Gracias, Grazia …

You will eventually be able to read about this in much more detail (if you wish) … in a sequel to A Load of Bull (Spanish edition Mucho Toro), currently with the working title of A Load of Barça. But here’s a snippet:

I was relocated to Barcelona in June 2007 to run a magazine publishing company, with clear instructions to try and take them more ‘upmarket’, to negotiate and launch new international licenses for the Spanish market, specifically in the sector of fashion and lifestyle (where the big advertising bucks are), and to compete with Condé Nast, my old employers. Condé Nast know a thing or two about publishing glossy magazines. The new group I worked for do not.

Immediately, in late 2007, I set about securing the license for Grazia magazine in Spain (owned by the highly respected Italian group, Mondadori) – a weekly fashion and news magazine that is very successful in other countries. Over a period of four years (and in addition to all other magazines we were publishing, launching or re-launching), we created three ‘number zero’ dummy tests for Grazia in Spain. We did exhaustive market research, countless qualitative and quantitative studies, endless focus groups and presentations to potential clients, target readers, distribution channels, PR & marketing agencies, you name it. I managed to hire one of Spain’s top magazine editors (she’d worked for me on Spanish Vogue), an excellent fashion director and design team, a dedicated commercial team, and we set up new offices in Madrid (around the corner from my old Condé Nast offices in ‘Sir Rhino Twes’ in fact) … and I was back, doing it all over again, bumping into the same faces, friends, clients, agencies, journalists, photographers and contributors from the Vogue and GQ days

After 5 years preparing the launch, I was kicked out of the company just two months before launch (February 2013). I can’t go in to all the details here (rumours came out in the trade press at the time, I believe), but here’s a clue: cronyism. What’s that in Spanish? Amiguismo?

Grazia was launched, but not how I’d created and planned it to be. Its target audience appeared to be much younger than I’d envisaged. After a few editions, it even changed its raison d’être, or razón de ser, and there was no news – there was no reason to buy it on a weekly basis. Its weekly covers looked like monthly fashion magazines. There was no promotion, no marketing, no strategy … nothing at all.

I have learned today that the company I worked for has announced it will no longer continue with Grazia. It has not even lasted 18 months. I feel very sad for the editorial, commercial and marketing teams that I recruited – who stood by me, many of them incredulous at my sudden departure. I hope that the owners of the title, Mondadori, find a new home for the magazine in Spain. It is a great title, a great brand, and has a great future. It just needs a group behind it that knows how to publish magazines …


One thought on “Gracias, Grazia …

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    June 26, 2014 at 5:44pm

    I know what you mean, Tim!

    Too much Amiguismo!

    Follow your blog….congrats!

    Abrazo Clemens

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