MEN GIVING BACK: While charity-based events are a hallmark of women’s magazines, few men’s titles champion giving back as part of their brand missions. But GQ this fall rolled out its third iteration of The Gentleman’s Fund, which is on track to raise $2.5 million for various charities. The fund partners with several nonprofits each year and recognizes celebrity ambassadors who participate with each cause. This year’s charitable celebs include Ashton Kutcher, who is working with UNICEF; Adrian Grenier and OCEANA; Josh Duhamel, who is the ambassador for the Pat Tillman Foundation, and Mark Wahlberg, who is participating with his own foundation for the second year running. The program also will honor one notable everyday guy, chosen by GQ readers, who’s making a difference as part of its “Better Man, Better World” search. “The important part of being a gentleman is social activism,” said GQ publisher Pete Hunsinger. “As much as you want a good suit, you want to help others.”
Aside from charity, the program has helped GQ create a marketing platform that extends its story line beyond fashion and deepens relationships with advertisers, especially as cause marketing is one of the few growing segments of advertising. According to research firm IEG, cause-based marketing will increase 2 percent this year, to $1.55 billion. Gillette, for example, found the GQ program’s combination of style and substance intriguing. “You see a fair amount of sports and macho guys promotions, but I think this one sets a bar for men to step out and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to give back,’” said Damon Jones, the brand’s global communications director. The Gentleman’s Fund also helped drive an exclusive partnership between HP and GQ, with the tech brand creating a six-page exclusive insert in the magazine in which Kutcher will design a custom magazine using HP software and technology. Additional program sponsors include Nautica and Ketel One vodka, who is new to the fold this year. — Stephanie D. Smith
This story first appeared in the October 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
TOO META PHYSICAL?: In New York magazine contributing editor Michael Idov’s recent novel, “Ground Up,” he skewers the New York media party circuit, where “the rich didn’t feel truly rich if poor writers didn’t write about them, so their only option was to start letting poor writers into the right parties.” So it was that at an Accompanied Literary Society event for the book at Hotel Griffou on Sunday, life imitated art. Idov half-shamefacedly acknowledged his choice of excerpt to read — about a cafe performance complete with scatological lyrics — was “a bit meta.”
Per “Ground Up”: “The local money and information elites…operated on a circular system of favors that had virtually eliminated the need for cash. Every party had corporate sponsorship predicated on a high-profile guest’s appearance, and a high-profile guest whose appearance was paid for by the corporate sponsorship. After a year here, I could walk into the buzziest just-opened bar, scan the crowd, and count people who actually paid for their drinks on one hand. The truly broke subsisted on gallery-opening cheese cubes.”
On Sunday night, La Colombe and Cabana cachaça supplied the drinks, and Idov gave up the stage to Rory Guinness and Rebecca Schiffman. (The former favored Irish ballads, the latter rhymed using the names of antidepressants and, according to The New York Observer, has a brisk business in selling her paintings of her genitalia.)
Another segment of the crowd had come to herald the latest issue of Snob (a Russian-language magazine, something like a Visionaire-Monocle hybrid). Idov had a story in it about the literary history of Manhattan’s Russian Samovar restaurant, illustrated by sketches the noted illustrator Peter Arkle had made at Idov’s own book party there. Guests gathered around to identify themselves and familiar media figures like Page Six’s Neel Shah and blogger Emily Gould. In an extra layer of meta — or in the interest of full disclosure — this reporter’s tweet on the Russian Samovar was quoted therein. — Irin Carmon