Advice for Time Inc.'s new Wal-Mart magazine.

Advice for Time Inc.'s new Wal-Mart magazine.

Advice for Time Inc.'s new Wal-Mart magazine.

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Commentary about business and finance.
April 1 2004 5:43 PM

All You, Y'All

The memo we'd like to see about Time Inc.'s new Wal-Mart magazine.

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Memorandum

From: Norman Pearlstine, editor in chief, Time Inc., and Ann Moore, chairman and chief executive, Time Inc. (as imagined by Daniel Gross)
To:All You team
Re: Project Big Store

As you know, Time Inc., has agreed to produce a new women's magazineAll You—that will be distributed through Wal-Mart. This alliance between the nation's largest magazine publisher and its largest retailer promises to be an exciting one. By successfully launching this magazine, we will open new markets for our world-class editorial products. But creating a magazine for Wal-Mart customers will require us to work with a company whose corporate culture is significantly different from our own. In order for this project to fly, we're all going to have to adjust. Please keep the following in mind as we move forward:

1. It has come to our attention that some wags are already referring to the book as "You All," or "Y'All." Those who continue to do so will be transferred to This Old House.

2. Apparently, no member of the editorial or advertising staff has shopped at a Wal-Mart. We're organizing a tour for next Tuesday so we

can observe some of our future readers firsthand. Town Cars will leave from in front of the Time-Life Building at 9 a.m. and arrive at the Wal-Mart in Union, N.J., at 10:30 a.m. (Low-carb breakfast will be provided.) We recommend that everybody purchase a few items and go through the checkout line so as to gain the best possible understanding of the customer experience. Editors will not—repeat will not—be required to wear any apparel purchased at the store.

3. Working with this demanding new vendor is going to mean doing business differently. Those working on the project are expected to be in the office by 9:30 a.m., which is 8:30 a.m. at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. We realize that's 90 minutes before most of you arrive—Town Cars will be provided. Phone calls should be returned by editors within two (2) days, not by assistants in the customary week. We've also been informed that the "I didn't get your e-mail"—which works so well with pesky writers looking for responses to pitches or checks—doesn't go over well in Bentonville.

4. Our colleague John Huey, who literally wrote the book on Wal-Mart, advises that Arkansas (pronounced Ar-Kan-Saw), is located on the west side of the Mississippi River and is bordered by Missouri to the north and Louisiana to the south. JetBlue doesn't fly there. Yet. We're working on it.

5. Preliminary focus groups show that the response to the following proposed articles was tepid: "Carrie Bradshaw Shops for Shoes at Wal-Mart," "324 Things We Hate About Hunters," "Arundhati Roy: The Goddess of Small Portions," and "Live From New York: It's Janeane Garofalo." The excerpt from the new Plum Sykes novel didn't go over well, either. Back to the drawing board. This may be a big-box retailer, people, but we've got to think outside the box!

6. Wal-Mart demands that all vendors keep a lid on costs, so it can pass along low prices to its customers. As a result, special efforts should be made to employ journalists, photographers, and designers from lower-cost overseas locations. (Note: Park Slope no longer qualifies as a lower-cost offshore location.) Please monitor the Web site of the Shenzhen Observer and party pictures from MediaBistroBangalore for prospects.

7. We have to watch all of our expenses on this project. Word has already been sent to Michael's, Remi, and Fresco by Scotto not to honor reservations from All You staffers. Working lunches should be held at the salad bar at Café Victory Midtown. Please limit to 1 pound.

With your skill and hard work, we know we can make this project a successful one. We look forward to seeing you all at the launch party—Aug. 1, 6 p.m., at Hooters, 211 W. 56th St.

Yours,
Norm & Ann