The latest issue of Mindfood Style hit the shelves this week, featuring 240 glossy pages of luxury fashion themed editorial and advertorial. We speak to editor in chief Michael McHugh about the market for international luxury brands in New Zealand and why magazine ads still work.
While the 240 pages falls short of the debut issue in October 2014, which featured 308 pages, this issue is the first to include a Prada advert. In fact, it is the first time Prada has advertised in a local magazine, with it sitting alongside other double page spreads for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Rolex.
The same brands will also be spread across style.co.nz, which has unveiled its new look in time for the latest issue. While the biannual magazine is on the shelf for six months, McHugh says the team is curating content every day for the website including both editorial and video.
Those brands choosing to advertise in digital platforms as well as in the magazine are delivering what McHugh describes as a “360-degree experience”. He says luxury brands are following the trend of e-commerce websites, meaning digital ads are as important as ever.
As well as directing people to the brand's website, digital ads also open up the opportunity of a new audience, with McHugh saying there are differences in the website's and magazine's readers.
“When you go to a website, or a Facebook page, you are probably looking at that at a different time of day, and probably looking for slightly different information,” he says. “The time you sit with a magazine is very different, you’ve got more time, are a bit more the relaxed, and it might be during your lunch hour at work or it might be during the weekend.”
The importance of engaging with consumers across a range of touchpoints certainly plays a major part in the strategic decision by major luxury brands to invest in traditional advertising. And this isn't limited to the fashion industry. Apple, for instance, continues to invest in high-budget campaigns for major product launches, rolling out content across television and online video channels.
What this shows is that many luxury brands haven't fallen for broad-sweeping statements proclaiming the death of TV or magazines. They instead see value in what traditional channels alongside digital. It's not a case of one or the other, but rather a combination of any channels capable of reaching the target consumers.
And although ads are usually seen as annoyance, detracting from the experience the consumer actually wants, McHugh says this isn't the case with a premium magazine. Instead, he says, the advertising adds as much to the reader’s experience as the editorial does because both are similar in showing the new season collections.
“People are very interested in that, so they are just as keen to see what the new season bag or shoe or clothing is from Dior or Gucci as they are in the editorial take and what we are recommending and how we have curated that,” he says.
Luxury brands are also drawn to Mindfood by the core reader, which McHugh describes as having disposable income and who can afford designer brands. They also live in an economy that can support the luxury brands, as evidenced by the introduction of Prada and Dior to New Zealand in the last two years, as well as the recent Chanel store and the soon to arrive Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear store and Tiffany & Co.
However, it’s not just about the international brands, with McHugh describing the New Zealand consumer as a “hybrid” who might buy an international designer handbag or shoe and also a piece from a middle market New Zealand designer.
In keeping with this, McHugh says Mindfood Style includes a combination of local and international content, which starts on the front page with a New Zealand model wearing Gucci.
The cover also reads “From Paris to Piha” which points out a photo shoot at Piha featuring the latest Louis Vuitton collection from Paris. McHugh says Jane Campion brought the beauty of the beach to the world’s attention with The Piano and it’s the perfect stage to showcase fashion. “It’s waving a very proud Kiwi flag with and extraordinary design and luxury fashion brand like Louis Vuitton.”
There is also a shoot set in the Auckland Theatre Company with a supporting story about its new home, which fits into Mindfood's goal of championing cultural aspects of the country.
However, McHugh adds that the international photo shoots are just as important as the local ones, and this issue includes a shoot set in Samoa, while a previous issue was shot in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s a combination of both local and international and that is our audience and what they appreciate. And it’s a really nice lucrative audience, which we are delivering to those local and international designers.”