Conde Nast Traveler Is ‘Redefining’ Its Motto ‘Truth In Travel’

A new tagline will require a whole new branding message.

Details are still TBD, but Conde Nast Traveler is reportedly in the midst of a tagline revamp, going from “Truth In Travel” to perhaps “Taste In Travel.” The former has been the mag’s tagline for 26 years, since its beginnings.

“I can tell you that Truth in Travel will always be an essential part of our DNA,” a spokesperson told CapitalNewYork. “We will just be redefining what it means.”

Dangerous proposition to try and redefine “truth.” Either it’s a fact or it’s not, and anything else verges into that old Stephen Colbert idea of truthiness. For Traveler, the tagline change might have something to do with cost-cutting measures. Where the magazine previously didn’t accept discounts or special treatment at the destinations they were headed to, now it could start accepting “media rates.”

CapitalNewYork posted the “Truth In Travel” mission statement, which includes the following phrase:

The magazine’s editors and reporters pay the same prices you do and travel unannounced, except in rare cases where it’s impossible to do so. This ensures that we experience travel the way you do — with no special recognition, treatment or obligations — and are free to report our findings honestly, with no conflict of interest or ulterior motives.

Not only is the tagline changing, but there have been lots of changes on the editorial team, which throws into question everything about the way the magazine operates, and what its going to be going forward.

If the acceptance of these media rates really is happening, there’s going to have to be a whole new explanation of the magazine’s journalistic standards and transparency about what sort of discounts or other perks reporters are allowed to accept. For the die hard reader who depended on this rare level of objectivity, coming to grips with this new policy will take lots of detail.

In that explanation, the editorial team is also going to have to discuss how the content will continue to be without reproach. That’s a conversation they’re also going to have to have with the hotels and other travel destination contacts who think that offering up favors will yield positive coverage.

So if there is a new tagline in the works, it means there’s a lot more that also has to be in the works. A brand can change things, but it can’t be done without adjusting and realigning many other aspects of the business.

Besides all that, I’m curious what “Taste In Travel” means.