaching beyond traditional advertisers – fashion, beauty and health products – seeking new clients in the areas of financial services (Bank of Montreal), luxury automobiles (bmw), home decor and food.

In July, Elle distributed a sponsored supplement promoting holidaying at home, prepared by the Quebec Ministry of Tourism.

Paquin says advertorials can be linked to promotional events, and are seen as an efficient and innovative option for clients. Their length can vary from a page or two, to full insert length.

Clients who have recently bought into advertorial deals with Elle include Mexx, Femmes de carriere, a clothing and boutique line, Clairol, which promoted its Logics line of cosmetics, Christian Dior, Birkenstock, Davidoff, a perfume manufacturer, La Baie (The Bay) and Chanel, which linked its advertorial spread to a contest and a trip to Paris.

Upscale appeal

Paquin says Elle’s special niche is its appeal to upscale, working women whose personal culture includes cosmopolitan influences in arts and leisure.

Paquin says Elle readers are big consumers, even in the recession, and are richer and better educated than the norm.

‘We don’t tell people what to do,’ she says. ['Our readers] are independent, and they have a strong sense of self-affirmation.’

August data on Elle from PMB Print Measurement Bureau places readership at 311,000, 82% of whom are women.

Paquin says adults 18-49 make up 70% of the readership, adding the figures are based on a six-month Audit Bureau of Circulations survey ending December 1992.

Sales stable

She says Elle’s monthly sales are relatively stable, between 70,000 and 77,000 copies, seven issues out of 12.

The magazine was launched in the late summer of 1989. The original French edition, a weekly, has been around since 1947.

In 1985, Hachette, the publisher, determined there was a need for a u.s. edition, and, today, 18 national editions exist with three more, from Mexico, Chile and Argentina, slated to appear in the near future.

Broadly speaking, Elle Quebec is divided in two sections: fashion and beauty and lifestyles.

The latter includes articles on culture, society and psychology, with editorial content almost entirely Quebecois.

A breakdown of the 220-page September issue reveals 103 pages of advertising and marketing information, and 117 pages of editorial content.

This month’s issue includes articles on artists Clemence Desrochers and Stephane Rousseau, Quebec’s sexy comic, a survival guide for lovers, a portrait of four women candidates in the upcoming federal election, and an extended cover story report on 9-to-5 fashions.

Scent ads

The issue features a number of tear-and-scent display ads (JilSander/Holt Renfrew; Alfred Sung) with cover positions going to Biotherm, Vania’s Incognito and Simard & Voyer, an upscale footware retailer.

Published by Les Publications Telemedia-Hachette, Elle Quebec’s biggest issues coincide with the new fashion seasons, in March and April, and September and October.