Retailers Launch Blogs and Magazines, Is This the New Form of Advertising?

Posted: March 1, 2012 in Fashion
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I’m trying to imagine Stella McCartney, Jason Wu, or Alexander McQueen magazine.  Yeah, I’m drawing a blank.  But it’s not too unfamiliar for J. Crew, Anthropologie, or Madewell, and other retailers.  Have you been to a store lately and saw those small booklets on the counter or read a retailer’s blog online?   That didn’t exist a few years ago.  Is this the new way of advertising for fashion designers and retailers?  Is it more cost effective to print your own magazine or start a blog, than running an ad campaign in a magazine?  Apparently, the folks at Dior think so.  Normally, I would agree because I’m seeing more of it lately, but I think there’s more advantage to sticking with the old way of advertising.

For starters, I don’t know if readers are any more engaged when they pick up that “magazine” on the sales counter or read a blog than they are when they’re flipping the pages of Elle or Vanity Fair.  I’m the nerd that actually pays attention to ads in fashion magazines, even the ones I can’t afford. Jason Wu just launched an affordable line at Target, and I bought the pieces I saw advertised in the magazines I subscribe to, not because I’m an avid Target shopper or a Wu follower but because of how strong this ad was.

If a brand is advertised in the magazine, especially designers, they are most likely to end up in the editorial coverage such as Fashion Week, new product features, etc.  I think it works that way for most mediums, but that’s recognition too that they didn’t purchase.  So, in my opinion, that has to be more profitable in the end than publishing your own magazine. We’re talking magazines like Vogue that have a huge readership, with at least 500,000.  I don’t think 500,000 people are shopping in a month at these retailers to pick up those small magazines or go to those blogs.  I also don’t think most of these designers or retailers will ever be profitable enough to put money into these publications like Conde Nast, Time Inc., or Hearst does with their print brands. But I suppose if consumers crave intimacy and exclusivity rather than product driven ads, then they’ll support these new forms of advertising like blogs and retailer’s catalogs.


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