Aside from one little misstep, new Time Inc CEO Laura Lang has been surprisingly well received for someone with no publishing experience. Prior to taking over the largest magazine publisher in the country, Ms. Lang was the ceo of Digitas, the digital arm of multinational ad giant Publicis. She joined the company from the Marketing Corp of America in 1999 and began collecting accolades from Advertising Age and B2B, for teaching clients how to target their ad buys.
For a while there, it made her enemy number one of a general interest print magazine like Time.
But as magazines move to the iPad and other mobile devices, even some Digitas clients want back in on the magazine game, according to Digitas senior vice president Chia Chen. The devices blend direct response functions (i.e. clickability) with brand-building more memorable than, say, a Google AdWord.
“It allows you to have rich engagement but also transition into a feature-based product sell,” Mr. Chen explained.
Digitas builds some digital magazine ads themselves in Adobe, and outsources others to third party rich media tech companies, who deliver the finished product to publishers. The company holds publishers’ hands through the process of implementing the tracking functions that provide hard and fast data to advertisers.
Digitas is behind one of the first automotive campaigns in the Wall Street Journal’s iPad app, for Buick, and another Buick campaign in Travel + Leisure. They’re also responsible for the Gucci ads in the March 2011 digital edition of ELLE.
Off the Record wondered if Mr. Chen had any advice for Time Inc staffers trying to get along with the new boss.
“Laura appreciates honesty,” he said.“She wants to have an open dialogue and she’s interested in what you think.”
He said that Time Inc. staffers can take solace in the fact that Ms. Lang has already bridged the worlds of analog and digital within a business, even if only on the advertising side.
“On a personal level,” he added, “I really feel like they made a great decision.”