The New Yorker Celebrates 90 Years With an Anniversary Issue and Amazon Series

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It's been a big few days for The New Yorker, which kicked off the week with a blowout double issue celebrating its 90th anniversary and, earlier today, announced the official pick-up of its new Amazon series, The New Yorker Presents.

The anniversary issue, currently on newsstands, features a record nine covers, plenty of special editorial content and a slew of custom ads. 

In honor of its milestone birthday, the magazine asked nine New Yorker artists, including Roz Chast, Carter Goodrich and Barry Blitt, to create their own interpretations of the magazine's famous monocle-wearing mascot, Eustace Tilley. Every anniversary issue will feature three of the resulting images as a triple cover, sponsored by Rolex.

Inside the issue, readers will find special anniversary-themed content like “Snaps,” a collection of essays about each of the past nine decades by writers including editor in chief David Remnick and recent National Magazine Award winner Roger Angell. There's also headline-generating fare such as a profile of Apple’s notoriously press-shy design chief Johnny Ive by Ian Parker; a profile of comedians Key and Peele by Zadie Smith; and new fiction from Haruki Murakami.

The editorial team wasn't alone in going all-out for the anniversary. “An issue like this obviously taps into our creativity editorially, but also on the business side,” said vp, publisher Lisa Hughes. Her team undertook its own massive project to build advertiser awareness around the issue’s launch, which involved shooting video interviews with New Yorker writers, compiling facts from the magazine’s history and, most impressively, gathering vintage ads from New Yorker archives to build personalized retrospectives for 90 of the magazine’s longtime advertisers.

“People just flipped out when we showed their ads to them because, in many cases, they don't have this archive themselves,” said Hughes. “It was interesting from their standpoint to see how their brands had evolved, where they got it right, where they felt they got it wrong.”

The magazine’s in-house creative studio worked with several advertisers on custom multiplatform campaigns for the issue. They include Bermuda, whose campaign features art inspired by Saul Steinberg’s famous 1976 New Yorker cover, View of the World from 9th Avenue; HSBC, which has an insert spotlighting entrepreneurs; and Mexico, which collaborated with the magazine on a timeline celebrating 90 years of Mexican culture.

Other advertisers with campaigns tied to the anniversary include Rolex, which is debuting its new “Rolex Way” campaign via a cover sponsorship and mobile video ads, and Louis Vuitton, whose print ad features an Art Deco cuff in homage to The New Yorker’s 1925 debut.

Overall, the issue was a hit with advertisers—print ad pages are up 173 percent over last year’s anniversary issue, said Hughes, while February ad revenue for is expected to increase 112 percent year over year. And in anticipation of it being an equally big hit with readers, The New Yorker increased its newsstand distribution by 20 percent this week.

There was yet another reason for the magazine to celebrate today. Amazon's announcement that The New Yorker Presents, a half-hour docu-series co-produced by Condé Nast Entertainment, had been officially picked up for a full season. Amazon released a single test episode of the show last month as part of its pilot season, which allows viewers to vote on which shows they'd like to see greenlit. Within a month, the test episode, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, had garnered more than 1,000 reviews and an average rating of four and a half stars.

Future episodes, which include "new segments that come from noted filmmakers, star talent and New Yorker writers," will premiere later this year or in 2016, according to Amazon.

Until then, take a look at the current episode, as well as the magazine's nine anniversary covers below.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.