Monday, August 13
As y'all know by now, Cher's irresistibly awesome remake of the classic "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)," on the heels of her appearance in the "Mama Mia" sequel, is the first single off her forthcoming album of Abba remakes. Naturally, it took about five minutes for someone to make a mashup of the 72-year-old icon/my mother's mega-insta-dance-hit of summer and the "GGG"-based "Hung Up" by about-to-celebrate-her-sixtieth Madonna. I personally think both songs are better as stand-alones than as a combo, but Toronto-based Alex Simpson, its creator, certainly gets an "A+" for effort. You be the judge, at Billboard. Now, isn't it about time these living legends gifted the world an actual duet? Or how about these ladies, who seem to already be well acquainted?
You will recall that Dolly's no stranger to dance music ...
Lordy, I sure do miss the 70s—and as this video reminds us, and as they say down South, "the higher the hair, the closer to Jesus." Which I suppose applies even if it's not real hair.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 3:36 PM
Thursday, August 9
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Thursday, August 2
|CNN's Jim Acosta greeted in Tampa by local members of the Charles Darwin Hall of Fame|
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 9:34 AM
Thursday, July 26
There once was a glorious, glamorous magazine that covered Hollywood and politicians and media titans and the royals and scandals and the lowdown and dirty better than anybody, and it was called Vanity Fair. Tina Brown resurrected it in the 80s, made it great, then handed it off in the 90s to Graydon Carter, who made it even greater. But then, with one penny-pinching, jaw-droppingly shortsighted move, the publisher, Condé Nast, in the direst position of any of the beleaguered magazine publishing giants, seemed intent on destroying it all. There was really only one choice to replace the retiring Graydon, of course, and that was Janice Min, who'd turned The Hollywood Reporter from a sad rag into a gleaming, glitzy affair—and took home National Magazine Awards for it. But someone with the chops of a Janice doesn't come cheap (she was pulling down seven figures at THR), and even though Condé's artistic director Anna Wintour is said to have (wisely) wanted her bad, bad, bad for VF, the bean counters, in cahoots with the eggheaded in one regard (politics) but apparently not so smart in other areas (business) David Remnick, tapped an unknown book editor with a razor-thin resume from The New York Times for a song—and on the subject of music, with several issues under her belt now, it's become clear to all of us watching and listening (and waiting, impatiently) that poor Radhika Jones can't carry a tune to save her life. VF under the underwhelming Radhika has no idea what it is, or what it wants to be, or apparently even what it once was till not so long ago. The covers have been edgy—and to a one, dreadful. The features are boring and irrelevant. The design is godawful. I can't imagine who this magazine is being produced for, or who'd bother reading it with all the other, so much better sources of information and entertainment out there. (The magazine's sad demise is even more poignant on the heels of Tina's terrific, rollicking reminiscence of her years at the helm, The Vanity Fair Diaries. Even the worst chapter of that book is infinitely more entertaining than anything you'll find in Radhika's VF.) Looks like Condé saved some admittedly much-needed cash (including not only Radhika's relatively wee salary, but all the heads her bosses continue to force her to chop) but in return may well have done in one of the few remaining strong heritage print brands around. It's not too late—they can quietly retire this young woman, leaving her to return to the brainy world of writing about books nobody will ever read or whatever she's presumably adept at, and get a real star of an editor in there, maybe Janice or maybe somebody else. But every passing month that they let this experiment drag on is another that VF loses cred and luster, and most urgently, once-loyal readers. The trend is not irreversible—yet. But not with this losing formula, dreamt up by an editor who's clearly in way over her head. Truly visionary and talented editors, though the owners of media companies may not think it, are an extremely rare thing. And as with anything in life, you get what you pay for.
