Fashion Brands Would Rather Make Their Own Magazines Than Buy Ads

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The cover of Acne's branded magazine, Acne Paper.

Have you noticed that almost every retailer has its own blog these days? And you can hardly walk into a store without seeing a stack of "complimentary magazines" by the checkout counter, which are basically just catalogues with additional text. And no wonder brands do this: It's often much cheaper than an ad campaign, and arguably just as effective. Alice Litscher, a fashion communication professor at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris, tells the Times, “Why spend €40,000 a page to advertise in Vogue when, for the same amount of money, you can publish an entire magazine?” Adds BLK DNM marketing director Max Vallot, The consumer is much more likely to engage with independent editorial content than with conventional, purely product-focused advertising."

So in other words, you might be more tempted to shop at Barneys if you stumble across their blog than if you flip past one of their ads in a magazine. But don't forget that when a brand buys ads in a fashion magazine, they're basically securing editorial coverage, too — a big advertiser is far more likely to have their clothes featured in a fashion spread or their lipstick in a roundup of new spring colors. And therein lies the big sell: Supposedly impartial editors will endorse their advertisers in their magazine's content, which is probably still more effective than a brand's own publication any day.