American Marketer


American Express taps Sotheby’s for Departures destination issue launch

August 31, 2011

Jealousy No. 1 2006 by Wing Shya


American Express’ Departures Global Arts Initiative is partnering with famed auction house Sotheby’s to curate an exhibit celebrating the 15th annual Destinations issue of Departures magazine, “The New Asia.”

The auction Sept. 13 will benefit the Asia Society Museum and focuses on Asian contemporary art. The event is expected to attract 300 American Express Platinum and Centurion cardmembers, Sotheby’s customers and benefactors to the museum.

“The event will be a great cross-section of art enthusiasts and New York cultural mavens,” said Steven DeLuca, vice president and publisher of Departures, New York. “The concept of Global Arts Initiative is to support the arts in an art-based and philanthropic way.

“Contemporary Asian Art is the hottest thing in the art world right now, and this event is in the middle of Asia week in New York,” he said.

Birds of a feather

The October issue of Departures magazine, New Asia, is the 15th edition of the special destinations feature, an entire magazine dedicated to a region where history, style, art and culture help to shape the 21st century.

There will be 19 original works of art curated for this auction with Sotheby’s and the Asia Society Museum.

Some of the artists who are submitting pieces include Anthony “Antz” Chong, Wing Shya, Sonny Liew, Manit Sriwanichpoom and Kazuna Taguchi.


Untitled 2011 by Anthony "Antz" Chong

“Sotheby’s is one of the leading auction houses in the world,” Mr. DeLuca said. “They have a global reach, as do we, and they understand what we do.

“They are the most authentic luxury property in the media space, and we need someone who has the same credibility as we do in the space,” he said.

Departures’ destination issues are coveted issues that members hold on to for years, per Mr. DeLuca.

The publisher is running ads in the September issue and also hosting satellite events in Chicago and San Francisco to celebrate the New Asia.

The Chicago event is sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways while the San Francisco event comprises an artist creating a new piece of art in a Neiman Marcus location that will be auctioned off that same night.

Picture of health
The October issue is quite impressive since its ad pages increased 50 percent year-over-year.

Additionally, the magazine will be up 40 percent in ad pages for the year.

Since the average magazine ad pages have only increased about 1.5 percent, this is a huge improvement, according to Mr. DeLuca.

“The marketplace is realizing that [the destination issues are] keepsake issues and it’s something that everyone wants to be a part of,” Mr. DeLuca said.


Self-Portrait by Eko Nugroho

The San Francisco event will inaugurate the October issue on Sept. 24 and the magazine is expected to be in-home Sept. 26.

Departures is sent to 1,040,000 individuals with an average household income of $476,000.

There is also a weekly editorially-curated opt-in newsletter with 50,00 recipients.

Additionally, the average Departure reader takes more than five trips abroad every year and 98 percent of them have a passport.

Many luxury brands are looking to advertise in Departures and, especially, the destination issues, because of this reach of affluent consumers.

“The destination issues are important because our readers love to travel,” Mr. DeLuca said. “These are the most affluent travelers in the world.

“This has become an important issue because it drives people to travel and has a real shelf-life to it,” he said. “The readers have come to appreciate and hold on to and really love them, and that’s what makes it so important to us.”

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York