Is it possible to be both pretty and geeky?
Increasingly so. The September issue of Vogue Magazine -- the most anticipated issue of the year for fashionistas -- will be a behemoth ad spectacle as usual. This year, however, ads will send customers online to check out a new feature: ShopVogue.tv. The new channel "offers links to purchase the products featured in the magazine’s print ads, while simultaneously showing videos of runway shows, fashion ad campaigns and serial shows created by Vogue." It will also provide a venue for user-generated interaction, in which visitors can upload photos of their own styles into an area called Fashion U Share.
Owned by Condé Nast Publications, which, like all major traditional magazine brands, is now fretting over its previously acclaimed female readership, Vogue is increasingly under pressure to embrace an untapped online audience.
The channel launches major initiatives to engage readers, including over 240 minutes of original online video content, and three multi-episode series called “60 Seconds to Chic," a type of makeover show; “Behind the Lens," a documentary-style series; and "Trend Watch," a carryover from syndicated television.
Competing with a renewed interest in the fashion industry, as demonstrated by movies, sitcoms and reality television, Vogue, arguably one major authority on haute couture, is finally entering the Web generation. And let's be realistic: readers read Vogue for its content about as much as readers of Playboy enjoy the articles. This new initiative, in which content really is king (and advertising comprises all his new clothes), will benefit Vogue advertisers most of all.
ShopVogue.tv will allow visitors to shop by brand, trend, department and eventually price. Videos from recent runway shows will also appear online, allowing visitors to see and purchase fashions from the current season.
Advertisers who appear in the coveted September print issue are also offered an opportunity to appear online, with those who purchase multi-page spreads having the option to post additional content, "like behind-the-scenes video from their campaign’s photo shoots."
While it's never too late to embrace the new wave of communication and content delivery, Vogue's new site seems to struggle between two identities: fashion industry guru and ad agent. In print, the magazine seems to have mastered that balance well. (A number of women will even admit to reading Vogue in print for fashion cues from the ads!)
Vogue has always been dedicated to its advertisers, so it will be interesting to see if it can strike a healthy and advantageous balance in the online realm without letting one strength overshadow the other.