Thousands of pages of September issues landed on newsstands this week with a thud.
The month is the most important of the year for glossy fashion magazines including Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, among others. And their September issues come packed with more pages, and more pages of ads, than any other month’s.
For brands and retailers advertising in the issue, it’s the fashion equivalent to the Super Bowl. But as readership of print magazines declines and online content and mobile apps jockey for attention alongside the monthly print issues, advertisers are being forced to adapt. However, the move from traditional print advertising to dynamic, digitally infused advertising has been slow, and in 2016, it shows.
David Cooperstein, advisor to programmatic platform PebblePost, said that marketers haven’t caught up to retailers when it comes to multichannel efforts. “They think of a magazine as a silo, and then they go with what’s familiar,” he said.
What’s familiar is rich, creative photography that takes the formula of model-plus-clothing-plus-alluring-stare and spread it across a print page or two. Marketers still think that capturing a reader with a visually interesting ad will be enough to leave an impression that will get a potential customer to return later.
“They think, if the ad is doing its job, we’d rather not distract the reader with something that takes them out of the magazine,” said Cooperstein. That includes a prompt to visit the website, search a hashtag or download an app.
Still, the shift is starting, and digital footprints are visible throughout the cumulative 1,914 pages of the top September issues in the industry: Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Here’s a breakdown of the magazines’ ads by the numbers to give an idea of what’s happening between covers.
Number of pages: 800
Number of ads in the issue: 209
First page with an actual article: 352
Digital integration: One. This year, CoverGirl used a Shazam overlay to make its print ad, starring ambassador Katy Perry, a mobile experience. Those with the Shazam app (or whoever chooses to download it) can scan the page and get a tour of the “Katy Kat House,” an interactive feature with Katy Perry-branded imagery and products. (Last year, Target had its first multi-page spread that used Shazam to link to products in the retailer’s fall collection. It didn’t take out a second Vogue ad this year.)
See now, buy now shoutout: One. Tommy Hilfiger’s two-page New York Fashion Week ad featuring Gigi Hadid, who has a Tommy collection coming out this fall, is labeled “Right Off the Runway,” and tells readers to shop the fashion show’s live stream on September 9 at Tommy.com and Vogue.com.
Campaign hashtags: 14, including Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins and #pradaxprada, a hashtag promoting Prada’s fragrance.
Calls to action off of the page: Seven. Most were prompts to find a store near you online, watch a campaign film, or see the rest of the fall/winter collection.
Mobile app mentions: Three. Urban Decay’s Vice Lipstick app, CoverGirl’s Beauty U app, and Iris Apfel’s emoji app got shoutouts in the ads.
Self promotionals: Three. Vogue filled separate pages of the magazine to promote its tablet version, its new mobile app, and its Snapchat Discover channel, which it said is coming soon.
Social handles: Three. J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and L’Oréal want Vogue readers to follow them on social media.
Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter icons: 12. The platform gang appeared at the bottom of three ads, including Land’s End, which didn’t include its own handle.
Free samples: Six. Five perfumes and an Olay eye cream come free with the $9.99 purchase.
Number of Kendall Jenners: Four. Jenner starred in Fendi and Estée Lauder’s fall campaigns. But, that’s if you don’t count the Vogue cover girl’s photoshoot.
Number of cigarette ads: Two, one for Newports and one for American Spirit.
Number of pages: 530
Number of ads in the issue: 146
First page with an actual article: 192
Digital integrations: None. Don’t try to scan or Shazam these pages.
Campaign hashtags: 17, with brands not appearing in Vogue including Benefit’s #benefitbrows and Kohl’s #everydayrunway campaigns.
Calls to action off of the page: Nine, including one prompt from Lisette to visit Lisette.com/elle to shop everything seen in the ad.
Mobile app mentions: Two. Urban Decay’s Vice Lipstick ad resurfaced, and Lancôme is prompting readers to send product receipts into the app in order to earn points.
Self promotionals: Two ads that tell users to shop the Elle hair accessory and jewelry boutiques online and at Ulta. One leaflet that flies out from between of the pages in order to sign readers up for subscriptions.
Social handles: Five. Alice and Olivia, Fossil, Simon G Jewelry, OGX Beauty and L’Oréal, again, point to their handles in their ads.
Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter icons: 16.
Free samples: Three, all perfumes.
Number of Kendall Jenners: Three, in her Fendi and Estée appearances.
Number of cigarette ads: One, for Newports. Two if you count the e-vape ad.
Number of pages: 584
Number of ads: 157
First page with an actual article: 211
Digital integrations: One. Vera Bradley, in promoting its new line of eyewear and accessories, invites readers to use the app Layar to scan the page and learn more about the new products.
Fashion show mention: In Burberry’s ad, readers can find the date and time of its London Fashion Week show.
Campaign hashtags: 13.
Calls to action off the page: Five.
Mobile app mentions: Just one, the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick app.
Self promotionals: Four, all ads for ShopBazaar.com, Harper Bazaar’s e-commerce arm that sells items featured throughout each of its issues. Plus two subscriber mail-ins that fall out of the magazine.
Social handles: Three.
Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter icons: 12.
Free samples: Two. Don’t go to Harper’s Bazaar looking for freebies.
Number of Kendall Jenners: Three, bringing a total of 10 Kendall Jenners across the publications.
Number of cigarette ads: Zero. Harper’s Bazaar is a smoke-free zone.