PR Executives React to Condé Nast Closings

The media world has been bracing for what would happen next at Condé Nast since McKinsey & Co. consultants were brought in to evaluate the company in July. Today the biggest news was announced: Gourmet, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie are all closing. PRNewser spoke with several PR executives to get their take.

“I feel very sad. Gourmet is a brand that has been a part of my life and my mother’s life. It feels like the end of an era,” said Jennifer Baum, President of lifestyle and hospitality agency Bullfrog and Baum.

Asked if she thought other publications will ramp up in these verticals, or how the closings would affect PR pros specializing in food and hospitality, Baum said, “I feel like our job has changed dramatically in the last few years, with so many more outlets, things happening so much faster. While this is an elimination of a really important, powerful outlet, for us it doesn’t change our job, my job has already been changed.” Baum counts Gourmet executive chef Sara Moulton as a client but said she hadn’t spoke with her since hearing the news.

“It’s unfortunate but not surprising,” said Jason Schlossberg, President & Partner; Kwittken & Company. “Right now we happen to be doing a fair amount of work in the children’s space, so Cookie is a top target for us. Interestingly, in the last six months or so, every time we take client to meet with a long lead publication, clients always ask, ‘are these pubs going to be around?’ The answer I’ve said is, ‘of course they’ll be around but they may be around in different forms.’ I can’t speak for the publications themselves, some of them have very venerable brands, they’ve been around for a long time, but in this economy, that is not enough…reputation alone is not enough.”

Ellen LaNicca, Executive Vice President at CRT/Tanaka, says the agency works with several brands – Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Wines of Rioja – who were interested in developing relationships with the shuttered publications, specifically Gourmet.

“There is a lot of sadness and shock here at the agency,” she said. Those of us who have been in the business a long time – the folks, particularly at Gourmet and Modern Bride – we’ve worked with them for 25 years. We had some of the folks at Cookie at an event last week, where we launched Kolache Mama, a new food product. It’s shocking.”