$12M Ad Campaign Announces Life's Return

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Time Inc. is marshaling all of its advertising resources to plug the rebirth of Life as a weekly newspaper-distributed magazine competing with Advance Publications' Parade and Gannett Co. Inc.'s USA Weekend.


The New York publisher is spending the equivalent of $12 million in ad value to promote Life via television, print, national radio, billboard, bus shelter, online and guerrilla media. The campaign's tagline is "Life: Coming to a Weekend Near You."


Life is positioned as "a backstage pass to America through a weekend magazine," said Simon Assaad, co-CEO of New York-based Heavy, Life's ad agency of record.


Print and outdoor ads broke first this month in advance of the Oct. 1 relaunch of Life. The ads will run in Time Inc. titles such as Time magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly, Parenting, Sports Illustrated and Popular Science.


The agency rented a billboard at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in New York. Billboards in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit are next.


All ads will feature images depicting weekend enjoyment, like spending time with family or going to the beach. Copy urges readers to "Visit Life.com to find the paper in your area."


Mainstream America is the target of Life ads. The strategy is to "position the magazine as a weekend entertainment destination," Assaad said.


Life joins a roster of Heavy clients such as America Online, Finish Line, American Eagle Outfitters and Fuse.


The 68-year-old, ad-supported Life will be distributed Fridays initially in more than 50 daily newspapers with a combined circulation of 12 million and an estimated readership of 26 million. It will launch with roughly 20 pages. No solo newsstand presence is planned, nor a cover price.


The new Life will rely on its well-honed mix of editorial and images capturing emotion, human interest and day-to-day issues. It will include a service component geared to ideas for family weekends.


It's been a long ride for Life, now in its fourth incarnation. Life started in 1936 as a weekly. Folding in 1972, it was revived as a monthly in 1978, then briefly went weekly during the first Persian Gulf War before ceasing publication in 2000. Since then, Life has produced special issues and books.


This time round, Time Inc. has heavy hitters to shepherd arguably the magazine industry's most resurrected denizen. Andy Blau, former general manager of Time magazine, is Life's president. Peter Bauer, former president of People magazine, is publisher. Bill Shapiro, former managing editor of Time Inc. Custom Publishing, will hold that position at Life. Life will have its own ad sales staff.


The Life brand has distribution power. Newspapers that will carry the title include Tribune Co.'s Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Long Island, NY-based Newsday and Knight Ridder's Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News and the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Life also will appear in the New York Daily News, The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McClatchy Co.'s Sacramento Bee and Minneapolis' Star Tribune, and The Record in Bergen County, NJ.


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