While one doesn’t necessarily look to Glamour magazine for unwavering journalistic integrity, the December issues of that and 13 other Conde Nast titles are playing a dangerous game with the traditional wall between advertising and editorial. (And that’s to say nothing about what that game’s doing to their covers.)
Titles including Allure, Wired, Golf Digest and Vanity Fair all feature glossy, full-page faux covers attached to the real covers that preview their contents using visual elements from Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. Nowhere on the covers is it stated that these covers are paid advertisements for Windows 8.
That’s because they’re not, according to Conde Nast; Microsoft’s paid ads elsewhere in the magazines are not related to the covers. Instead, they are meant to tout Windows 8-related content apps just launched by the publisher that feature digital versions of their magazine content in “best of” formats. As Microsoft ad buyer Starcom MediaVest Group told AdAge, the Conde Nast arrangement is a “groundbreaking multifaceted paid program with nonpaid elements.”
Take a good look at the Glamour cover above and think about how YOU would design a cover to match the wonky visuals of Microsoft or other, equally aesthetically challenged companies.