ADDENDUM: As if all that weren't enough, now it appears the new VF is blurring the line between editorial and advertising on its very cover, reports the Times.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 9:01 PM
Thursday, July 12
I feel like I've aged 10 years in the day since I learned Kylie Jenner made the cover of Forbes, she having made its list of the richest self-made women. Much has already been made of the hilarity of the magazine dubbing Kylie as "self-made," considering the famous, wealthy family from which she was spawned. And let's not even get into the fact that her "empire" is built on lipstick that purportedly gives you pouty lips — conveniently ignoring the fact that, as anyone can tell from photos of Kylie as a kid versus now, she obviously had surgical enhancements to pump up her pie hole. (A lot of things on my person have grown as I have ticked off days — ears, bunions, and those wispy little gray hairs sprouting from my eyebrows spring to mind — but I assure you my lips are not one of them.) As it turns out, I have a bit of history with this little twerp posing as a grown-up businesswoman. I once ran features for a magazine that negotiated with Kylie's reps to put her on the cover. Her business had already started to take off, and this was to be her first ever cover of a business publication. Then the hell started. First she stood up our reporter, repeatedly, after having agreed to a sit-down interview. Then after our having secured for the photo shoot an expensive studio out in L.A. for the better part of a day, plus a photographer, stylist, makeup artist, hair person and even caterer of Kylie's choosing, she decided after a couple of snaps that she just wasn't feeling it and walked off. Her rep pleaded with us to reschedule for another time. We explained that, having flown 3,000 miles and gone to considerable planning and expense to make this happen, that wasn't likely. (I seem to remember our having sunk more than $10,000 in the failed shoot. That might not be a lot of money for Forbes or Vanity Fair, but it certainly was a lot for our little pub to flush.) Mind you, all her shenanigans were blessed and fully aided by her P.R. handlers, who seemed to have absolutely zero control over the little diva and throughout the process took obvious delight in torturing us on behalf of their snot-nosed client. (I have no clue if they're still repping her, nor do I care. As I understood at the time, that family has blown through, so to speak, a series of kneepad-donning lackeys, so I wouldn't be surprised if these particular enablers were also 86'd.) What a contrast that experience was from one we had with her sister Kim Kardashian, who we'd shot for our cover a couple of years earlier and who couldn't have been a nicer, more professional subject to work with, showing up on time for her shoot, meeting with our reporter as planned, and staying present and engaged through the whole affair. Not that it'll hurt Kylie one bit (she can dry her tears with hundred dollar bills, as they say), but I must admit to taking a wee bit of satisfaction in the backlash that has greeted this absurd Forbes cover. After many years of dealing with celebrity subjects — even notoriously difficult ones like Martha Stewart — I never encountered such a headache as I did with this one, before or since. Now I'm going to check to see how much bigger my eye bags have grown overnight while Kylie counted her money.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 9:47 AM
Wednesday, July 11
Bombshell news in the advertising world today that Ogilvy fired its widely revered global creative chief Tham Khai Meng over behavior it called "a clear breach of our company values and code of conduct" — his apparently becoming the latest in a growing line of agency bigwigs to get snagged up in the #MeToo mess, among them Droga5's Ted Royer, another onetime superstar CCO. Here I am, as it happens, posing with both men at an industry party during obviously happier times. The fact that I am beaming in the photo is not incidental. What a thrill to be flanked by two seriously accomplished, enviably talented ad guys. These sexual misconduct allegations are always troubling and infuriating, but especially so when the accused is someone you have known, written about and admired for years. Someone remarked the other day that, on Madison Avenue, in Hollywood and in other trades where the mighty have been swiftly brought down over alleged misdeeds, the stream of sexual misconduct scandals that dominated headlines not so long ago seems to have slowed to a drip — suggesting that maybe we'd heard the worst of the worst already. Today proved that there's still plenty of filth gushing from that spigot. Heroes, it would appear, are getting harder and harder to find, in advertising and elsewhere.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 5:26 PM
Friday, June 22
"The Conners" (Season 1, Episode 1)
After a series of tweets, Roseanne Conner becomes a hero of red state America, gets invited to the White House by President Trump, dies on the way there after choking on a waffle fry at Chick-fil-A
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 10:53 AM
Thursday, June 21
I think we've all seen enough of caged children on the U.S.-Mexico border the last few days. I know I have. I've never exactly been a journalist of the war-hardened, seen-it-all, trenchcoat-wearing type — I write about consumer brands and ad agencies and how they try to sell people stuff — but I have, as not only a reporter but as a human being who's hung around this mortal coil long enough, seen enough to have developed a reasonably hearty stomach when it comes to observing death and destruction and mankind's worst moments. But even I have struggled to watch this kids in fucking cages in America shit. What a low moment for this country, just when you thought it couldn't get any lower. But of course, I do watch, because remaining willfully ignorant is not an option for any person of conscience, especially under this regime. As Barry Blitt, whose illustration "Yearning to Breathe Free" covers next week's New Yorker, explains: "I can't watch TV news anymore. It's always people yelling at each other or, worse, people agreeing with each other. There's always a background drone of outrage, it seems. Stories like this, obviously, are different. The outrage and disgust is justified and real, and needs to be paid attention to." Well stated, Barry. (Oh, and by the way: Fuck Ann Coulter.)
