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OH, THAT SILVER SCREEN: With a new editor and publisher, Condé Nast Traveler is out shopping a new version of itself. There’s a new advertising campaign — estimated budget: $1.5 million — that stresses the sex appeal of travel and is supposed to appeal to affluent jet-setters. The other wrinkle in this marketing effort is an international film festival that will make its debut next year, over three days in February, under the Traveler banner.
Other magazines have woken up to the benefits of associating with the entertainment industry and their various signature events — Vanity Fair is closely linked not just to the Academy Awards but to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
Bill Wackermann, the new publisher of Traveler, reasoned a festival revolving around international film dovetailed with the message he’s selling advertisers and readers.
“The way we’re approaching it through foreign language already prescreens a certain audience, a certain level of appreciation and a certain consumer,” he said.
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One of the gimmicks of the festival is to hand 24 well-known personalities, or “tastemakers” in marketing speak, a camera to record a short, three to five minute video over 24 hours.
“If you’re Ireland and you want to promote tourism, I can bring this amazing folk singer, and I’m going to send him to Ireland for three days to capture his Ireland,” Wackermann said. “It shows that for Traveler our position is to be the ultimate filter for the world’s best tastemakers.”
Like any platform event, Traveler will charge tickets for admission to the actual screenings of the films, which will include features, studio-distributed and independents, as well as short films. In the style of The New Yorker Festival, there will also be various panels and round-tables.
Because this is a marketing program, the edit staff won’t be involved in the curation of the lineup, though an “advisory board,” including personalities and executives in the film business, has been retained to select the slate.
The new advertising campaign rolled out in the October issues of several Condé magazines, and Wackermann drove the messaging home with a party for advertisers and clients last week that doubled as his arrival as Traveler publisher.