Elle magazine is a publication that has always been one of the nation's favourites, but clearly never popular enough to pip fashion bible, Vogue, to the top spot in the performance poll relating to the number of ad pages sold in each magazine. Although InStyle magazine actually ranked top of the group, the competition seems to be running between two magazines only - Vogue and Elle.
This time last year, (pre-recession), Elle was forced to 'eat Vogue's dust' and was left 317 ad pages short of its competitor. That is until now. WWD's '2009 Ad Page Performance' poll shows that Elle managed to beat its old rival this year, having lost only 473 ad pages, whilst Vogue lost 900. Tom Florio, a Vogue publisher, couldn't resist offering an explanation for the defeat saying, "I learned how important it is to lead the market in terms of editorial standpoint, versus heavily discount and use our editors to sell ad pages. What we saw happen this year, which we haven't seen in a while, is the discounts were approaching 70 percent. Some of the deals that were being done were just crazy."
It seems that our fashionable purses are not the only ones being hit hard by the dreaded 'r' word: the recession is not only affecting our buying habits with clothes, but magazines, too. Ad pages and news-stands sales are undoubtedly down across the board for our favourite monthly magazines, so could this be why the likes of magazine giants Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar are changing their approach to the fashion consumer?
Recently, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of fashion magazines containing articles about the high street wonders that will transform our wardrobe, within budget. In hard times, it is easy to understand why readers would find it almost inappropriate to be shown garments costing half as much as the average car, with models that are below the nation’s average dress size and have been air brushed to perfection. And so in step the ‘Stylish Steals’, alongside countless celebrity covers and in a further attempt to keep relevant, and more importantly, realistic in these economic times, there is a rise in the link between fashion magazines and reality television.
First to create the attachment was Elle, with Project Runway, ironically now sponsored by Marie Claire. Then came a series of links between the two sectors popping up - Marie Claire’s very own reality television show, Running In Heels, resulted in a boost of single copy sales after its premiere on the Style network.We saw Elle’s Stylista - a reality show in which competitors fought for an internship at the magazine. Although it won’t be returning for a second series, Elle has managed to stay on the reality show bandwagon by hiring Olivia Palermo, famous for being on reality show The City, in a PR assistant role in time for the second series of the hit show. More recently, Vogue allowed readers behind the scenes not on the television, but on the big screen, with the release of R.J. Cutler’s documentary, The September Issue. It is rumoured that the next collaboration between the worlds of magazines and television will see Harper’s Bazaar getting their ‘Fabulous at Every Age’ feature onto our screens.