Condé Nast plans to take on digital agencies

23 April 2010

NEW YORK: Condé Nast, one of the biggest magazine publishers in the US, is now offering a variety of digital creative services to advertisers, even for campaigns that do not include its own websites.

CND Studio, the company's internal creative arm, had previously only worked with marketers that bought up space in magazines like Vanity Fair or Vogue, or on websites like

However, CNS has recently started to undertake these activities on a project basis, thus encroaching on the role traditionally occupied by specialist digital advertising agencies.

Its first major output in this area has taken the form of an online video series on behalf of Kenneth Cole, with content featuring on the fashion house's website, as well as Facebook and YouTube.

"It was really a seamless project. Based on this experience, we would definitely incorporate them into considerations for future projects," said Robert Genovese, vp, marketing and media, Kenneth Cole Productions.

Condé Nast Digital was established just over a year ago, with the goal of driving up the revenues from this aspect of the publisher's operations.

The decision to extend the remit of CND Digital reflects this desire, and the fact that the new media environment is in an almost constant state of flux.

"In the digital world, there are these terms, 'co-opetition,' or 'frenemy,' so you're very used to working in a more transparent way," Drew Schutte, chief revenue officer of Condé Nast Digital, said.

"You're working with people who on another day might be your competition. So the way we saw it, it was an opportunity."

More specifically, he argued that this new strategy built on its existing in-house strengths, and enabled Condé Nast to exploit an obvious gap in its existing business model.

"Last year we were doing over 30 custom programs per quarter, and now we're doing 50," said Schutte.

"Often people were asking us, 'I have this other thing I need you to do.' And we had to pass on it. So we thought, 'Why are we turning them away?'"

As the output developed by CND Studio may ultimately appear on portals owned by one of its rivals, the company has also attempted to promote its own websites to advertisers.

"On our sales side we have done a ton to convince them why our programs will benefit them the most," Schutte said.

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by Warc staff