Publishing behemoth has announced a launch of a new Condé Nast ‘Influencer Platform’. The aim, it claims is “to identify and curate the most influential voices for advertisers” proving yet again that Vogue’s main focus is advertisers. That is, not their readers.
Editors and self proclaimed ‘Influencers’ in one pile – a happy bunch
The Platform features both in-house staff and external ‘bloggers’ with “significant and meaningful social followings, harnessing and multiplying the authority of the company’s portfolio of brands in new ways.” The New Gen platform will launch with a focus on fashion, style, and beauty, and expand to other categories shortly.
“When you create the most innovative, relevant content, you build a great following, and now we’re leveraging the power and influence of that following for our advertising partners,” said Pamela Drucker Mann, chief revenue and marketing officer for Condé Nast.
This stance is a complete U-turn from Vogue’s coverage of The Milan Fashion Week in 2016. Less than two years ago, Vogue editors wrote:
“There’s not much I can add here beyond how funny it is that we even still call them “bloggers,” as so few of them even do that anymore. Rather than a celebration of any actual style, it seems to be all about turning up, looking ridiculous, posing, twitching in your seat as you check your social media feeds, fleeing, changing, repeating . . . It’s all pretty embarrassing—even more so when you consider what else is going on in the world. (Have you registered to vote yet?)
“I have to think that soon people will wise up to how particularly gross the whole practice of paid appearances and borrowed outfits looks.” – Alessandra Codinha
And there’s more:
“Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.” – Sally Singer
Is Conde Nast heralding the death of style?
“By combining the insight and influence of our editors with the exponential impact of our curated group of external influencers, we are offering clients an unparalleled level of measurable engagement and a return of investment (ROI) across all platforms,” continued chief revenue and marketing officer for Condé Nast.
Little does she seem to know that both the following and the engagements stats are regularly manipulated. So often fake.
As to the Conde Nast editors on the direct payroll of advertisers, as Pamela Drucker Mann pointed out, both the Conde Nast Editors and ‘Influencers’ will be enrolled in the program. In simple words, they will be made aware whose drum they must beat. Not only that, their payment will depend on how well they beat that drum and sell. Thus, raising a new generation of yes-editors who are happy to sacrifice style and their opinion for a pay-cheque.
Condé Nast publisher or advertising agency?
“It’s not just about the raw scale of a campaign, it’s also critical to reach the right audience, and our editorial and data capabilities give us a significant advantage over our rivals,” commented Ms Drucker Mann. It implies that Vogue will be directly working with influencers ‘to rub the new products in’ even to those who don’t read Vogue.
Professional journalists and ethical publishers have reasons for concerns. The new ‘army of yes people-influencers’ with usually zero journalistic experience will simply praise any product in front of them. Moreover, the vast majority of their content is via selfies. Selfie addiction has been found to be an ‘illness’ in a major study, so one could even argue that these thousands of narcissist ‘influencers’ are mentally ill too? Couldn’t make it up.
Having no objectivity will likely make Conde Nast titles simply catalogues of tat. But we knew that already, right?
Conde Nast and nepotism have become synonyms
The new ‘Influencer Platform,’ Conde Nast claims, “offers clients a highly-curated, brand-safe (what does that mean?) environment of authentic creators identified by Condé Nast editors.” That, one might argue, will possibly leave little space for other creatives who don’t have friends in Conde Nast to thrive.
Conde Nast publications have long been known to be simply ‘catalogues for adverts‘, including political adverts. The new platform is yet another product in the basket of the ‘profit-hungry publisher-turned-advertising-agency’.
Truth be told, the approach is not surprising. The monopolism and nepotism in Conde Nast is nothing new. One only has to recall The Fashion Awards affairs. Where at least four award winners with average talent and achievement are openly endorsed by Vogue and its new editorial team (their mates). Or the scandalous interview of Lucinda Chambers, where she openly admits the advertising budget plays the decisive role in getting on the front cover. Or the Vogue Arabia blatantly obvious bow to Fendi – pure paid content.
As long as you pay, you’ll be in Vogue no matter what the quality. And from now on – for perhaps a little extra fee – you will be ‘rubbed in’ from numerous clone-like pages of pre-selected ‘pals-influencers’.
What’s wrong with the new Conde Nast Influencer Platform
The Influencer program, Conde Nast claims, will include approximately 3,500 influencers -made up word- with estimated social followings -mostly fake- of more than 300 million, which can be organized and selected by category.
Conde Nast advertisers will be able to filter these self proclaimed ‘influencers’ – out of the pre-selected pool – for each campaign. This is meant to ensure that they are reaching the desired audience using CitizenNet, the social data, and marketing platform Condé Nast acquired in 2017. Yes, vultures flogging you meat.
Services for Conde Nast advertisers by Conde Nast favourites
At this stage, it hasn’t been made clear whether these ‘closed club services’ will be available to non-Conde Nast advertisers. It is also unclear whether simple mortal creatives with principles – who don’t have Conde Nast editors among their friends – will be able to get on the list of pre-approved content creators.