IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON…: But a very profitable one. Kim Kardashian drew some major traffic to Paper Magazine’s Web site since the almost cartoonish photo shoot by Jean-Paul Goude was posted Wednesday. For those few (and perhaps lucky) souls not in the know, Paper’s Winter 2014 issue features nude photos of Kardashian that are part of a larger portfolio on Internet stars who create viral content that “break the Internet.”
Paper’s Kardashian shoot nearly did just that. Five million unique visitors flooded the magazine’s site in the first 30 hours of the spread’s posting, according to Paper’s chief creative officer Drew Elliott, who estimated that the numbers were likely higher.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We believe we have had more visitors but Google Analytics is down,” said Elliott, who pointed to significant traffic as the reason. “So we’ve literally broken the Internet.”
Well, not really.
Elliott explained that Google Analytics stopped working late Wednesday night — hours after the images went live.
“They are resolving the issue,” he offered. “We knew it would be large, but in no way did we think it would be that large.” (He was talking about the traffic, not Kardashian’s assets.)
The spawning of Kardashian memes and the still trending #BreakTheInternet tag on Twitter, however, did surprise the creative director. Another thing that surprised Elliott was the fact that Paper hasn’t even hit newsstands yet, and its subscribers are already selling their copies on eBay. The issue hits stands on Nov. 19 and will likely sell out, he noted — even though it costs $10, not the usual $5, since it is a double issue.
Although he did not say how many copies were being printed in total, Elliott noted that Paper has printed about 35,000 extra ones, “a portion will be on sale on the Web site, a portion at newsstand,” Elliott said. The nude cover is for subscribers only and was already selling on eBay for around $50.
Paper will get a little more juice out of the issue in the coming weeks at Art Basel Miami in early December when it hosts a dinner and special event there. Kardashian is slated to attend, along with other contributors.
The public’s fascination with Kardashian is hardly new, and neither is the reality star’s penchant for exhibitionism. In magazine form, Kardashian appeared in a 2011 issue of W, showing her backside, which was covered by metallic paint. Four years earlier, she’d posed nude for Playboy. WWD reached out to Kardashian, but was told she was traveling and could not comment.
For that, Elliott filled in the blanks, noting that he and Paper editorial director Mickey Boardman wanted to explore the topic of the Internet and its viral quality. They immediately thought of Kardashian, whom they had featured before. Inspired by an old Goude photo, they approached the photographer and talked about re-creating it and developing a feature with Kardashian. She signed on and agreed to be shot during Paris Fashion Week nearly two months ago, at a soundstage outside of the French capital.
“She’s an amazing force of celebrity. She was super game to participate in it, the whole thing,” Elliott said of Kardashian.
For those wondering, Paper insists that Kardashian’s body was not Photoshopped.