Wired was born of the tech boom, but it’s always styled itself as a lifestyle magazine. To that end, it’s branched out into conferences, cultivated fashion and lifestyle advertisers, and even put its name on a handful of limited-edition products that it’s sold in a pop-up store.
Now, in its first big retail foray, Wired is putting its name behind an assortment of gadgets sold at Target. Target stores will feature products picked by Wired editorial staff, like an Adonit stylus for tablets, NuForce earbuds and Olloclip camera lens for the iPhone 5. The products will be displayed in Wired-branded endcaps (the design was overseen and approved by Wired editor in chief Scott Dadich himself) in Target’s 1,784 U.S. retail stores and on Target.com/wired.
Wired will get an undisclosed share of the revenue, but if the history of such deals is a guide, it won’t likely reap a lot of money from the sales of products. It is, though, a way for the Condé Nast brand to further test the retail waters, establish itself with a trendy retailer that’s had partnerships with the likes of Neiman Marcus and Missoni, and get exposed to a huge audience of potential new readers.
“We’re trying to push Wired out and beyond the four conventional walls of how it’s been defined its first 20 years,” said Howard Mittman, vp, publisher of Wired. “The ability to cross-pollinate opens [Target] up to affluent young men, and we get the opportunity to tap into their scale.”
The promotion will last for 12 weeks, just in time for the dads-and-grads season. If it goes well, there’s the potential for it to expand to other shopping seasons. Can Wired-branded products be far behind? Condé Nast has taken a cautious approach to licensing, fully aware that magazines run the risk of tarnishing their brand if they put their name on a product that doesn’t hold up, much less competes with their advertisers’ own products.
Mittman said this partnership is “just the first step” and that Wired products are “certainly something under evaluation.” He added, “We really want to make sure this looks and feels like Wired.”