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Departures

Giant Spoon, a marketing agency known for its work with big brands like HBO and HP is relaunching American Express’ luxury lifestyle magazine Departures as a digital publication for members.

Why it matters: Ad agencies don't typically act as publishers, although they often create content for their clients. But given the pressure for brands to connect with audiences online, it makes sense that American Express would shift its publishing operations to an agency with digital expertise.

  • "As a full-service ad agency, Giant Spoon programs brands into culture. We're applying this approach to the new Departures to reimagine how card members and advertisers will experience the next era of this beloved media property," said Trevor Guthrie, co-founder of Giant Spoon.

Details: Departures focuses on lifestyle content, especially for frequent travelers, spanning topics like wellness, food, arts and style.

  • It was distributed in print to American Express Platinum Card and Centurion Members for decades, and moving forward will be made available exclusively to those same members online via a paywalled website.
  • The site includes luxury lifestyle content that's personalized and contextualized for readers in ways that go beyond what the magazine could offer.
  • While the site includes text articles, it will also feature much more multi-media content, like video and personalization features for users when they sign-in.

Catch up quick: Meredith Corporation, the magazine giant that had been publishing Departures, said it would cease publishing the magazine in March.

  • Departures had been published by Meredith since 2017, when the company took it over following its acquisition of Time Inc.
  • Time Inc. purchased the magazine from American Express, which had been putting out the magazine since its launch in 1984.

The big picture: Print publications geared towards traveler have struggled during the pandemic, resulting in the folding of several magazines.

What's next: Giant Spoon and American Express are eyeing ways to expand the brand further through things like podcasts and experiences.

The bottom line: “This new offering will honor the publication’s historic past, while creating a new path for Departures to continue to grow its audience and content streams into a robust ecosystem that spans multiple platforms, says Andy Goldberg, SVP of global brand planning and content at American Express.

Go deeper

Sep 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Industry Dive acquires PharmaVOICE, revenue to hit $80M

Photo courtesy of Industry Dive

Industry Dive, a Washington, D.C.-based business journalism outlet, is acquiring PharmaVOICE, a trade publication for pharmaceutical industry executives, its CEO and co-founder Sean Griffey tells Axios. The deal marks Industry Dive's fourth acquisition in the last year and a half.

Why it matters: The company, which is expected to finish 2021 with more than $80 million in revenue, is pursuing a similar strategy to several other media companies that are trying to remain independent: acquire small brands to get bigger incrementally.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."