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 2:57 PM
Thursday, May 31
|Magazines will always be front and center in my home|
I've covered the magazine business for 20-something years now. I still can't get enough of them. Which is why they are front and center in my home (this is my coffee table at the moment) and in my life. I buy them for myself, I buy them for friends and family, I get endless ideas from them, I learn about new people and places from them, and I rip out and keep and refer back to the pages that mean something to me. I write stories for them and about them. I read books about them and the people who create them — most recently, Tina Brown's Vanity Fair Diaries, which is delicious if you haven't dived in yet. I have artwork on my walls that is inspired by them. I have close friends and longtime colleagues who make their living off them. I still get excited when they arrive at my desk every week. Digital media has become an indispensable part of all our daily lives, but print makes me feel connected to content in a way machinery and the internet never will. Which is why a good chunk of my working life remains devoted to contributing my own words to them. And why I prefer actual books to ebooks. And why I still subscribe to three daily papers and write letters to the editor and get a thrill when they opt to print them.
|Home to 122 goats|
This past Memorial Day weekend was spent over in Sharon Springs, New York, at the town's annual Garden Party, where we took a tour of the Beekman Boys' famous goat farm and picked up a passel of awesome handcrafted products of theirs and other local shopkeepers, artists and artisans — barbecue sauce, peanut butter, soaps and lotions. Meeting and visiting with the "boys" — Brent Ridge and Josh-Kilmer Purcell — in their shop, Beekman 1802 Mercantile, was good fun, though, having followed their successes in marketing and media all these years, it felt like I already knew them. (I'd actually already met Josh, a former ad guy, a time or two in passing. We have some mutual acquaintances and have been Facebook friends for a while.) It was especially interesting to chat up Brent — an expat of Martha Stewart's empire — about their terrific quarterly magazine, Beekman 1802 Almanac, one of the most beautiful and soulful lifestyle titles I've ever come across. Brent told me they had wondered whether a big, thick, lushly produced print magazine would fly in this day and age, and it did — right off the shelves. He seemed pleased that they'd sold so many subscriptions at a premium price (30 bucks for four issues; the newsstand price is 10 bucks). It's always mystified me that magazine publishers virtually give their products away — and never more than now, as they become ever more desperate to compete with digital media and hold onto readers. (Just look at the number of $5 annual subscription offers you get in your email box.) The boys have proved that consumers will — even in our digital age — pony up for a lovingly crafted, high-quality product.
|From national treasure to national disgrace|
When I first read about Roseanne's horrific tweet whose contents shall not be repeated here, I literally got sick to my stomach. Then, the media reporter part of me kicked in and wondered how in the world ABC was going to deal with this mess. It wasn't too long before we all got the answer. In one quick moment, Roseanne destroyed her show, her career and the livelihoods of many people who'd taken a chance on her despite the strange, hateful fringe she's been loving up to for a while now. Someone shared this bit of nostalgia on social media: a TV Guide cover from the 80s featuring the two biggest TV stars of the day, Roseanne and Bill Cosby. How time changes things. From superstars to national punchlines in just three short decades. No matter one's successes or fame or money, it seems human beings simply cannot be trusted to not succumb to their own worst instincts.
