Condé Nast, Gap in iPad tie-up

08 March 2011

NEW YORK: Condé Nast, the publisher, is partnering with retailer Gap on an innovative programme seeking to generate revenues through Apple's iPad.

Glamour, a Condé Nast print title covering topics such as celebrity gossip, fashion and beauty, is introducing a new reality TV show, Glamour Girls, available solely on the iPad.

The series, initially four episodes in length, follows a Glamour event planner, photographer's agent, and two stylists, and is argued to combine the styles of Mary Tyler Moore and teen drama The Hills.

People watching this material will be able to pause the action and acquire clothing the characters are wearing from Gap's official website.

More specifically, consumers wishing to "Shop the Looks", the term employed by Glamour, can view all the different garments shown on-screen, and buy their favourite.

Discounts and other promotional tools will also be offered to this audience, further encouraging purchase.

"This is cracking the code - finding a way to integrate products organically in the storytelling and actually having it be of value to the reader," William Wackermann, Condé Nast Publications' svp and publishing director, told the New York Times.

"This is giving us a glimpse of what the future may look like."

Alongside marking a pioneering approach to product placement, Glamour can now leverage opportunities simply not viable in print, for editorial and practical reasons.

"The immediacy is instantaneous," Wackermann added. "You want to buy it? Click this."

While Glamour's physical circulation stands at 2.3m issues, its iPad app yielded only 4,600 completed transactions in February, suggesting the series' reach could be somewhat limited.

However, as the iPad's user base generally consists of a highly attractive, affluent and media-savvy demographic, it constitutes a useful testing ground.

Gap has outlined plans to engage in more digital communications, having already made use of various Web 2.0 platforms and mobile geo-location service Foursquare.

Glenn Murphy, Gap's chairman and chief executive officer, stated last month that it would "shift" marketing budgets to remain at the "leading edge" and "break some new ground".

"Some of our money in that pool of total marketing across all four of our brands is going to be redirected to new areas that maybe we have not invested in before," said Murphy.

Although it is difficult to prove the financial payback from such initiatives, connecting with younger shoppers, enhancing loyalty and boosting parallel metrics might be equally significant.

"Sometimes making those investments, you have to balance these returns off. That can be cost effective."

The owner of Old Nay, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta will also continue to emphasise interactive channels.

"You're going to see a lot more in 2011 from our marketing teams going after new customers [and] using new mediums to go after those customers, which is very important to us," said Murphy.

"I don't want to do it just because it feels right or maybe other companies are speaking about it. We want to do it because it's going to actually resonate, it's going to drive the traffic, it's going to grab that loyalty we're looking for."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by Warc staff