Friday, September 12, 2014

How Much Editorial Love Do Fashion Magazines Give Their Advertisers?

Racked reporting:
A few years ago, the Federal Trade Commission mandated that fashion bloggers start practicing full disclosure: Every affiliate link used, every crazy gift received, every check cashed in exchange for a post on Instagram—bloggers have to let their readers know about it. While that decree hasn't been monitored too closely, at least it's a step in the right direction.
But what about print publications? Yes, there was that one time a WWD reporter got publicly scolded for posting images from a PR-sponsored weekend getaway. But for the most part, the relationship between advertising and editorial remains murky; when a brand gets a product placement in Vogue and then, 100 pages later, an advertisement from the same brand pops up, there's no note that the featured brand is also an advertiser.
With transparency out the window, we took matters into our own hands by analyzing six of the biggest women's fashion magazines (from all three major publishing houses) to see what percentage of advertisers received editorial touts....
When we reached out for comment, Condé Nast stated there was no official correlation between advertisers and editorial coverage. (Both Hearst and Time Inc. didn't reply to our requests by press date.) However, advertiser priority lists are an open secret in the biz, and some magazines try harder than others to fit brands in. For instance, every Vogue fashion editorial except for one in the back of the book included a "beauty note" somewhere in one of the captions. (On page 744: "Balance dreamy florals with an elegantly defined brow. Chanel's Crayon Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil offers soft precision in a formula that lasts.") Four out of the five beauty notes recommended brands that also paid for advertising in the issue.

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