Media Headliner: Bruton lends buzz to glossy Grazia's UK debut

As Emap prepares to launch the title in the UK, its editor tells Emma Barns what makes the new weekly different.

Jane Bruton, the new editor of Emap's soon-to-be-launched title Grazia, worries whether she will be able to keep her mind on the job.

"I've never worked in central London before," she says. "Someone's going to have to strap me to my desk or I'm going to be shopping constantly."

But with the weekly glossy billed as Emap's biggest-ever launch, with a start-up budget of £16 million, Bruton is unlikely to have much spare time away to indulge a shopping addiction.

Despite a penchant for the odd £400 pair of shoes, Bruton, the 36-year-old former editor of the BBC title Eve, has a reputation for being pretty down-to-earth. In fact, far from the glamorous life you might expect from the editor of a successful women's monthly, she has spent the past few months in soft play areas with a new baby and her three-year-old.

Now ready to exchange Mothercare for Prada, she's re-emerging in the world of glossy magazines in December and is enthusiastic about the UK launch of what she claims is her favourite magazine.

"When Emap asked me to launch a foreign magazine, I guessed it was Grazia before I was even told. I couldn't believe it. I love Italian Grazia - this is what I've been waiting my whole career to do," she gushes.

This is not immediately obvious from Bruton's career history, which has taken various twists and turns between titles from Chat to Wedding & Home to the Daily Mail to the IPC Media home interest title Living etc, which she edited. For the past two years, she has been in London's White City, editing the women's monthly Eve.

Bruton inherited an ailing title, which in 2002 was on the brink of closure, and led a team that turned the magazine around and achieved circulation growth of 14 per cent in the year up to 30 June. Explaining the magazine's recent resurgence, Bruton says: "We started again and relaunched the title. The key was to find the right tone for its thirty-something audience and to provide substantial editorial that did not sacrifice style."

Jessica Gibson, the publisher of Eve, credits Bruton with doing an impressive job of editing the magazine. "Jane is a wonderful editor with a superb understanding of her readers," she says. "She's a whirlwind of ideas and passions. She has a real ability to create a buzz every day and somehow manages to inspire the people around her into achieving the impossible and enjoying it at the same time."

Bruton is audibly sad to be handing over the reins of the title she has helped to build. "I'm immensely proud of Eve and of the team and I wouldn't have moved for anything other than Grazia," she says.

Sara Cremer, previously the executive editor of new-product development at Emap Elan, will now take on the job that Bruton says is by no means complete.

So what is so groundbreaking about Grazia that would tempt Bruton away from Eve? And is it really different enough from the others to survive in the highly competitive weekly market?

Emap claims that the weekly glossy, published on licence from the Mondadori Group in Italy, will be the first of its kind in the UK market. With its mix of fashion and lifestyle, it says, it is comparable to The Sunday Times Style title or The Mail on Sunday's You magazine.

Bruton, who is unwilling to be drawn on the new magazine, asserts simply: "Grazia is possibly the most exciting thing since Marie Claire. It makes the other glossies look outdated and, as the only weekly glossy, we'll be creating room for it."

In Italy, where Grazia launched as the country's first women's magazine, it boasts an average circulation of 245,000, although in the UK Emap is gunning for a more modest figure of 150,000.

However, Grazia's success in its home market doesn't necessarily guarantee success in the UK.

This has been duly considered by Emap and the title, which is predominantly fashion-oriented in Italy, will have more of a mix for the UK audience, including fashion, beauty, interiors and, of course, celebrities. It is also going to be slimmer than the Italian 280-page model and will go for a brighter look than the dominant autumnal tones of the Italian version.

Following an Emap-funded pre-launch jaunt to Milan, press buyers are predictably complimentary about the title. "It looks fantastic and I think it's going to be hugely successful," Claudine Collins, the press director at MediaCom, says.

Collins predicts that the magazine will appeal to ABC women in what she thinks will be the 30- to 44-year-old age group, adding: "The title will take some really upmarket advertising. It has the immediacy of a weekly and high production values.

"Its Italian heritage will bring in the fashion advertisers and I think it will take ads from Gucci to Top Shop and from Estee Lauder to Procter & Gamble."

Despite its unique proposition, Grazia is bound to compete with the other weeklies, and Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell is planning to launch a weekly glossy, B Happy, next spring. In the weekly market, celebrity continues to be the name of the game, with the seven top weeklies selling a total of three million copies a week. If Grazia is able to tap some of this market, then Emap's £16 million will have been well spent.

THE LOWDOWN

Age: 36

Lives: Tufnell Park

Family: Husband Johnny, two boys: Arthur, 3, Jonah, 3 months

Favourite ad: Coke, "I'd like to teach the world to sing"

Describe yourself in three words: Hard to please

Most treasured possession: My grandmother's vintage ball gown

Greatest extravagance: Shoes

Interests outside work: Trustee of Trees for Cities charity, going to

endless children's parties and reading magazines

Living person you most admire: Tony Benn

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