OPINION: QUESTION TIME WITH ... Elaine Foran - Nova’s new publisher is the big hitter IPC was desperate to hire, says Colin Grimshaw

IPC’s search for a publisher for its relaunched 60s style bible Nova was straight forward. It had courted Elaine Foran before and was confident it could eventually entice the Elle publisher to IPC.

IPC’s search for a publisher for its relaunched 60s style bible

Nova was straight forward. It had courted Elaine Foran before and was

confident it could eventually entice the Elle publisher to IPC.

She confesses: ’There had been plenty of overtures. I once told Sue

Hawken (her managing director at Emap) that it would only be news if IPC

weren’t offering me a job.’

When presented with the opportunity to stamp her influence on a new

style title, Foran finally succumbed. Emap, which had asked her to

oversee the relaunch of Frank - another rival to Nova, was none too


The move to Nova has reunited Foran with a number of former mentors.

Her new boss Rita Lewis was once her chief at Elle. IPC group

advertisement director Georgina Crace was her boss when she was at the

Daily Star, and Sly Bailey gave Foran her first job, teaching her how to

sell in The Independent’s classified department.

There’s a lot at stake for IPC with Nova, and the bigwigs must be

relieved to have recruited such a big name on the fashion scene to front

the sales efforts - especially as she joins from a direct


Curiously, with Elle still reeling from Emap’s latest restructure, and

Vogue seeking a new advertising chief, it is the new kid on the block

which is perhaps best prepared for the sales battle ahead.

And prepared the new kid must be if it is to survive. Nova’s circulation

target of 70,000 to 80,000 is little more than a third of that of Elle

and Vogue. With an advertising ratio of only 30 per cent and a similar

cost base to its rivals, economics dictate that Nova must achieve

similar yields.

This means the new magazine has not only to get on to the schedules, it

must also convince advertisers they should pay a higher cost per

thousand than the established competition.

To achieve this, Nova must attract early adopters and present itself as

the ultimate in cool to the modish fashion and fragrance houses. This

would help justify the premium rates to advertisers and Foran is

confident she can pull it off.

’When you launch a designer beer, you want it in all the coolest bars so

that the style leaders will be seen drinking it and influence everybody

else,’ she says.

Foran also draws comparisons with Wallpaper, another style brand that

punches above its weight on ad yields. ’You can get high yields if you

know what you’re doing,’ she suggests.

And who is to doubt her. The first issue of Nova contains all the usual

chic names - Gucci, Ghost, Armani - and Foran claims she has matched

Vogue on yields and exceeded Elle. She even beat Elle to Harvey Nichols’

new campaign, which runs over seven pages in the launch issue.

Although she is passionate about fashion, Foran established herself in

the inky world of the national press. And it may surprise her absolutely

fabulous peers to hear that she thoroughly enjoyed herself at the

decidedly blokey Daily Star, where she was the editor’s pet.

’My team was all male, which was great because my sense of humour is

quite masculine. We partied a lot. Some guys used to sleep overnight in

the office. I remember Georgina (Crace) and I dancing on the roof of a

boat during one party on the river and then having to be rescued when we

couldn’t get down.’

Before Bailey introduced her to media sales at The Independent, Foran

trained as a physiotherapist. She and a friend even had jobs lined up in

the US, but her pal failed her exams. Still, the training wasn’t all

wasted. ’I can give a great massage,’ she promises.


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