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Talk of the bay

Bank behind new magazine, at least for first issue

Published August 16, 2004

Publishing experts aren't very optimistic about GRAND Magazine, which a Gulfport couple will launch this month.

But Wachovia Corp. is on board for the inaugural issue.

The Charlotte, N.C., bank will run a back-page ad about its retirement-planning services. According to a back-page ad costs $10,400.

"We saw it as a perfect fit," Wachovia spokesman Mark Folk said. "This magazine's demographic is (ages) 45 to 65, which is basically the baby boom market. . . . You consider rising health care costs, economic uncertainty, increased life expectancy, Social Security concerns, and retirement's top of mind for many people."

Connections, not cold calling, brought about the Wachovia deal.

Co-founder Christine Crosby said she mentioned the magazine concept to Marshall Vermillion, the bank's Central Florida president, when she ran into him at a Winter Park restaurant several months ago. In the early 1990s, Vermillion helped persuade then-employer First Union to advertise in a quartet of Central Florida magazines Crosby owned and later sold.

"He checked out our Web site and was convinced that GRAND Magazine was going to reach one of Wachovia's primary markets," Crosby said.

Most new magazines don't live to be a year old. In a recent interview, magazine consultant Samir Husni said the grandparent idea has been tried before, without success.

Though enthusiastic about GRAND, Wachovia spokesman Folk said the bank will take a wait-and-see approach.

"We're not committed beyond the first issue at this point," he said.

[Last modified August 14, 2004, 00:23:14]

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