Adweek publisher Prometheus takes a big gamble on new editor Michael Wolff’s strategy

Michael Wolff is the high profile and somewhat polarising Vanity Fair columnist and Rupert Murdoch biographer who has been charged by publisher Prometheus Global Media with turning Adweek into a ‘real’ magazine, not just a trade magazine.

To that end Prometheus, the company that bought Adweek plus Hollywood Reporter and Billboard from Neilsen in 2009, has folded sister titles Brandweek and Mediaweek into Adweek to create a rival to, well, what?

It can’t be just Ad Age because Ad Age is happy to be a trade magazine, albeit a rather larger one.

Maybe it’s the Huffington Post, maybe it’s something that hasn’t been invented yet.

This is clearly a very large gamble as is the appointment of Wolff. The danger is that Wolff will allow his enthusiasm for reporting on the media and, by extension, politics take over from describing the rather more mundane (albeit entertaining) subjects of advertising and marketing.

Wolff says his writers should be “more Tolstoy than trade reporter.”

The relaunched magazine cum website (designed by Pentagram) is already majoring heavily on media (although it’s best known for a literal on the cover when it called games company Zynga, Zenga).

The main problem is the name. If the relaunched title is to be, essentially, a media paper, as concerned with editorial as it is media advertising, then Adweek is a pretty strange name to call it.

In Greek mythology Prometheus was a giant who stole fire from top god Zeus as a present for mankind. Zeus struck back by chaining him to a rock where an eagle nibbled at his liver (which Zeus kindly renewed every day).

Let’s hope this isn’t an omen for Prometheus CEO Richard Beckman.

You May Also Like

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.