By Paul Pannone
A growing percentage of eWedNewz readers following the Brides Magazine story say the publication is just another victim of the challenges facing all print formats. But according to ex-employees and those familiar with “how it works” at Brides– and all other Conde’ Nast properties– approaches that were always odd seem to be worsening.
According to sources familiar with the story certain portions of the problems at Brides and how they’re bring approached seem odd and inconsistent. Advertisers that warned the publication they were on the wrong path say they’re miffed by the latest moves by the publication. But the strongest statement comes from an ex-employee that now works for the competition, Jim Duhe, VP at Bridal Guide.
So far steps taken by Anne Fulenwider to connect with today’s brides have not brought about drastic changes.
“I felt as if I had been punked after reading a recent WWD feature about Brides Magazine’s new editorial direction. It was a relief to read the EwedNewz story because it confirmed the obvious: the new editorial team at Brides doesn’t understand its readers or its advertisers. It’s as if Anne Fulenwider didn’t bother to read the magazine or review readership data prior to making proclamations about the need for change. Apparently, it escaped Fulenwider’s attention that her predecessor, Millie Bratten, included beauty, style, and news features in every issue for decades. These are not innovations. If it’s Fulenwider’s intention to appeal to mainstream” brides, she might want to rethink her decision to spotlight gowns that retail above $8,000 on the cover.
It’s noble for Fulenwider to embrace the needs of “non-fashionable social workers” with her redesign. However, there seems to be a gap between her intentions and the product that she produces. The one-size-fits-all approach of the upcoming September issue sounds like a winner. “This is our fashion Issue,” she said. “We’re not making a big deal about it because we’re a bridal magazine but we’re doing a fashion issue. We’re doing really fashionable wedding dresses and we’re doing non-bridal fashion. We’re not doing a ton but we’ll sneak some in there.” Gosh. The non-fashionable among us can breathe a sigh of relief. However, one-size-fits-all means that it fits no one correctly.
While Fulenwider’s Vanity Fair and Marie Claire experience is noteworthy, it didn’t — it couldn’t — prepare her for the very specific needs of a special interest readership. Fulenwider is a journalist — not a fashion expert or a bridal authority. Unlike Vanity
Fair and Marie Claire, bridal magazines are newsstand driven. Subscriptions are meaningless. Engaged women are buyers — not shoppers. They have a wedding date deadline by which all of their buying needs must be met. They have no use for a bridal publication after the honeymoon is over. In spite of the news releases regarding change, there is no visible difference between the current (August) issue cover and Brides covers produced in the past. The content is different only in that it is less focused upon the actual needs of Brides readership,” according to Duhe.
This is not the first time Duhe has been vocal about the competition and swears it’s not taking advantage of a moment to gloat.
“I really feel that the consumer is not being serviced by any goods or service provider when they don’t offer up consistent and meaningful information,” he told eWedNewz.
What do you say?
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