Fast Company sees 83 percent increase in ad pages

The October issue of Fast Company magazine will post an 83 percent increase in ad pages over last year, thanks, in part, to new ad sales packages and some executive team shuffling.

Christine Osekoski, formerly national sales director for the magazine, was promoted to publisher last month. In her previous position, she created ad sales packages that allowed companies to buy space in October’s special Masters of Design issue along with other issues throughout the year.

Thanks to this program, the October issue boasts 85.3 advertising pages, and ad pages are up 22 percent, year-to-date. Five new advertisers are set to debut in the Masters of Design issue: Brother, Canon, Kensington, Lexus and Target. Target purchased an eight-page insert in the issue, which hits newsstands September 25.

The Fast Company ad sales team also created an integrated program for advertisers to participate in a Masters of Design event celebrating the October issue. Sponsors this year include Allsteel, Canon and Verizon Wireless.

“With this particular issue, I think there are a lot of advertisers out there [to whom], obviously, product design is incredibly important,” Osekoski explained. “Some of those advertisers are not even business book advertisers, but they love the design of the magazine.”

Luxury automobiles have contributed heavily to Fast Company’s ad page growth, attracted to the magazine’s affluent demographic and the design of the magazine itself.

“Jaguar, BMW and Lexus have all commented on the fact that the magazine looks fantastic, and they want their ads to be part of an editorial product that talks about innovation and design, because that’s what they’re about,” said Osekoski.

Fast Company currently has a total paid circulation of 746,161, with a rate base of 725,000. Osekoski said the ad page growth will not affect circulation numbers, most of which are subscription-based.

“We offer a different premise to readers,” Osekoski said of the magazine’s appeal. “We’re looking at and profiling people who are truly changing the course of business. Part of our strategy is that [the] core themes we cover in the magazine – design and social capitalism and entrepreneurialism, as well as innovation – are really important themes to our readers and to advertisers. We go in [to ad sales meetings] talking about the fact that the person who reads our magazine wants to contribute in a meaningful way to their business. One could call them the creative class of businesspeople and professionals, and that’s very attractive to advertisers.”

Involved in creating this aesthetic is Robert Safian, who was named editor of Fast Company in February. His first issue of Fast Company in May profiled Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

“He selects cover stories that have a lot of buzz, and newsstand sales have increased since he has taken the helm,” Osekoski said. “I think what they’re doing is selecting those cover stories that are more provocative and that grab people at the newsstand, and putting people on the cover who are not the type who you would see on a regular business cover.”

Continuing its push for growth, Fast Company will be unveiling a revamped Web site on November 8, with increased capabilities and a new design. The magazine is also developing ad sales packages across all of publisher Mansueto Ventures’ properties.

“I think the business book category has remained the same for so long, it was in the right space for a change. With Fast Company rebirthing itself, as well as [Cond? Nast’s] Portfolio coming into the mix, [the whole category is] shaking things up a bit,” Osekoski summed up. “Both Portfolio and Fast Company, with their look and feel, are really going make other business books step up to the plate and defend their turf.”

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