‘L.A. Style’ Reports Its Final Trendsetter — Trying to Stay Ahead in the Fast Lane, Magazine’s Distinction May Be Part of the Reason for Downfall

LOS ANGELES – Back in the ’80s it seemed like a perfect marriage – a magazine to give voice to a distinctive city that was fast becoming the birthplace of contemporary trends for the nation. But L.A. Style never found the niche that once seemed its birthright, and the magazine’s April edition will be its final one.
L.A. Style’s distinction, may, in part, have caused its downfall. As the arbiter of trendsetting lifestyles in the fast lane, L.A. Style, with a circulation of about 80,000, had to continually transform itself to stay on top.
‘Anytime you are trendy or perceived as being trendy, the problem is trends change,’ said Warren Morse, promotion manager at Los Angeles magazine. ‘If you’re trendy today, you probably won’t be trendy tomorrow.’
L.A. Style’s glossy format, expensive to produce, added to the problems, Morse said. ‘The magazine was unable to find a formula that would be attractive to readers and advertisers and be financially viable.’
L.A. Style sought a cosmopolitan audience that would identify with the magazine regardless of their city of residence. But the advantages of that strategy weren’t readily apparent to advertisers, particularly as the recession escalated.
Ad pages sold through November 1992 totaled 580.67, down 34.6% from 1991, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. ‘When people are cutting books and they couldn’t afford to be anywhere but in the core books, that was the one that was cut,’ said Katherine Newmark, West Coast manager for Working Woman. ‘I thought it was a terrific magazine from a visual standpoint and the ad community seemed to welcome the format. It was very creative.’
Bozell/L.A.’s senior vp/media director, Ben Benya, noted that the magazine’s high number of retail advertisers also contributed to its problems. As the economy faltered, retailers and particularly the high-end retailers L.A. Style depended on for its ad base, chose not to advertise. If you’re retailer, ‘you can convince yourself that the money is better spent on the bottom line than in advertising,’ said Benya.
‘Editorially and artistically we thought it was a great success; readers loved it,’ said Tony Morgano, gm/coo of American Express Publishing, the magazine’s former owner, ‘but it got caught up in a difficult local economy.’ Buzz acquired L.A. Style’s subscription list, editorial inventory as well as its name and logo but won’t continue publishing it. Buzz editor-in-chief and one of three partners Allan Mayer said that the inside of the magazine will be redesigned to include a new section on fashion and style, which will be called ‘L.A. Style.’ Mayer also said that the response from advertisers in the first 48 hours was ‘phenomenal.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)