‘Better Homes And Gardens’ Careful Expansion Into Innovation…


The Innovation Issue split-run May cover is not your mother’s BH&G or, for that matter, your neighbor’s, because its limited newsstand-only distribution in Chicago/Detroit/Los Angeles/New York/San Francisco is just a fraction of its 7.62 million circulation (7.4 million subscriptions), with the vast majority receiving a cake cover that has been common to Meredith Corp.’s second oldest magazine (after Successful Farming) since its 1922 launch. Editor-in-chief/brand leader (since July 2006) Gayle Butler tells min that the “techhie” look is “a message to advertisers that we have further expanded into digital with 13 editorial QR codes in the issue. Some I already know are very popular, with our Must Have Recipes app having had over 1 million downloads over the past five months.”

But the codes are a test because none will be in June. “We want to see how readers respond before moving further with them,” says Butler. “I expect [the feedback to be] positive and that they will soon appear every month.”

What becomes a new BH&G feature is “Innovator” profiles with Pinterest cofounder Ben Silbermann one of three in May followed by Unclutter.com founder Donna Smallin in June. “Pinterest has been huge to our community because it shares visual images and ideas, which are so much a part of what we’re all about. Donna is already very popular with readers.”

Currently, BH&G’s Facebook page measures 472,000, which Butler expects to grow “impressively” in the near- and long-term. And a further sign of the times is May’s Snap Happy photo essay (above right) shot entirely with an iPhone 4S.

…As Editor-In-Chief Gayle Butler Receives A 2012 Matrix Award

She is the magazine-sector recipient of the New York Women in Communications honor at the April 23 luncheon in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria. Butler’s presenter is star chef Rocco DiSpirito, whom she calls “a big fan of BH&G and our family lifestyle. I am also following an informal Matrix tradition of choosing somebody from outside the company.”

Also being honored : Tyra Banks (model), Glenn Close (actress), Ann Curry (Today co-anchor), Maria Cuomo Cole (Help USA), Laura Desmond (Starcom MediaVest Group ceo), Zenia Mucha (Walt Disney Co. chief communications officer), and Peggy Noonan ( Wall Street Journal columnist). Past magazine and newspaper Matrix winners include Gayle King ( O), Laura Landro ( Wall Street Journal), Cindi Leive ( Glamour), Martha Nelson (Time Inc.), Maurie Perl (Condé Nast), Marjorie Scardino (Pearson, PLC), Rochelle Udell (now at Revlon), Linda Wells ( Allure), Kate White ( Cosmopolitan), Anna Wintour ( Vogue), and 2011 recipient Gina Sanders (Fairchild Fashion Media).