Upfront With Martha: It’s a Good Thing

Apr 2, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s presentation last week to Madison Avenue advertisers was pure Martha Stewart.

As with cable networks in this year’s upfront advertising presentations, there was no hard sell. Instead, it was a holistic Martha Stewart experience.

The atmosphere was suffused with Martha Stewart, the woman for whom domesticity proved to be the road to riches—if you don’t count that pesky detour in 2004 to a federal prison after being convicted of lying during an investigation of insider trading.

The March 27 event, staged to familiarize advertising buyers with opportunities across the company’s TV, print and Internet properties, started at 8 a.m. with a breakfast buffet and demonstrations of how to make lush tissue-paper flowers (soon to be available through Michael’s crafts stores). Then there were tips on using fragrant plants as table centerpieces.

Attendees also got to play with computers that provided access to the test site for the new Marthastewartliving.com, which will relaunch April 10.

An hour or so later, it was up to the Easter egg-filled studio, where the audience was seated and treated to a soundtrack that ranged from Usher and harder hip-hop (the bass boomed so loudly that the risers and chairs vibrated in sync) to K.T. Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See.” Later the audience was treated to a gospel song by Patti LaBelle.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Advertising Sales Senior VP Liz Koman skimmed over the ways the company’s fiefdoms are growing and interlocking to offer advertisers 360-degree opportunities to reach consumers.

“Wherever there are women interested in bettering their lives, we have a platform,” Ms. Koman said.

When it relaunches, Marthastewartliving.com will offer much more video. Segments and whole shows will be available the day after they air. Martha Stewart CEO Susan Lyne touted the depth of the site.

Ms. Koman showered the attendees with evidence that Ms. Stewart’s fans are inherently engaged with the brand, touching on an attribute that advertisers are increasingly demanding from media partners.

She noted:

  • One viewer’s demonstration on Ms. Stewart’s syndicated TV show of how to make an apple spice cake produced 54,000 hits on the company’s Web site.
  • Instructions for making “roses” out of coffee filters were downloaded from the site 130,000 times.
  • A lesson on properly plucking one’s eyebrows generated 60,000 hits on the Web site.
  • More than 500 people tried to speak with Ms. Stewart during the live, hour-long show “Ask Martha” on her Sirius Satellite Radio channel.
  • More than 9 million women are reached each month by MSLO magazines.
  • Ms. Stewart’s company, which increased net income to $16.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 from $2.9 million a year earlier, is on the mend after a decline during her legal problems. For the full year 2006, Martha Stewart Living’s publishing, broadcasting, merchandising and Internet businesses all boosted revenue comparably with the previous year.