SOCIAL MEDIA’S STARS — AND DUDS: Dan Abrams’ research firm represents big companies such as Coca-Cola, General Electric and Weight Watchers, four NBA players and a growing list of luxury brands. And he’s hoping to get a bigger piece of that business when he publishes a new report, “Social Media Guide for Luxury Brands.” “These brands are behind when it comes to social media,” Abrams said. “Some are dipping their toes in, some are doing it with full force. We noticed a lot of bad practices going on.”
This story first appeared in the February 12, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The study, from Abrams Research, “shows how to balance the mystique of exclusivity,” he added. The research reports on the brands that are getting it right (Burberry, Oscar de la Renta, Coach) as well as those that are not, such as Balmain’s Web presence, which is called “bland and uninspiring,” and “more like an amateur blog” than a luxury fashion house’s Web page. The study also scolds Marc Jacobs chief executive officer Robert Duffy for using his personal Twitter account to show risqué pictures of the designer’s after parties. Following criticism, Duffy responded by shutting down his account and, overnight, his Twitter went from “being a heralded example of social media use to being a black mark on the brand,” the study contends. According to the study, this exemplifies the need for a clear set of rules and guidelines for employees and the need for a social media strategy. Said Abrams: “Part of the problem is that luxury brands have been experimenting — some with great success and others with uncertainty — with how they want to get involved. Social media is not the sort of thing you can just throw money into and leave it. Don’t create a Twitter page and let it sit there. It’s better not to have one at all.”
Abrams’ study complements new research from Condé Nast Media Group, which found that luxury consumers spend more time online and purchase more than non-luxury consumers. “These results suggest that luxury brands will want to focus attention on both e-commerce and online branding strategies in order to take advantage of their customers’ behavior,” said Josh Stinchcomb, vice president of digital sales. All of the research was presented today at a breakfast at 4 Times Square, followed by a conversation between Barneys New York’s newly appointed creative director, Dennis Freedman, and Dirk Standen, editor in chief of Style.com.
— Amy Wicks
JOAN RIVERS, UNPLUGGED: One of Joan Rivers’ greatest delights is to make fun of Victoria Beckham. At Lucky’s first-ever blogger conference on Tuesday, the sharp-tongued comedienne explained why. “She is a slut,” Rivers said. “Because she’s stunning, elegant and amazing and I’m so f–king jealous of her 32 Birkin bags.” Rivers provided the lunch entertainment at the conference and handed out advice to young fashion bloggers. At first, Rivers didn’t seem the natural choice for this kind of gig, but she does have nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter and proclaimed that it’s the only place she can say whatever she wants. “Don’t be safe, take the risk,” said Rivers, who also repeatedly plugged her upcoming reality show on the We network and her clothing line for QVC. “I’m wearing Joan Rivers [for QVC] head to toe,” she said. “But not the shoes. The shoes did not do well. I’m wearing Chanel.”
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT: Lawrence Karol sure is taking a tour of Condé Nast magazines. Back in April, the former Gourmet editor was tapped by Stefano Tonchi to become executive managing editor of W. Five months later, Karol left with Tonchi’s blessing to take on a similar role at Architectural Digest. Karol had formerly worked for AD and upon learning that it was getting a new editor and moving its headquarters to New York, he told Tonchi he was interested in going back to his old haunt.
Now word has it that the AD position wasn’t a good fit for Karol and he’s moved on to Lucky as managing editor. Karol did not respond to requests for comment by press time, but a spokeswoman for the magazine confirmed he has been hired. Here’s hoping third time’s a charm.
KISS ME, KATE: Valentine’s Day is a week away, and the team at Love magazine has gotten an early start on the amorous season with a cover that shows Kate Moss locking lips with Lea T, the transsexual model. And why not? It’s the androgyny issue, and there’s a lot more unconventional smooching inside, as well as boy-meets-girl-meets-boy types modeling Gucci, Balenciaga, Chanel and Lanvin.
“Kate was really, really into it, and Lea was, too,” said editor in chief Katie Grand. “I really didn’t think of anyone else for the cover with Lea — it was always going to be Kate.” Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott shot the cover, which is one of three for the magazine’s spring/summer issue.
Grand said she wanted to take something of a lighthearted approach to a potentially weighty subject. “We very much felt like it was not our place to make any political statement,” Grand said. The theme, she added, was a reaction against all of the curves from the past issue. A spokeswoman for Condé Nast U.K. in London said the issue shows advertising revenues and volumes up by more than 30 percent year-over-year. New advertisers include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Bottega Veneta, YSL, Nina Ricci, Michael Kors and French Connection. The other covers feature Lea T alone, and Moss alone. The back cover of the issue shows Justin Bieber, shot by Terry Richardson.
— Samantha Conti
GAYNOR JOINS: Instyle.com has hired Violet Gaynor as senior fashion editor, succeeding Joe Berean, who left late last year for Polo Ralph Lauren. Most recently, Gaynor was a freelancer at T online, and before that, she was senior fashion and accessories editor for elle.com. Right before Gaynor joins the site, instyle.com will launch a Tumblr, based on one of its ongoing features, “We’re Obsessed.” It will launch later this week. — A.W.
MAGAZINE FASHION SEES A DIGITAL FUTURE: Fashion editorial is set to take another step in its march online. Next week will see the launch of the preview of Imagine Fashion, a new digital publication that will showcase fashion films, fashion writing and cultural content for online and mobile platforms — and enable viewers to buy what they see online. The Web site was founded by Amber Gordon, a fashion editor based in New York, after she reworked what was originally an idea for an Imagine Fashion television show into a mobile and online publication. The Web site’s first editorial film has been shot by photographer Francesco Carrozzini and styled by Patti Wilson. It features Elisa Sednaoui, Paz de la Huerta, Poppy Delevigne and Zoe Le Ber, wearing labels such as Prada, Richard Nicoll, Miu Miu and Mark Fast. The film will be screened at a preview at New York’s Bar Basque on Tuesday, while the site also will offer an interactive preview at London’s Hospital Club on Feb. 22 and 23, during London Fashion Week. The site will launch to consumers later this year. While the Web site won’t sell products directly, when viewers watch the commissioned films on the site, they will be able to click on pieces that will take them to different retailers to buy online. “We’re taking fashion editorial and teaming it with the instant gratification of the digital space — that immediate ‘I must have, I can have,’” said Gordon. She added that she also plans for content such as red-carpet coverage to eventually be interactive, so that visitors to the site can buy the dress that they see an actress wearing on the red carpet. And the Web site has been designed so that it automatically recognizes whether it’s being viewed on a computer, iPad or smart phone. Imagine Fashion’s revenue model is based on advertising, and Gordon said the site offers brands integrated ways of advertising within its film player, which takes up most of the Web site’s screen. She added that the site is still finalizing deals with individual advertisers. Gordon is aiming to attract 500,000 unique viewers within the site’s first six months, and anticipates a largely female, fashion- and technologically savvy audience. The site will premiere new fashion films on a monthly basis, while the Web site’s blogs, one written by Godfrey Deeney and the other, a video blog by Casey Spooner and Adam Dugas, will be updated on a weekly basis.
— Nina Jones