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Chanel dominates Vanity Fair front-of-book with new ad campaign

July 10, 2013


French label Chanel is commanding attention with a six-page, futuristic apparel advertising campaign in the August issue of Vanity Fair.

The 145-page issue features ads from Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent, Lancome, Burberry, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo. Following Chanel's extended and provocative ads, it may be challenging for these brands to find traction with consumers browsing the issue.

"Many consumers have come to expect one or two pages of consecutive advertising from a brand," said Courtney Albert, management consultant at Parker Avery Group, Atlanta.

"When there are more,  it has a greater chance of capturing the reader's attention," she said. "However, the subsequent brands' advertisements should hopefully be different enough to alert the reader she is no longer still viewing the Chanel spread, for example.

"If not, the reader could walk away with a mixed reaction and mingle the direction of each brand."

Ms. Albert is not affiliated with Vanity Fair, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Vanity Fair, which did not respond by press deadline, has a total circulation of $1,193,267. Readers of the print edition have a median household income of $78,753, while its affluent readers have a median household income of $164,735.

Bullies or buddies

Chanel colonizes the first six pages of the issue with its new fall campaign. Black, silver and white suffuse the scenes.

Chanel ad

Furniture juts from the walls of a cyclical tube, while three models sit inside.

Chanel ad

Estée Lauder follows with a two-page spread.

Estée Lauder ad

Gucci continues with an ad for men's apparel.

Gucci ad

Giorgio Armani appears with an ad featuring its fall/winter products.

Giorgio Armani ad

Omega presents actress Nicole Kidman with an ad for its timepiece.

Omega ad

A few pages later, Ms. Kidman is transformed in a Jimmy Choo ad.

Jimmy Choo ad

Dior takes the back cover.

Dior ad

Other advertisers include Lancôme, Ralph Lauren, L'Oréal and Bottega Venetta.

Feature stories in this issue cover Kerry Washington's persona on the show Scandal, as well as her actual identity; an article about the Benghazi raid that killed U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's approaching exit from office; coastal cities that are being swallowed by the ocean and author Harper Lee's battle in court for royalties from her only book, "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The river

It is common for front-of-book advertisers to occupy two or four pages to flesh out a sparse narrative. Six pages, however, does not occur as often. 

Chanel has used the tactic of multi-page advertisements to seize attention before.

For example, many high-end beauty brands took out ads in the May issue of Condé Nast’s Vogue, but Chanel’s placement sticks out among the rest.

The 318-page issue contains many beauty and fragrance marketers such as Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Viktor & Rolf, La Mer, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Chloé, Marc Jacobs, Prada and others. With so many fragrance and lifestyle placements, advertisers need to find a way to stand out in large magazines such as Vogue (see story).

Additionally, Fendi, Chanel and other luxury advertisers had stayed top of mind among their target audience with multi-page advertisements in the March issue of Condé Nast’s Tatler magazine.

Multi-page ads have seemingly become a trend among print marketers pushing spring/summer collections (see story).

More importantly, ad arrangements should strategically adapt to the time of the year.

"Many fashion and apparel luxury brands use the August issues of magazines to began rolling out their fall collections and offerings," Ms. Albert said.

"These August editions serve as a preface to all of the coveted September issues," she said.

"To the public, this might appear as being too early, but you also have to keep in mind that the development of lines have been in the works for the previous 6-18 months and brands need to make sure the consumers will actively seek out a particular item that they saw in the pages of the magazine before it appears in stores or online."

Final Take

Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York