Magazines are the new skinnyWednesday, 19 August 2009
Whilst the recessionista has earnestly been replacing her expensive designer habit for high street replicas for many months, magazines have been less adaptive to profiling recession shopping. Publications such as British Vogue - who brought back their lauded 'More Dash than Cash' pages - are keen to promote they are in tune with the current economic climate - but main fashion stories and magazine covers are still primarily dedicated to the handful of brands who can afford to take out expensive advertising.
Avid readers of fashion magazines will know that September issues are like the bible of monthly glossies, yet the issues on the shelves are relatively svelte, filled with newly frugal fashion advertisers, who are slashing their budgets in the recession, experimenting with putting more ad dollars to use on the Web, and utilising social networking sites, a relatively inexpensive communication tool to reach a plethora of young shoppers.
High-end fashion brands are still buying ads in the glossy pages but you will have noticed that the double page spread has become a single page and more importnatly that there are less ads filling the pages. So too, less fashionable brands, such as automobiles and corporate companies, who once were banished to no-man's land in the back of the magazine, these days are notching up prime pages in the magazine's highest read sections.
With ad pages dropping like flies for some publications, American Vogue fell to 427 ad pages in September, down 36 percent from last year; Teen Vogue tumbled to 136 pages, down 31 percent; and W lost the most ad pages out of any Conde magazine, down 53 percent to 185 ad pages.
For comparison's sake, Elle will carry 21 fewer pages in September at 327 total, and Harper's Bazaar is estimated to run between 275 and 285 pages, or about 25 percent fewer pages.
Let's hope once the recession eases fashion will be back on the agenda and advertising will return to its glory days of the early noughties. Somehow it feels as if the world's priorities have changed and even for brands who are consistently performing, excessive flaunting of luxury goods is not likely to be at the top of consumers' agenda. It will be interesting to see how fashion and advertising adapts to the new world order.
Image: US Vogue September issue