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Departures aims to please home-owners via brand extension

October 26, 2012


American Express Publishing’s Departures magazine is embarking on a second publication that will come out once a year and focus on architecture, design, home furnishings objets d’art and entertaining.

The first issue of Departures Home + Design will be published in May and, like its parent magazine, will be distributed to American Express Platinum Card and Centurion members. The 500,000 copies that will go into circulation will target affluent consumers and designers who are located in the top home and design hubs in the United States, per Departures.

“[The creation of this magazine] is a clear indication that the luxury industry is continuing to expand, yet at the same time, luxury marketers want targeted vehicles that provide the proper environment to connect intimately with the right readers,” said Steve DeLuca, vice president and publisher of Departures, New York.

“Home ownership and real estate have always represented major portfolio assets for our readers and affluent consumers overall,” he said. “More than two-thirds of Departures readers own two homes and an overwhelming majority of them consider real estate based on proximity to their favorite activities.”

Departures is sent to 1,111,424 American Express Platinum and Centurion card members with an average household income of $619,000.

Departing from the norm

Departures Home + Design will be circulated with the May/June issue of Departures.

The new publication was created due to a reaction from readers who are enthusiastic about the magazine's current home design content, per Mr. DeLuca.

Additionally, the new magazine will give Departures’ advertisers an additional venue to target affluent readers.

“The rationale behind this launch is driven by consumer demand,” Mr. DeLuca said. “We know from our readers' feedback that they are passionate about the world of home and design - a subject we cover in every issue.

“This eighth issue will be a deep dive on the subject and provides a unique opportunity for the shelter category to connect with our audience of true luxury consumers,” he said.

Sixty-nine percent of Departures readers are likely to purchase real estate outside of the United States, while 88 percent are making real estate decisions based on proximity to their favorite activities, according to research by Departures.

This research also found that 89 percent of readers have taken action based on an article or ad featured in the magazine.

“The magazine is positioned as a curated outlet for a very specific reader – one that might have the resources to access and procure the services and products featured in the publication, but might not have the time or desire to go through a lengthy process of elimination,” said Courtney Albert, brand strategiest at Parker Avery, Atlanta.

Moving on up

Departures has seen significant growth recently, which could explain the decision to establish Departures Home + Design.

Advertisers including Christian Dior, Hermès, Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna and Bottega Veneta helped to propel the magazine 30 percent in ad revenue for its September issue.

Along with its ad revenue increase, Departures saw a 20 percent paging increase for this issue (see story).

The Departures Blackbook iPad application could also be growing in effectiveness as an ad venue since watchmaker Breguet chose to take out a solo sponsorship.

Departures’ Blackbook serves as a resource on travel, art, culture, food, fashion and design, according to the brand. Breguet’s sponsorship includes multiple ads featuring different products with videos, images and social media connectivity (see story).

The publication’s multichannel presence and new venture seem to follow the trend of an increase in personalization on the print channel.

“I think the strongest trend in print marketing is that it is becoming more personal,” Ms. Albert said. “When we typically think of print, it is of massed productions with a wide reach, though maybe not all touched are the targeted consumer.

“I see more brands becoming smarter by using technology to construct printed marketing that speaks to specific interests of consumers,” she said.

“Also, brands are partnering with other companies or using the contacts they have and using their contacts gathered via other channels to qualify the targeted reader.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York