SBD/February 19, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

SI's 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue Has 107 Ad Pages, Most In Seven Years

The 50th Anniversary SI Swimsuit Issue, which hit newsstands yesterday, has 107 "print ad pages this year, an 8% increase over the issue last year and the most" since '07, according to Michael Sebastian of AD AGE. The increase shows "again that advertisers will pile into high-profile programming even if they aren't expanding their spending at other times." Brands including Mattel, Target and Subway have "created 15 custom campaigns for the issue." Mattel has a four-page layout and a "partial-run cover wrap" that features Barbie in a "version of the black-and-white striped bathing suit the doll wore when it was introduced" in '59. Target also is drawing on the "swimsuit theme with ads for its limited-edition Black and Gold swimwear line, which it rolled out to mark the 50th anniversary issue." SI Publisher Brendan Ripp indicated that due to a "higher ratio of editorial to ads than in some years, the issue's 260 overall pages make it the thickest" since '89. Sebastian noted the issue's strong ad sales come as magazines "struggle to grow print ad pages amid growing competition from digital media." Print ad pages for all magazines "declined 4.1% last year," while SI "fell 6%." Ripp said thta marketers sign up for the Swimsuit Issue "partly because of its strong consumer demand" (, 2/18).

SKY'S THE LIMIT: In Tulsa, Matthew Clayton noted WNBA Shock G Skylar Diggins is "one of three athletes to be featured" in this year's Swimsuit Issue, joining U.S. women's national soccer team F Alex Morgan and surfer Anastasia Ashley (, 2/18). The AP's Doug Feinberg wrote the magazine appearance is the latest example of Diggins "expanding her brand" during the offseason. Diggins "soon will be promoting a chocolate milk drink" to go along with deals for Nike and Sprint. That makes Diggins, who "seems to have the 'it' factor that marketers covet," one of the WNBA's "most marketed players." It is "no wonder Jay Z and Roc Nation signed her as their first female athlete last spring." Nike has produced a "variety of Diggins' trademark headbands," though she "won't be able to wear them on the court during WNBA games" due to the league's marketing deal with adidas. There also will be a "15-minute Nike+ Training Club app workout coming out in early April" (AP, 2/13).
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