|How you PR flacks make me feel sometimes|
Finally, I'd just like to say that I usually, greatly enjoy my job as a journalist. I have found that most people who've managed to survive this business for any stretch of time are a pleasure to work with, and that goes for bosses and colleagues I've had, subjects I've covered, and even the PR people whose job it is to control my access to the powers that be and at least attempt to shape the things I write about them. I am proud to say that I have many PR people I think are super at their jobs, who expertly ride that tricky line between serving their masters and getting me what I need to do my work. Many of them I consider friends. Which is why it makes the bad ones so glaringly awful. I just have to share with you that I've spent the last two weeks trying to arrange a quick and easy interview with a bureaucrat through his handlers, who seem to think they are negotiating either the release of a hostage or the terms of a 60 Minutes firing squad. After the umpteenth time of going over the broad strokes of what the talk was to entail — and even agreeing to do that which no reporter ever wants: sending over the questions in advance — I finally reached the point today where I told the flack: Look, this is now in your hands. The decision is yours whether or not this profile is going to happen. If there is not an interview set up by end of business today, I will assume my request is denied and I will find someone else to write about. By now you can probably write the end of this story yourself: Of course they caved and started scrambling to get me whatever I wanted. A close friend of mine gave me some smart advice once about getting information out of people: Act the most uninterested, get the most dirt. In her memoir, Linda Ellerbee shared a story about an interview she once tried to do with an erratic Hunter S. Thompson, who seemed more interested in mouthing off and prancing about than sitting for an agreed-upon, on-camera conversation. All she had to do was start packing up her shit and heading for the exit to get the famous writer to finally get control of himself and sit his ass down for the work at hand. Sometimes all you have to do is tell some self-important jerk you didn't really want to talk to him all that much anyway, that he's not nearly as remarkable or fascinating as he thinks he is, and that you've got a lot better things to do with your time — and just watch how fast he comes running. It's an annoying little game for an adult to have to play with another adult, but also a necessary one to get the story — and one every old reporter can relate to when it comes to wrestling these massive egos to the ground.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 11:54 AM
Sunday, May 27
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 1:14 AM
Saturday, May 19
pointers for those of us who work from home — including setting alarms to remind ourselves of certain tasks we need to get to. Personally, if I had bells going off all times of the day, I'd have to check myself into a loony bin. It seems to me that if you have a work ethic and a measure of self-discipline, it ought to make no difference whether you work in a cubicle surrounded by other drones or at Starbucks or on the wing of a 757 — or in your own home. And it doesn't much matter, despite advice to the contrary, whether or not you have a devoted workspace in your domain. I've had deadlines that got met just as timely and efficiently from the kitchen countertop next to a boiling chicken as they did the quiet second bedroom I call an office. That said, there are clearly those personalities that require the structure, procedure and camaraderie that come with office jobs. I am definitely not one of those people. During my years as a working journalist, I have been my own boss from time to time, and while it's not for everybody, I have always found it to be a productive, creative and largely happy predicament. Meanwhile, the same does not apply to all the 9-5 jobs I have had in between. (My ambivalence about my fellow man, rubbing elbows with him and breathing his second-hand air is well documented.) As a freelance person, there is tremendous satisfaction in setting your own hours, wearing t-shirts and flip-flops all day (I've saved a small fortune in dry cleaning), and being free to say yes to working for certain people and no to others. I for one don't miss languishing in pointless, unproductive staff meetings where I'm forced to pretend an unctuous CEO's stream-of-conscience blather and steaming pile of corporate-speak amount to pearls of wisdom. In office life, as in life in general, so much time is wasted listening to other people who like to hear themselves talk but say nothing. Ah, bosses. One particularly awful one even had his charges (including me) take personality tests to determine whether they were compatible with him and were, in fact, "company material." You know, there was once another group that exercised strict rules determining whether people were in or were out based on certain identifiable and perceived inferior characteristics: the Nazis. Now, there's only one person my personality has to suit: me. And I don't even own a pair of jackboots. I think I shall keep it that way. As for this week, you can find me out in my garden finishing another deadline. If it ever stops raining.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 10:54 PM
Tuesday, April 3
Great American Kathy Griffin Is Finished Apologizing: She's Too Busy Going on Stern, Selling Out Carnegie Hall and Radio City
