The goal of the new-look publication was to go beyond the advertising world, to Conde-fy the book.
In the words of one media watcher, it was “reaching for relevance.”
Of course, with greater relevance comes better advertisers. The debut issue looked like a success. It was thick, full of big brands eager to be on Adweek‘s pages.
Prometheus CEO Richard Beckman used the connections he made during his days at Conde Nast to help recruit large companies to take out space in the book. It was a great start.
A month later, however, that promise seems to be fading.
The content of the magazine remains strong, but the May 2-8 issue checks in at just 58 pages. There are around 20 pages of ads — certainly more than the six that appeared in another recently redesigned publication — a deeper look reveals some troubling issues.*
Three of those advertise future issues of Adweek and another one tells readers to go to the website FuelTheFuture.adweek.com, a blog collaboration between the magazine and AOL. The internet company also took out an ad on the back of the front cover that announced a May 4 Webinar presented by AOL, Neilsen and, you guessed it, Adweek.
Conde Nast and Vanity Fair purchased space, although both ads tout recent mentions on the Adweek Hot List.
CNBC and Judge Judy seem like legitimate ads from large brands but other pages feature Shoptimist, Mall Television, non-profit CityHarvest.org, and an Ad Council spot for Save The Children.
There are also ads for The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, two of Prometheus’ other publications, and the Clio Awards, which Prometheus owns as well.
So, what does the future hold for AdWeek?
When the magazine debuted, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan offered an astute take on the publication’s plan:
“It’ll go along just fine for a month or three, until the publisher starts getting calls from the advertisers, who say, ‘I find all of that media reporting very interesting but by the way, we are in the advertising industry. Not the media. So I’m, you know, taking my business over to Ad Age, which really, let’s be honest, covers this industry that I’m in (advertising) better than you guys do.'”
Could AdWeek already be facing that issue?
* We contacted AdWeek for this post and will update if we hear anything back.