Here’s the thing about successful magazine brands: They have an identity.
You pick up Sports Illustrated and you know you’re getting some quick hits and some nice long form stories. A copy of Rolling Stone will yield intelligent, outraged, liberal commentary and reviews of three-star albums. Vogue is fashion to the max.
Grab an issue of Vanity Fair, and you can expect some high society, some excellent writing, and some informed opinion (in addition to a Kennedy on the cover).
Which leads us, of course, to Comic-Con.
The magazine website posted a video called “V.F. Goes to Comic-Con: The Origin Story.” The short, well-produced movie shows Krista Smith, senior West Coast editor, getting ready for the world’s best geekfest with the help of Comic-Con queen Olivia Munn.
And the spot isn’t bad. Munn is as charming as Smith is (intentionally) clueless.
But the whole thing is just so ridiuclous. This is not what Vanity Fair should be doing. It plays as a thinly veiled attempt to get younger and cooler. Young and cool are two adjectives that people do not associate with the magazine. There’s a reason for that. A good one: VF is, intentionally, neither young nor cool.
VF does what it does very well. What it does well does not include sending a West Coast editor to Comic-Con, even with Olivia Munn.