Condé Nast’s New Marketing Push Showcases Its Next Generation of Pioneers

Strong voices emerge from Teen Vogue, GQ Style and other brands

Condé Nast is launching a marketing campaign to highlight its new voices and leaders.
Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Teen Vogue, Healthyish, GQ Style

The 108-year old publisher of Vanity Fair, GQ and Bon Appétit is embarking on a new marketing campaign featuring its next generation of writers and editors.

Just as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have trumpeted their journalism in the age of Trump, Condé Nast will shine a spotlight on the groundbreaking leaders taking the storied media company into the future.

“These new leaders are all risk takers and are all willing to launch new brands that aren’t necessarily obvious choices,” said Condé Nast CMO Pamela Drucker Mann. “These weren’t decisions they necessarily asked permission for.”

Drucker Mann, who, for now, also continues as publisher and CRO of the Food Innovation Group, spent the first weeks of her new job reaching out to reporters, writers and editors around Condé’s One World Trade Center headquarters to hear their stories and experiences.

Right away she noticed “little crevices where new brand stories were percolating all around the company,” she told Adweek.

For example, Teen Vogue has been connecting to new readers through its activism and inclusivity, while Bon Appétit’s Healthyish brand affirms the notion that someone can “go to the gym, eat a grain bowl for breakfast, then eat pizza with their friends that night.”

The new marketing push will focus on Elaine Welteroth and Phil Picardi, the editor and digital editorial director, respectively, for Teen Vogue; Will Welch, the editor-in-chief of GQ Style, which launched as a separate brand in 2016 to include a focus of art, music and design; Amanda Shapiro, editor of Healthyish, Jon Kelly and Bess Levin, two leaders at Vanity Fair’s The Hive, whose reporting focuses on politics and technology; Michelle Lee, the editor-in-chief of Allure; Alex Davies, the editor of Wired; and Carolyn Kylstra, the editor-in-chief of Self Magazine, which recently re-focused to a digital-only publishing strategy.

Teen Vogue’s social following has been growing by millions since it increased coverage of politics and women’s issues, according to Condé Nast; additionally, since Vanity Fair’s The Hive launched, that site has seen a 115 percent increase in unique visitors while covering Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley.

Healthyish, which launched in January, saw 54 million social media impressions from its launch efforts. Lee took over Allure in November 2015, and has helped “redefine how we talk about beauty,” according to Drucker Mann.

“These are editors who live and breathe their audience,” said Drucker Mann. “They may not be the names you’re most familiar with from Condé, but you will be soon.”

Those more familiar names, including Vogue’s Anna Wintour, Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter and the New Yorker’s David Remnick have paved the way for the next gen, according to Drucker Mann.

“Anna Wintour put jeans on her first cover of Vogue and made history,” she said. “We have a legacy of risk-taking and a strong ability to keep pushing forward.”

“It’s the world that changes, not each generation,” she said.

The upcoming campaign, Condé’s most ambitious in the past decade, will include print, digital and video both on and off Condé Nast properties.

What’s unique about these editors and these brands, according to Drucker Mann, is how this all developed naturally. There was no one moment when everyone decided together to head into a new frontier, but instead, chose to “be led by our users and audiences to see what they really connect with.”

“Connectability” is more important to Drucker Mann than “viewability.”

“Readers are going to be addicted to what they love,” she said. “These editors aren’t afraid to be bold or be better while trying to serve that audience.”