For $100,000, GQ Magazine’s Most ‘Elite’ Readers Will Promote Your Brand

by / August 25, 2014

A print ad page from Express in GQ's September issue, featuring a reader who belongs to GQ's new program.

A print ad page from Express in GQ’s September issue, featuring a reader who belongs to GQ’s new program.

Here’s the pitch Conde Nast’s GQ magazine is giving marketers: Spend at least $100,000 with us and get access to 57 “elite” GQ readers who will help promote your brand across print and digital. The program, called GQ57, is the magazine’s latest effort to tap digital-ad budgets by enlisting readers, according to Chris Mitchell, VP-publisher at GQ, part of Conde Nast.

The 57 will be tapped to help amplify marketing campaigns through their own social media feeds, by producing custom content for GQ and their own websites, and by appearing in print ads, according to Mr. Mitchell. Four men from the GQ57, for instance, are slated to appear in a custom advertising campaign for retailer Express in GQ’s September issue. The campaign includes print pages as well as an extensive digital component, with an interactive shoppable mosaic, display ad units and video interstitials.

The GQ57 includes Blake Scott, a style blogger with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram; Tyler Stewart, who oversees the popular Tumblr I Wear Cool Socks; and Sabir M. Peele, founder and creative director of the popular blogMen’s Style Pro. (He was also named one of America’s best-dressed real men by GQ rival Esquire.)

Asked whether the GQ57’s bloggers will disclose the promotional nature of their work, a spokeswoman for GQ said they will be transparent about collaborating with GQ and its advertiser.

Most magazines still draw the bulk of their ad revenue from print, and GQ is no exception, drawing just 15% of ad revenue from digital.

But spending on print ads in magazines is expected to decline 4% to $12.8 billion this year, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report. It will fall to $9.3 billion by 2018, the report said. Magazines’ digital ad revenue is forecasted to climb 22.4% to $3.9 billion this year and reach $7.6 billion by 2018.

Overall digital ad spending is projected to grow 66% to $194 billion in 2018. Magazine publishers are, for the most part, looking to attract digital budgets.

GQ has been trying to capitalize on its digital audience in earnest since January 2013, when it started GQ Insider, an online community of readers that work with advertisers on consumer research and, to a lesser extent, marketing campaigns with brands like Gap and Unilever. Last year, GQ Insider helped attract $5 million in additional ad revenue to the magazine, according to Mr. Mitchell

by Michael Sebastian at

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