Executives said there were some obvious places where they could cut, like contracts with contributors. (That is one explanation for the company’s letting details of the McKinsey process leak, one executive suggested — it allows Condé Nast to blame the consultants for budget reductions and renegotiate contracts with well-known photographers, writers and stylists without alienating them.) —New York Times
To wit, here is a draft of the letter Conde is sending its contributors.*
Dear Condé Nast contributor,
We want you to know that we appreciate all the things you’ve done for us, especially [TK that time that you spent in Fallujah embedded with the troops, that day you got pneumonia after spending twelve hours standing in the Alaska snow for a photo shoot, the time your fingers bled after sewing Gwyneth Paltrow into a dress that didn’t quite fit]. But as you know, we at Condé Nast have been forced to cut costs this year, and unfortunately, the consultants we’ve hired from McKinsey do not feel that the value you bring to the company compares with the intangible value of, say, the sight of Anna Wintour alighting from a Town Car (a yellow cab does not, they feel, provide the same kind of frisson).
It’s true that we could start ordering lunch at places moderately less expensive than Balthazar, or that GQ editors could stay at any number of $300-a-night hotels when they go to Washington next month instead of staying at the Mandarin Oriental or whatever place costs $1,000 a night that they’re staying, but what would people think? We’re Condé Nast. We sell luxury, and so we have to live luxuriously. And while luxury may have been democratized over the past few years, the events of the past year have ensured that it is once again something that can be afforded by only the privileged and the few. And, to paraphrase Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, “That no longer includes you.”
Believe us, we hate doing this, and we so wouldn’t be if not for the mean, nasty consultants. We’re sorry that you never had health insurance, and that you will now have to work at Applebee’s. But we’re sure that, being as bright and clever as you are, you understand. What are we supposed to do? We have an image to uphold. Think about it: Would anyone have bought The Devil Wears Anne Klein?
Good luck finding a new career, and see you in the next bubble!
*That we made up.