2008
Jul 16

Obama New Yorker
 

Have you seen this cover yet?  Pretty outrageous and offensive right?
 
If you answered “YES”, you don’t understand the meaning of the word “SATIRE.”  This is the position taken by the magazine’s editorial staff.  OK, the elitist stance of The New Yorker shouldn’t surprise anybody.  After all, one of their most recognized and coveted symbols is an illustrated top hat wearing snob from America’s Gilded Age.
 
What offends me about their position is not their lack of sensitivity towards paranoid Democrats who believe that now the Right Wing has a vivid picture to further perpetuate their propaganda (Huffington’s Position By The Way).  What really offends me is that they think we don’t know why they REALLY did this.
 
THEY DID IT TO SELL MAGAZINES!
 
The New Yorker with all of their smart people on staff knew fully well what would happen when they released this cover.  They sat in small meeting rooms with their cappuccinos, vitamin enriched waters and grease board to fully discuss the pros and cons of such a cover.  At least that is my guess of what happened.  The business conclusions they came to and their prognostication of what would occur probably played out like a beautiful swan song.
 
- Every talking head was debating the cover, visibly displayed as they blah, blah and blah.
- They drove a huge amount of traffic to their web site.
- They sold more ads on their web site as most Internet ads are sold on a per view basis.
- They sold a bunch of magazines and quite a few subscriptions as well.  They have 1,000,000 plus subscribers by the way.
- This blogger and many others are writing about the cover.
- The ANGRY crowd with their attention deficit disorder will eventually move on after a few days.
- And finally, they are keeping the fast disappearing world of print “ALIVE!”
 
This calculated risky business marketing is not new to Condé Nast, publisher of The New Yorker.  In fact, it is clear that this marketing approach is here to stay at the giant magazine publishing house.  If you recall, the company created a huge amount of BUZZ at the beginning of this year with a Miley Cyrus photoshoot controversy on Vanity Fair, one of Condé Nast’s magazines.  The teen star was half nude in the controversial photos and it stirred up quite a debate amongst “Sex and the City” wannabes and suburban moms who actually know who Miley Cyrus is.  I personally thought it was totally inappropriate.  Innocent teens are not exactly the best subject matter for Annie Leibovitz.  Ok.. Ok… I know she is a genius but 400K to 600K a shoot????
 
So, the real question is…
 
IS THIS MARKETING GENIUS OR STUPIDITY?  I think this depends on who or what you represent.  Does what you have to lose outweigh what you have to gain?  The streets of media and celebrity are littered with calculated and risky marketing decisions that did not payoff.  One of these days, the fickle crowd may not forgive.  Keep that in mind Condé Nast as you gamble with 80 years of The New Yorker history and tradition.
 
Did I answer the question?  Probably not.
 
What do you think?

 

 

 

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