It looks like Marissa Mayer and Kim Kardashian have more in common than business sense—both moguls are also talented at turning off Vogue’s high-fashion audience. As I’m sure you have seen, Vogue’s April cover features a wedding shot of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West accompanying hashtag: #WORLDSMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOUPLE.
All personal feelings of Kimye aside (I have to, or it would cloud my judgment of whether or not this is a good brand decision), this is not entirely a rogue move for the magazine. Vogue also drew much attention and criticism from their decision to feature Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer in 2013.
Yes, I completely agree that Vogue’s brand is high caliber and does not exactly mesh well with the mass-marketed, over-publicized reality TV couple’s image. However, the magazine industry is facing a very difficult time in today’s culture. With so many people getting their news online and through tablet subscriptions, the printed publication has been slowly moving into the land of fax machines and flip phones. The average Vogue reader is currently 37.8 years old, compared to 30 in 2001. As the current market is aging, Anna Wintour knew she had to spice up her brand to help bring in a newer audience.
The Daily Beast put it best: “Between the two of them, Kim and Kanye have more than 30 million Twitter followers. Vogue has only 3.6 million.”
When it comes down to it, Vogue may have alienated several of their current subscribers, but they also potentially opened the door for a slew of new readers. I really don’t even think they strayed from their brand either. Sure, Kimye is no Kate Moss, but Kim is still wearing high-fashion gowns, and Annie Leibovitz’s photos also comply with the current brand standards. The cover has even inspired spoofs from James Franco and Seth Rogen (who are certainly not newbies when it comes to spoofing Kimye) and even Miss Piggy and Kermit, in addition to the many articles and newscasts that are talking about the “controversy”.
Whether or not you agree with Wintour’s decision, you can’t really argue that Vogue’s April issue is #THEWORLDMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOVER, thus making it a smart brand move.