The fearless Kathy Griffin announced this morning on "The Howard Stern Show" that, after selling out Carnegie Hall in a single day, she is doing a second show in NYC, at Radio City Music Hall. (I've already got my tickets. How about you?) The Stern interview was entertaining, inspiring and informative — we learned that basically everybody in Hollywood turned their backs on Kathy after her Trump photo stunt, even (as we already knew) her supposedly close friend, former New Year's cohost, and embarrassment to journalism and gay men everywhere Anderson Cooper, and (as we just learned today, sadly) her onetime bestie Cher. (If you didn't catch the show this morning, find a way to listen to it after the fact on the SiriusXM app or YouTube or wherever. Listening to her talk the tweets she gets from Trump supporters — I won't spoil the fun here, but, oh boy — is alone worth the cost of a Sirius subscription.) Look, you are absolutely entitled to not like what Kathy did, or to think whatever you want about it, or to hate her guts. But the thing is, surely you agree that, in retrospect, considering what a shit show this administration has turned out to be, a celebrity photo shoot is pretty small potatoes. Understood, saying what you think does not always come without consequences, but I — and I'm not alone — don't think this woman deserved to have her life ruined over it. (I find it interesting that, on the topic of free speech, people like the CEO of Barilla pasta and the grand wizard or whatever he is of "Duck Dynasty" certainly never had to pay for their hateful homophobic comments. Donald Trump, who said the most vile things about President Obama, and encouraged even worse from his fans, was not subjected, as was Kathy, to an investigation by the Department of Justice but, rather, was rewarded with the presidency. And isn't it funny how the right demonized Roseanne Barr back in the day for her supposedly vulgar and disrespectful rendition of the national anthem at that baseball game, but now suddenly she's their poster girl, her show has been renewed by ABC and she's been praised by the president himself — all because the Roseanne the character and the person is a Trump supporter. Thinking about all the double standards are enough to make your head hurt.) The full-on assault Kathy Griffin has been subjected to — from the Hollywood "community," the media and the Trump administration, which apparently has nothing better to do than use the full powers of the U.S. government to torment a comedian — fits the very definition of the punishment not fitting the crime. But happily, just like the Dixie Chicks and others before her, she's coming back and is going to be bigger than ever. With everything else going on in the world, why am I ranting and raving about Kathy Griffin? I am a longtime fan and admirer, yes, but more importantly, I find the way she has been dragged through hell to be particularly ugly, unjust, egregious, infuriating, un-American — and familiar. Surely on some level all of us know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of, as Kathy would put it, a falling wall of shit. (I know I do.) As a journalist, I am supposed to remain neutral, but about Kathy Griffin I am and will always be totally and unapologetically biased. She is an American treasure, a heroine and a very funny lady. Do your patriotic duty and support her: http://kathygriffin.com.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 2:55 PM
Monday, February 5
If you thought the divisive blowhard with the orange hair and bloated ego would loom large during this year's Super Bowl, you'd be wrong. In fact, the most horrible person alive wasn't referenced even once during the parade of multimillion-dollar commercial spots — maybe because we're all sick of him, maybe because we've finally come to realize that the best way to deal with a pathetic bully and attention whore is to ignore him, and maybe, most vitally, his brand of proud racism, xenophobia and sexism is no longer to be tolerated, and the biggest advertisers in the world aren't afraid to say so. As CNN's Chris Cillizza writes: "The calculation was clearly made by several different ad agencies — and the corporations who hired them — that using their 30 seconds or one minute to provide a check on the vision of the country pushed by Trump was the way to go. That there are enough consumers in the country who flatly reject the way in which Trump sees and talks about the country to make it financially worth the companies' time to hang an ad on that sentiment." When I first saw the ads last night from Coke, T-Mobile and Kraft (see video above), I have to say, I thought they were a pretty sappy (and safe) effort from a creative point of view. (Toyota's take on the old "a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar" trope was a clever exception.) But seeing them fresh, and considering them collectively and through Cillizza's sharply focused lens, it occurs to me that it did take nerve for these advertisers to so boldly embrace multiculturalism — which is a seriously depressing sentence to have to write in the year 2018, but also a hopeful one, in that maybe it means that the tide is turning. This was "The Diversity Bowl" at a time of extreme antipathy (that's the nice term) toward anything or anyone "different" in this country, where the American public is being divided, bamboozled, gaslighted and scared shitless on a daily basis. You can only be so full of anger and bluster — before long, even the most spiteful among us must get exhausted from all that hate. It's a far cry from last year, when the CEO of 84 Lumber felt compelled to clarify that its terrific, and obviously anti-Trump, commercial in the Super Bowl was not, in fact, meant to be political — effectively yanking the fangs out of what was a ballsy, righteous statement. So far this time around, though, the world's most powerful consumer brands and their partners on Madison Avenue aren't backing down. They don't have to. Reasonable people of every persuasion — cultural, political, whatever — seem to have grown pretty weary of the hostility.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 2:23 PM
