R.I.P. Gourmet—Our $.02 on How They Can Keep the Brand Alive

gourmet magazineConde Nast announced today that it will shutter Gourmet, the much-beloved magazine that's been serving a mix of high-end recipes and high-brow culinary essays since 1940. (Cookie and Modern Bride are also getting axed, but let's just say the resulting shock is significantly less for both titles).

Diminished ad pages and pricey writers may have sealed the print magazine's fate, but what can Conde do to keep the venerable brand alive? We thought of a few ideas:

Conquer the Boob Tube: A move to television is already in the works, with a new show debuting mid-month. "Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth" will follow editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl as she globe-hops to cooking schools with culinary rock stars. Reichl is a major draw—she has released four books to broad acclaim—and the Food Network's strong ratings show there's a strong public appetite for watching shows about food.

Move into Travel: Many mouth-watering essays in Gourmet follow food writers to distant lands to explore exotic culinary traditions. So why not send mag fans packing as well, with Gourmet-branded travel trips?

Tie it to Retail: Gourmet is already sold on the magazine racks of upscale and organic food purveyors like Whole Foods. Why not fold the title into the company? It would keep the magazine alive and up the grocery store's culinary cred. (We can already see the easy endcap displays for grab-and-go recipe needs.)

Turn the Brand Over to the Fans: Wiki recipes are gaining ground online, despite concerns that too many cooks can spoil the broth. Would a massive Gourmet-branded wiki site sate fans' hunger for the curated content—or feed it?

We know we've only scratched the surface. Who can think of other ways to keep the Gourmet brand going?

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4 Comments

  • Bruce Barnett

    A modest suggestion: make it part of their Bon Appetit magazine either as a section of an insert. Then give a free subscription (rounded up to the next full year) to Bon Appetit to all the former Gourmet subscribers in an attempt to combine the subscription numbers to make ads more valuable in the combined magazine.

  • Bruce Barnett

    A modest suggestion: make it part of their Bon Appetit magazine either as a section of an insert. Then give a free subscription (rounded up to the next full year) to Bon Appetit to all the former Gourmet subscribers in an attempt to combine the subscription numbers to make ads more valuable in the combined magazine.

  • Bruce Barnett

    A modest suggestion: make it part of their Bon Appetit magazine either as a section of an insert. Then give a free subscription (rounded up to the next full year) to Bon Appetit to all the former Gourmet subscribers in an attempt to combine the subscription numbers to make ads more valuable in the combined magazine.

  • Annabella Goff

    An offshoot of the Wiki idea would be creating a social networking application and revamping their website to fit.

    Gourmet could function like iLike. The site could offer chefs an outlet to communicate with their fans and everyone could share in the recipes. You could become fans of restaurants or food shows creating the leading site on the Internet to talk about food and its celebrities. Then tap into the enormous social network of Facebook to have a built-in foodie network.

    One of the great criticisms of Vogue is that it failed to become THE source on the Internet for fashion (much like Jarl Mohn suggested MTV's failure of becoming the Internet's music hub). I'm inclined to think Conde Nast doesn't have as strong an interest in the online world which could mean a brand licensing opportunity for an Internet start-up to take an old brand like Gourmet and move it online for such an endeavor.