BLACKBOOK BACK IN PRINT: BlackBook Magazine is ready to reemerge on newsstands on Thursday in a biannual format under founder and editorial and creative director Evanly Schindler. The magazine was last printed under its previous owner, Vibe Media, in summer 2013. That fall, Schindler partnered with Jon Bond, cofounder of advertising agency Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, to buy the magazine. Since then, the duo has focused on BlackBook’s Web site, Bbook.com, to deliver content that spoke to what the magazine had become known for, namely event-driven guides and cultural happenings.
With the relaunch of the magazine, Schindler said he wants to return to the original intent of the title — in-depth “idea-based” culture and lifestyle coverage. He pointed to the magazine’s somewhat provocative cover, which portrays Pope Francis blessing the love of an interracial lesbian couple that pairs with the feature entitled “The Pope Who Changed the World” by James Carroll. (BlackBook staff shot the couple, who are models, in London. The magazine used a computer-generated image of Pope Francis blessing them in post-production.)
The issue also includes a story on James Franco on working with first-time director Justin Kelly written by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, as well as Janet Mock’s piece “Black Like Me: How Shonda Rhimes Changed the World.” Other stories include Tilda Swinton in conversation with Chuck Close; Morgan Spurlock on Shake Shack; Jill Soloway on putting Amazon on the studio map, and Andrew Durbin on the notion of inherited celebrity.
“There are subjects that people want to be a part of,” Schindler said, referring to the features interspersed in the 196-page issue. “One of the triggers is the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community in our world of Manhattan, L.A., Paris. For the cover, the Pope does not accept [the community] but he embraces it. He’s almost more of a Gandhi-esque figure than a pope. He’s speaking to the cultural zeitgeist.”
In order to facilitate that conversation with the zeitgeist, BlackBook has partnered with Hewlett Packard, which helped fund the print relaunch through a native advertising campaign for its Sprout platform. Sprout melds scanning and projection technology to create a 3-D experience for designers. BlackBook showcased the use of Sprout for the making of a slate of the issue’s articles on its site. HP only had one print ad unit in the magazine, which included advertisers such as Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, La Mer, Tom Ford Fragrance, David Yurman, Coach, Cole Haan, H&M, J. Crew, Cadillac, Lexus, Cointreau and Grey Goose.
Schindler wasn’t bothered by the use of native to usher in the print issue — in fact, he said it’s the way print magazines will likely all head. “The native model is really the way print publishing is going, more and more, you’re going to see these partnerships,” he offered. “It’s no longer the brand wants this and the editorial integrity is here. They [HP] let us do what we want. The cover was edgy and they were cool with it.”
Sponsored content is also integrated into Bbook.com’s content, such as its guides, which are all labeled as such. “The old way of doing it [native] was to hide it. The only way to do it in the new market is to embrace it,” he said. “I would not be surprised if the bigger publications took on one big sponsor.”