December 14, 2016
Condé Nast-owned fashion publication Vogue is Luxury Daily’s 2016 Luxury Publisher of the Year for its digital and physical expansions as a means to continuously speak to its global readers regardless of preferred channel.
Vogue, and its international editions, won over the first runner’s-up Hearst and the second runner’s-up The New York Times. Traditional publishing has been inundated with digital touch points that have resulted in an industry shake-up and sink or swim mentality, but these three publishers have responded accordingly to ensure their readers are exposed to strong content and their advertising partners continue to be placed in front of a discerning audience in memorable ways.
The Luxury Publisher of the Year award was decided based on luxury marketing efforts with impeccable strategy, tactics, creative, executive and results. All candidates selected by the Luxury Daily editorial team and from reader nominations had to have appeared in Luxury Daily coverage this year. Judging was based purely on merit.
Strike a pose, Vogue
Condé Nast’s Vogue includes the U.S. and British editions as well as local market titles in Italy, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, France, Japan, Ukraine, China, India, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Portugal and Turkey. Each book looks at culture through the lens of fashion editorial and is supported by leading brand advertisers.
The staying power of Vogue’s DNA is apparent in the longevity of its title. British Vogue turned 100 this year, celebrating its centennial through multiple reader activations.
British Vogue cover collage for its 100th anniversary in print
One such effort saw more than 130 brands across London and key cities within the United Kingdom, including Edinburgh and Manchester, honor the publication, dubbed “the fashion bible,” by creating British Vogue-themed window displays. Vogue’s visual commitment to the fashion industry aligned with this out of home awareness effort that created larger-than-life advertorials sure to catch the eye of passersby (see story).
Vogue has also continued to branch out to new emerging markets that have developed an interest in high-end fashion.
This year saw the launch Vogue Arabia, which has taken a digital-first strategy. The title launched online Oct. 25 with a bilingual platform, in English and Arabic, a historic first for the magazine title. The print version of Vogue Arabia will begin distribution for spring 2017, demonstrating the changing media consumption of today's consumer audience (see story).
Vogue Arabia banner
As publishing has evolved, Vogue has expanded into the physical space through its network of cafés. In addition to digital activations, media brands have turned to out of home experiences as a tactic to gain readership and interact with an audience that does not consume print as much as it had in the past. In Vogue's case, some Vogue Café outposts are located where its publication does not have a localized edition.
Most recently, Vogue announced upcoming locations in Berlin and Porto, Portugal, slotted to open in 2017. In the coming year, Vogue Café will also open its doors in Doha, Qatar and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Along with these additions, Vogue Café's network includes spots in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow (see story).
The brand also extends its fashion know-how to educational ventures as well. Run by its publisher, the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design opened in April 2013. New to this year's course offerings is the one-year Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma program.
Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design
Students enrolled in Vogue's program take classes that align with the bachelor's of arts degree coursework, offering students the chance to extend their course of study. Students are taught skills necessary for working in the 21st century fashion world, helping them to figure out their own key strengths that they could translate to a career (see story).
Vogue has seen also seen continued success with its annual Vogue Festival, first launched in London.
In August, Vogue announced that the Vogue Festival concept would be expanded to the Paris market. Intended for professionals and fashion lovers, the two-day event Nov. 4-5 included debates, discussions and master classes meant to inspire and provide food for thought. The inaugural Vogue Fashion Festival was hosted by Vogue journalists, celebrities from the industry, giving readers the opportunity to learn from firsthand experience (see story).
King of content
In addition to its luxury advertising partners in print, Vogue has emphasized the power of native content.
Most recently, French atelier Chanel promoted its J12 timepiece offerings in "Stealing Time," a new graphic novel housed on Vogue’s homepage. The sponsored graphic novel, written by Elizabeth Wood and illustrated by Rafael Grampa, launched Nov. 23 for readers in the United Kingdom before global distribution.
Stealing Time is a joint project by 23 Stories x Condé Nast Studio in collaboration with Condé Nast France, and coordinated by Condé Nast Global Development and Chanel's media agency PLUS.
Chanel's Stealing Time graphic novel pushed on Vogue's Web sites
The graphic novel will be told through six sharable weekly episodes. The creative will be shared with digital audiences in France, the U.K., Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Italy via Vogue. The content reroutes to Chanel's local Web site in each market (see story).
Vogue Video, launched in 2015, has also emerged as a powerful tool to communicate the publication’s voice to readers.
