Hearst launches bid to push branded content to one in three women with ‘beauty takeover’

Hearst has fired the starting gun on its bid to push beauty branded content across all its titles, a plan it claims will put advertisers in front of one in three women nationwide over the next month.

The Cosmopolitan publisher first unveiled the plan last year but has now revealed that brands such as L’Oreal, The Body Shop and Fortnum & Mason will be the ones to have their content appear across 13 of its titles. The publisher has repacked its data to pull readers under multiple titles or through behavioural, contextual and demographic data for the first time in the hope of delivering ads at scale in a premium environment.

It represents a new approach to selling Hearst’s biggest audience – women – one that the publisher has said it could replicate in the future.

The package’s main selling point is ‘beauty hour on the hour’, which is only available today (16 April) and pushes 12 new pieces of beauty content on the hour from 7am to 7pm. Each post is amplified on Twitter with the #BeautyUnbound hashtag to try and generate wider interest beyond the publisher’s usual readers.

Other parts of the plan include promotions for Fortnum & Mason’s Beauty Hall, which launches in May, and a collectible Harper’s Bazaar cover that uses a Valentine’s Day card designer Edward Bawden created for the store’s customers in 1955.

Meanwhile, skincare company Clarins is working with Good Housekeeping to promote its Super-Restorative range. Tapping the title’s reader panel of 14,000 readers, the cosmetics maker is testing products directly with its audience and the results will be published in an advertorial in next month's issue. Clarins has also used the inside front cover of Country Living to promote the range and has hijacked goodhousekeeping.co.uk with a two-day takeover of ad formats.

Interestingly, Hearst's "beauty takeover" gives advertisers two ways of accessing its readers; the first is through its brands, whether in print or online, while the second allows advertisers to access readers through contextual or behavioural data as well as by certain demographics.

Ella Dolphin, group commercial director at Hearst UK said: “We are delighted to launch the UK’s biggest ever beauty takeover with truly innovative campaigns and content in partnership with such prestigious beauty brands. Beauty has always been an integral part of our DNA, but Hearst Beauty Unbound is a unique approach to beauty coverage across our brands. The initiative connects one in three women and one in five men with up-to-the minute compelling content, wherever and whenever they want it, whether in print, online or on their mobile.”

Hearst’s sales strategy is indicative of how publishers are having to be more progressive with their audience data in order to elevate the value of their inventory to advertisers. The Guardian overhauled its site earlier this year with one of the key features being that it has been designed in anticipation of a shift to more engagement-based metrics rather than clicks.

Seb Joseph

Hi, I'm the news editor at The Drum. Give me a shout if you have any questions about our news coverage or would like to pitch in a story.

All by Seb