Rousso to appear in SI swimsuit issue in 'custom content' piece paid for by PokerStars
By Gary Trask
Casino City has received further clarification from Sports Illustrated regarding pictures of Vanessa Rousso appearing in the upcoming 2009 swimsuit edition.
On Thursday, Casino City reported that it had been told by SI that while a photo shoot with the PokerStars pro did take place in the Bahamas on Jan. 4, the magazine was not going to publish the pictures. On Friday, Sports Illustrated Director of Communications Kelli Raftery explained the situation more clearly by saying that Rousso would be appear in the magazine, but not as a "featured model in the editorial portion of the magazine." Instead, Rousso will appear as part of a PokerStars-sponsored "custom content" piece, which the online poker room paid for.
According to the magazine's media kit, SI custom content is "an in-house creative team of writers, editors and designers dedicated to delivering quality sponsored editorial to SI readers." The media kit goes on to say that "this engaging content creates a high-impact marketing environment with stopping power for the sponsoring advertisers." Past SI custom content advertisers have included Dodge, AT&T, McDonald's and Heineken.
The magazine was originally pitched by PokerStars to have a poker player appear in the coveted swimsuit issue as a featured model, but SI decided that poker was not the direction it wanted to go in.
PokerStars submitted Rousso as a possible model for the custom content piece and after reviewing photos of her, SI sent an associate editor to interview her for the editorial portion of the piece. The photo shoot that took place in the Bahamas on Jan. 4 was produced by a SI crew.
The SI swimsuit issue's estimated circulation is 4,500,000, compared to the normal SI weekly circulation of 3,150,000. According to SI, the issue is read by 32% of U.S. adults over the age of 18.