With help from some larger-than-life personalities, fashion houses such as Gucci, Prada and Dior were among the brands to position the season's standout styles in the July issue of Condé Nast’s Vogue.
Beyond its advertising pages, the July issue, which featured comedian Amy Schumer on its cover, was supported by digital content produced by Vogue and written by the comic. As the print and digital media industries continue to converge, it is becoming clearer that print titles will become more reliant on video features that bring their pages to life and offer consumers more than just written word and still imagery.
In the “Amy Schumer and Anna Wintour Swap Lives” skit, the comic and editor in chief of Vogue do just that. In a take on the television series “Wife Swap,” the pair trade places with Ms. Schumer trying her hand at being Vogue’s editor in chief, while Ms. Wintour takes on stand-up comedy, a move that shows a very different side of the magazine’s head (see story).
Amy Schumer and Anna Wintour swap lives | Vogue, July 2016
First runner’s-up: Hearst Magazines
Hearst Magazines, which owns titles such as Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country and Esquire, among others, has similarly worked to keep its editorial in front of readers through various approaches.
For example, the magazine publisher exclaimed, “We are fashion,” in a bid to drive readership to its core publications’ September issues.
There is no denying that advertising stats have declined, and publishers have set out to explore alternative methods meant to maintain ad sales and support continued print readership in an environment where digital is most preferred. Hearst’s campaign, "We Are Fashion,” looks to spur interest in its print titles and celebrates the large amount of fashion coverage its core publications generate (see story).
Hearst's We Are Fashion out of home ad component
The publisher has also made internal changes to boost circulation, visibility and revenue. In September, Heart Magazines appointed Joanna Coles chief content officer, creating a new executive position.
Ms. Coles, who was most recently editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and editorial director of Seventeen, now oversees the development of Hearst’s titles, including extending the media brands into new channels, such as television and live events. As traditional revenue streams for publishers are becoming less lucrative, media brands are focusing on innovation as a means of profitability (see story).
These innovations include embracing social media interactions. Hearst-owned men’s lifestyle publication Esquire, for example, took the concept of a pop-up to the digital realm with a 48-hour Snapchat Discover experience.
The magazine’s “The Esquire Guide to Grooming” launched Friday, Dec. 9 at 6 a.m. and extended into Sunday, Dec. 11, playing into the idea of a temporary shop by embracing Snapchat’s disappearing content. The Esquire Guide to Grooming featured need-to-know grooming tips for the millennial male as peak holiday party season begins (see story).
Similarly, women's title Marie Claire, also owned by Hearst Magazines, changing the conversation around sunglasses through a partnership with eyewear manufacturer Safilo.
#GetFramed put a spotlight on the accessory category poised for growth, communicating the idea that consumers should have frames to complement each type of outfit and that sunglasses should be bought with each new season along with other wardrobe updates. Creating a link between content and commerce, the program includes mobile integration, where consumers can virtually try on and purchase eyewear from Safilo licensed brands including Dior, Givenchy and Jimmy Choo (see story).
Second runner’s-up: New York Times
Just as with glossies, newspaper publishers are also looking to technological advancements to remain top of mind among readers.
Virtual reality is starting to be embraced more fully by brand marketers and publishers, which in turn has created a new way to produce content. Newspaper publisher the New York Times has been an early adopter of virtual reality technology as a storytelling method, both for news content and advertising partnerships (see story).
Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, for example, crafted a legend with the help of the New York Times’ virtual reality mobile application.
The NYT VR app put readers at the center of the New York Times’ content, including what is produced by its brand partners, through immersive 360-degree video experiences that allow for an interactive narrative. LVMH-owned Tag Heuer used the NYT VR app’s storytelling capabilities to share the heritage of its Carrera timepiece with New York Times’ audience, showing both its placement within the overall watch industry and its modernity (see story).
Tag Heuer on the NYT VR app
In 2016, the New York Times also refined its focus on its newspaper supplement, T Magazine, with the appointment of Elizabeth Webbe Lunny as vice president and publisher.
In her new role, Ms. Lunny heads the luxury group at the media company, working with now-former T magazine editor in chief Deborah Needleman. With previous leadership roles at a number of upscale titles, Ms. Lunny is expected to be instrumental in expanding T Magazine's’ offerings as a platform for luxury advertising (see story).
The New York Times was first runner's-up for Luxury Daily's Luxury Publisher of the Year Award 2015 (see story).