SBD/Issue 98/Sports Media

SI Using '09 Swimsuit Issue Promos, Events To Generate Revenue

SI Swimsuit Model Bar Refaeli's Image To
Be Emblazoned On Southwest Jet To Vegas
Sports Illustrated plans to unveil the 46th edition of its swimsuit issue tonight on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," and SI is betting it can turn the magazine "into a souped-up marketing machine," according to Shira Ovide of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. PepsiCo's SoBe line is "sponsoring YouTube videos of the women featured in the issue," and a Southwest Airlines jet "emblazoned with an image of swimsuit model Bar Refaeli will whisk VIPs to a launch party in Las Vegas this week." As part of a "days-long Vegas celebration, stunt drivers sponsored by Nissan Motor will race cars on a lot adjacent to the Luxor hotel, with swimsuit models as their passengers." This year, "about 40% of revenue generated by the issue -- which accounts for about a tenth of the magazine's total annual revenue -- will come from digital and event-marketing efforts." Execs indicated that four years ago, "just 4% of the issue's revenue came from sources other than print advertising." Ovide notes the promos have "helped Sports Illustrated offset a drop in print-advertising revenue." This year's swimsuit issue has "70 pages of ads, a third fewer than last year's." Las Vegas is "spending more than" $1M with SI to feature swimsuit models in events this week, "culminating Friday in a 1,000-person launch party and concert" featuring musician John Legend at the LAX nightclub. Meanwhile, SI online "plans to post more than 1,500 pictures from its swimsuit photo shoots, an effort that generated more than half a billion page views for last year's swimsuit edition" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/9).

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