Online Advertising Currently In Style with Fashion Marketers

It’s Fashion Week in New York, the annual runway event when all the major fashion houses display their spring collections for buyers and the media. While the industry has tended to ignore online vehicles in favor of print, AdAge, the WSJ and the NYT have articles exploring how fashion-related content and advertising seem to be suddenly trending to the web more and more:

Ad Age: When it comes to fashion marketers and online spending, the usual flow of ad dollars migrating from print to the web has so far been reversed. In 2001, the share of fashion marketing budgets allocated to online display ads was 2.9 percent; in 2006, that slice of the fashion category devoted to online was 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, print took 75 percent of ad dollars in the category last year, versus 68 percent in 2001. But there are a number of unlikely publishers who seem to believe that things are about to change, as The Wall Street Journal (NYSE: DJ) and Fortune (NYSE: TWX) are gearing up efforts to bring in online fashion ad dollars. And, while Conde Nast titles like Style.com are trying to remain ahead of digital upstarts like Fashionista, the industry is waiting for the December launch of the site for T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Seth Rogin, VP for advertising at the NYT (NYSE: NYT), says the view of the new channel is right in line with other Times’ digital moves: “This isn’t necessarily about converting print advertisers to digital. It’s about expanding the audience in the same way that The New York Times Online has very low duplication with the print product.”

WSJ: Many business-related social nets try to strive for an air of exclusivity. One fashion industry social net ModelsHotel, not only enforces that sense of exclusivity with the kind of strictness usually associated with the late night habitues of the beautiful, the virtual velvet ropes are the site’s main lure to advertisers. ModelsHotel was launched last year by Jesper Lannung, a part-time model and 25-year-old would be web impresario. The site, which Lannung claims has turned away roughly half of the 2,000 users who attempted to sign up, can count luxury marketers such as Heatherette, Diesel jeans and upscale jeweler Piaget as its sponsors. And, while it hopes to raise $1.5 million, ModelsHotel is looking beyond the circle of fashion marketers for advertising. Despite the lack of reach of such sites, the ability to target such an elite level of trendsetters is sometimes enough to bring in marketing dollars, said Glam Media CEO Samir Arora; fashion and beauty are part of the ad net’s focus.

NYT: Despite trying to always seem cutting edge, luxury marketers tend to be very traditional when it comes to marketing — that accounts for an increased reliance on print versus the web over the past few years. But now, high-end marketers like Chanel are beginning to open up to new media. For its Coco Mademoiselle perfume line, Chanel has begun running ads on sites like eonline.com, instyle.com, nymag.com and nytimes.com. It’s also taken up search-engine marketing on Google and Yahoo, created a special website called Mademoiselle-forever.com, featuring an array of online video and a virtual tour of the Paris apartment of the designer Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, and plans to partner with fashion blogs Beauty Addict, Blogdorf Goodman and Kristopher Dukes.

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