Former Condé Nast CEO explains the new strategy that was going to save the publishing giant

We doubt they mean it when they say it. Former Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg told Ad Age that the company would return its focus to “investing in what makes brands Condé Nast brands.”…

Former Condé Nast CEO explains the new strategy that was going to save the publishing giant

We doubt they mean it when they say it.

Former Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg told Ad Age that the company would return its focus to “investing in what makes brands Condé Nast brands.” The so-called failed “rebrand” was announced in November.

Despite its impending demise, Vogue is still one of the most profitable magazines in the company, according to Ad Age. That’s perhaps proof that, despite the naysayers, nostalgic vibes don’t end with old magazines – things go on, too.

Yes, we know Vogue suffers an insane run rate: Anyone who still follows its pages knows it publishes 80 pages of fashion news every single day – that’s over 1,700 pages in 2017 alone.

But we don’t care, because we know Vogue’s 100th anniversary will throw up a whopping 12,000 pages worth of fashion in 2018 alone. And all without going broke…

Fashion is dumb and people don’t understand it

Ever since Condé Nast began categorizing its pages, editors have always subverted fashion’s seriousness in favor of fun and sometimes silly trends. It doesn’t matter if you’re a former editor, or the editor-in-chief of the biggest Condé Nast publication in the world, it’s still fun to go to fashion shows, wear it on fashion week or recognize some gems from your summer vacation.

Hence, the internet’s hate against its recent rebranding: being “genderless” isn’t cool. Also, “cool” encompasses very hot women sporting lace mini-dresses without a second thought.

Of course, the bigger elephant in the room is that Vogue is in the first place – it’s supposed to be the bellwether for all fashion – to be thrown in the same hate pile as high school fashion shows and “Fyre Festival” documentaries.

Condé Nast is a dinosaur

If you care about Condé Nast’s future, you are a dinosaur. Just look at the decay we’ve seen in the glossy giants of traditional journalism – Time Inc. has nearly doubled in price since 2010 and reported a $91m loss last year, while Glamour, a show of the Condé Nast family is once again printing its dying paper. Vanity Fair has reportedly been closing content teams and laying off staff members, while Time Inc.’s bold experiment of focusing on high quality journalism has quickly stumbled into losses.

By contrast, Emap, the British magazine publisher has been reporting banner growth in online subscriptions – and that was before the launch of their micropayment app, My Emap . The company’s success shows that the digital age has brought its own dilemmas – but it’s up to publishers to find innovative ways to keep up.

Nobody loves it anymore

Vogue’s first-ever color issues were a groundbreaking achievement. But outside of the traditional Vogue fan club, they’ve faded into one of those essential objects of fashion nostalgia that no one quite knows what to do with anymore.

Meanwhile, even the non-fashion-starved have their own pieces of pop culture memorabilia to tuck into drawers. Instagram account My Pop Life even uploads video clips of fashion’s most minor and absurd trends. Vogue’s music, food and beauty pages are collectively available to practically anyone with a spare moment (maybe also anyone who isn’t a really really really bad person).

Whip it up, punk

Like any digitally-connected culture, Twitter’s very existence has been a boon for high fashion – although it’s struggled more in this era of appealing to younger people than all the other media. It’s the public stage that caters to our hottest obsessions – and links us to all those endless fashion shows and celebrity gossip.

So while the decision to shut down Domino had nothing to do with the internet’s harsh reality, it certainly illustrates the need for editors to worry more about their audience, and less about some of their more archaic influences.

And the only sure way to appeal to their young audience is to continue adapting, not becoming the media industry’s Facebook or Instagram – like Vanity Fair, their real power is being that not-so-distant past, but still present.

So, honestly, we’d try a plan B.

An old-school issue that includes provocative headline graphics, classy photography and decadent displays of runway and celebrity denim doesn’t lose much by not requiring people to have created an account, or frequent social media, in the first place. We wouldn’t even mind if it came with a nice espresso machine!

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