Sunday, January 28
Thursday, January 18
A most distressing story today from NPR about my former boss Ross Levinsohn—currently the publisher of The Los Angeles Times—and an alleged history of sexual misconduct and what's being called "frat house behavior" at companies he's worked for. In the handful of months (just under a year, as I recall) he held the reins of the company that published The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and my old magazine, Adweek, all I can say is, I never witnessed such behavior. Of course, that's not saying much—I never witnessed him much, period. The company was in New York but Ross lives in LA, and as one of the senior most editors of one of the media properties he oversaw, I think I laid eyes on him two, maybe three times tops—usually when there were a red carpet and paparazzi involved. In fact, I remember one glitzy event where I snapped a picture with my own iPhone of Ross with a couple of our colleagues, along with our guest of honor Russell Simmons—a powerful man who's been the subject of some unfortunate headlines himself lately. As for Ross, he was one of a number of CEOs the company ran through in a few short years, before my magazine was spun off and eventually sold off to a group of foreign investors. Within a couple of hours of NPR breaking this story, it got picked up by sites like The Cut, Mediaite and the LA Business Journal, while The Daily Beast reported that the Times's guild called on Ross to be fired. But by 5 p.m. New York time, I'd yet to find anything about any of this on the Times's own homepage. Still, the Times itself has now become part of the news cycle, one in a long list of news organizations—including Fox, NBC, CBS and Vice—caught up in a seemingly bottomless mess of sexual misconduct scandals. And you thought Hollywood and Washington were of morally dubious character. If Caligula, Mussolini and Charles Manson were alive today, they'd probably run a media company.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 6:01 PM
Thursday, January 11
Well here's an all new and different marketing technique — but not one that'll win any awards. The racy men's underwear brand Andrew Christian — whose ads, even at their least controversial, are most definitely NSFW — has taken exploitation to a whole new level with a promotional email blast teasing leaked nudes of Olympic diver Tom Daley, as Queerty reports. The link was quickly taken down by the advertiser, but not before some people took to Twitter to slam the stunt:
But Calvin Stowell of The Trevor Project had the most spot-on take:
(Don't forget all those media and advertising blogs too, Calvin.)
But Calvin Stowell of The Trevor Project had the most spot-on take:
(Don't forget all those media and advertising blogs too, Calvin.)
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 9:58 PM
From Refunds for Dead Christmas Trees to Designer Bath Towels for $5, Retailers Will Do Anything to Get You to Shop in January
There was a funny story in the Post about a lady attempting to return a dead Christmas tree to Costco, in January — and the store actually giving her her money back. As the piece points out, Costco is one of a number of retailers famous for their generous returns policies, with the discount store's employees reporting taking back stuff like an empty wine bottle, old fish, even a used chicken coop. The overlooked part of the story, though, is that while taking back virtually anything — even if it's used, even if the customer doesn't have a receipt —might seem like a dumb policy, especially considering how challenged the retail sector continues to be, it's actually a shrewd gimmick for luring shoppers and multiplying sales during the post-holiday doldrums. The Times reported the other day that retailers are doing more than ever to keep the holiday shopping season roaring deep into the winter — encouraging people to go ahead and return those ugly Christmas sweaters and the foot massager you got for Hanukkah. As the story points out, a woman went to the Galleria in White Plains to return a pair of $50 boots — and ended up spending another 300 bucks there. The windows of stores like Forever 21 are filled this glum month with brightly colored signs promoting "The Most Epic Sale EVER!" and "Buy One, Get One Free" offers. The troubled department store chain Macy's has become quite fond of advertising its "One Day Sale" via newspapers and TV spots — forget that the sale seems to happen every week, and usually goes for two or three days, not just one. This week, Macy's is promoting yet another "One Day Sale" — for Thursday and Friday. (I mean, I believe in creative license and relaxed semantics in marketing, but this is ridiculous.) My favorite: a set of sheets for $15 — but that actually ends up being free after a $15 mail-in rebate. Also from Macy's for those willing to hurry in now: $5 designer bath towels, free shipping on virtually anything, and an extra 20 bucks off your purchase if you come in before 2 p.m. But does the post-Christmas push really work? History suggests it does. Last January, according to the Commerce Department, U.S. retail sales beat analyst expectations, bested the prior January by a robust 5.6%, and were much-needed bright spot in first-quarter earnings reports. Now, excuse me while I load up my bald, parched Christmas tree and head to Costco. I'm sure it won't matter to them that I didn't buy it there.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 11:48 AM
