When a Product Becomes Too Successful
Clearly this is a publication of interest to serious news junkies like myself with the addition of some fashion frou-frou.
But. … peel back the cover and what follows are well over 100 fashion ads from the great design houses, plus occasional jewelry and automobile ads. All the young models—male and female—have bods to die for and expressions best described with words beginning with the letter “s”: sullen, soulful, supercilious, snotty, superior, stupid, smarmy, somnambulant, slobbish, sloppy, and once in while seductive. Not one of them looks to be a lively dinner companion.
Quite simply, these advertisers, are paying a page rate of between $93,037 and $114,860 (depending on frequency and a lot more for cover positions) to reach a rate base of 1,075,000—or roughly 10 cents a page per person. Who are these advertisers reaching? Two groups:
1) Me—a current affairs hound. However this advertising is totally wasted on me. I do not care a rap about Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Rolex or Tiffany. Nor is such frippery as “Vanities,” “Fanfair,” the “Vanity Fair Agenda” and the best/worst dressed list of any interest to me.
2) Ms. fashion maven who wants what is new, chic, expensive as well as to revel in who is wearing what, divorcing whom and partying where. Is this reader interested in excruciatingly long thumb-sucking pieces about the Middle East, the presidency and 9/11? I don’t think so.
The magazine is aimed at two different audiences. Advertising and editorial content represent a disconnect. If half the readers are news nuts and the other half fashion fans, then the advertisers actually are paying double the promised CPM. Instead of paying a dime to reach a reader, they pay 20 cents to reach a desirable reader.
* Vanity Fair Screws Readers and Advertisers Alike: It matters not a hoot what I think of the editorial content. Weighing in at two pounds, this September issue of Vanity Fair is 400 pages of heavy, glossy paper with perfect binding that makes it impossible to read. In the celebrity world, only “Pumping Iron” star Arnold Schwarzenegger could muster the brute strength to pull the magazine apart so the pages seem reasonably flat. For the rest of us, the text and illustrations on every page curve into the deep gutter of the cast iron binding.