Who Won at Advertising in Vogue’s September Issue?

Vogue Target September Issue

“For this cultural moment, we set out to develop an idea that was not
only unique to the Target brand but something that could only be done in Vogue.”
-Todd Waterbury, Target’s Chief Creative Officer

Ah, the September issue. It’s a rite of passage each August for all fashion savvy guys and gals. And the bane of existence for mailmen, everywhere. Since I was a young teenager, I looked forward to this issue, originally perplexed by the number of ads I had to flip through to get to actual content. Not that I minded. I came to learn that the advertising in Vogue is just as important as the content itself, and I came to get more excited to see what the fashion brands would unveil each fall. It taught me to understand trends, and begin to identify the in-demand fashion models, themselves.

It would be much later before I understood the real significance of the largest Vogue issue of the year. A wonderful behind-the-scenes look at how the issue comes together can be found in the documentary, The September Issue. 

This year, the magazine is a hefty 832 pages and I dutifully began my journey through the advertisements. What I found was disappointing — what should be the Superbowl of fashion advertising just looked like more of the same. I love a beautiful picture of a models in high fashion as much as the next style junkie, but I want striking and inspiring ads too. This is why the PR person in me really loved Target’s ads.

According to a press release from Target, “Throughout the 20 pages, you’ll see Target apparel, accessories, home goods, grocery essentials and more as inspired by historic, high-fashion photos. Take the oversized pearl necklace from the January 1929 cover, which Target reimagined using volleyballs. Or the April 1918 peacock cover, which we’ve recomposed with towels, draperies, wall décor and a feather duster. Even the eye of the peacock is a surprise—a brass place card holder in the shape of a snail.”

The inspiration behind this spread? According to Todd Waterbury, chief creative officer, Target:“For this cultural moment, we set out to develop an idea that was not only unique to the Target brand but something that could only be done in Vogue. The inspiration came from the incredible images for which Vogue is famous.”

And to add one more layer of smart advertising, Target partnered with Shazam’s new visual recognition technology. All the reader must do is scan the advertisement in their Vogue with their Shazam app and they are taken to digital content from Target. No more QR codes? Thank goodness.

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