Tuesday, January 9
The Daily Mail's story about Juanita Broaddrick taking to Twitter to slam Oprah Winfrey for her passionate, headline-making speech at the Golden Globes contained an unfortunate typo referencing Sen. Lindsey Graham. The website noted that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough told viewers of his show this morning that some Democrats had confided to him that they believe Broaddrick's allegation, then added:
We think they meant Sen. Lindsey Graham. (There's the screen grab, lest the evidence be lost once someone at the Daily Mail gets around to fixing the faux pas.) The sexuality of the unmarried South Carolina Republican has been speculated about for years, should it have escaped your attention. Was the Daily Mail's oopsie a subliminal and totally innocent yet nonetheless homophobic slip on the part of some writer or editor? Or perhaps a more sinister, not-so-subtle dig at Graham? Or maybe (and most likely), it was simply another case of "ducking spell check" run amok.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 8:59 PM
It would appear that David Zinczenko has more lives than your average editor—and that Hearst, the new owner of Men's Health, is somewhat fonder of the magazine's most famous steward than his former boss was. It was revealed today that Dave Z is coming back home—joining Men's Health as interim editorial director now that Rodale's sale to Hearst has been finalized. And it is Dave who has the last laugh—again. You may recall that five years ago, former Rodale chief exec Maria Rodale infamously bounced the longtime Men's Health editor, saying his contract was up and that it seemed "a good time for a change." Zinczenko is a Pennsylvania native who'd spent his entire publishing career, over two decades, at Emmaus, Pa.-based Rodale and who, in 2010, even gave the eulogy at a well-attended hometown memorial service for Maria's mother, Ardie Rodale, which I happened to attend. (As I recall, Dave was the only employee of the Rodale company and the only non-family member invited to speak that day.) As someone who'd apparently fallen out of favor at Rodale, Dave found himself in good company—he was one in a long, messy string of editors, publishers and other top executives the company would run through in the years after Maria took over the family business. And yet, no one had deeper roots at the company than Dave—nor had anyone else there risen as high, become as famous, or come to earn a bigger paycheck. As Maria noted in her acidic sendoff in the New York Post, Dave had fashioned quite the "high-profile life" for himself since he'd joined the company as a mere kid and budding journalist, having in the years since made his name in Manhattan social circles as a restaurateur, author, fitness expert on morning TV, sometime paramour of minor celebrities, and best friend and business partner of Dan Abrams, a pairing of bros about town that was once profiled in the Times and that Graydon Carter was fond of comparing to the two hapless dudes in "A Night at the Roxbury." (Until they became investors in their own restaurants, Dave and Dan were regulars at Carter's Waverly Inn in its heyday. It was there that, some years ago, I was dining with Dave when the Grand Poobah himself entered the room and, upon seeing Dave playing with his iPhone, signaled to the help—in what he must've thought was a discreet gesture—to order him to put it away at once. Graydon hated cell phones at the table, and it wasn't something he was shy about letting offenders know.) When they parted company, Maria hinted that Men's Health had, perhaps, become a little too aligned with its star editor—who I selected as Adweek's Editor of the Year in 2009, back when I was running that magazine's special issues. We recognized Dave for dramatically expanding the Men's Health brand into a post-print empire—something that has become all the more urgent as magazine ad revenues continue to tank. Maria's take on Dave's tenure? She commented that the magazine was not, in fact, "Dave's Health, it's Men's Health." (Meow.) It wasn't long before Dave had his revenge—jumping over to Men's Health's chief rival, Men's Fitness, part of Trump pal David Pecker's stable of media brands, including The National Enquirer. (When he left Men's Health, he agreed to a noncompete that precluded him from joining ranks with a range of men's magazines, including GQ and Esquire, but not, weirdly enough, the most logical destination, Men's Fitness.) A year ago, the tables would turn again, and Dave would exit AMI following another yet shakeup there—not that anyone expected a marriage between Zincenko and Pecker, an odd couple if there ever was one, to last. Think Beauty and the Beast. (I've got a good story about Pecker and Trump—one that happens to involve first daughter Ivanka—you should remind me to tell you sometime.) In the year since he left AMI, Dave has been writing his fitness books and going on the Today show to talk about wellness for dudes. But no matter what a bon vivant he aspires to be, Dave is a guy who's got ink in his veins and who seriously loves magazines. So don't be surprised if that interim gig at Hearst turns into a more permanent one.
Posted by BY TONY CASE at 3:52 PM