Meet the ‘Glamour’ Generation

Women's monthly embraces the millennial woman

Founded in 1939, Glamour has long seen its mission as empowering women, with uplifting stories, tips and advice.

But if today’s women in their 20s and 30s are more likely to have that box checked already, Glamour still wants to be relevant to them. Like much of traditional media, the magazine is eager to show it’s still being read by young people, no matter how much time they may be spending with mobile devices and social media.

Editor in chief Cindi Leive overhauled Glamour's editorial content and design in March, and the magazine is now extending that message to the ad community with a new brand campaign it’s calling Generation Glamour.

Glamour, long referred to as Condé Nast’s cash cow, is one of the industry’s biggest titles with a circulation of 2.5 million, and as such is closely watched as a barometer of industry health. Ad pages declined 3 percent in the first half of the year, but that was against an overall industry slide of 9 percent. Its all-important September issue was down 16 percent in ad pages year over year, albeit versus a record-breaking 2011. Bill Wackermann, evp and publishing director at Condé Nast, with responsibility for Glamour, said the last three issues of the year would each be up compared with a year ago.

The brand campaign effort will kick off Aug. 13 with what Glamour is calling an “upfront,” styled after the TV industry preview of upcoming shows to advertisers. In this case, the programming content will be research Glamour has done on millennials.

The event will include a panel with representatives of Mashable and online financial company LearnVest (underscoring Glamour’s digital savvy) as well as Ogilvy and others. The campaign will culminate in a live event in October featuring up-and-coming celebrities who are deemed to be popular with millennials.

Most notable, the campaign’s visuals, rolling out in September, will spotlight not models but everyday women, using photos uploaded by consumers—all meant to put the magazine’s target audience front and center.

Wackermann said the campaign is all about capturing the voice of the young female consumer.

“We did a ton of research into the millennials when we did the rebranding of Glamour in March,” he said. “Why is everyone changing their nails? It’s about self-expression. Today, whether it’s Rihanna or Lady Gaga, women are interested in constant change, constant expression.”

That woman also apparently is as willing to shop at Target as she is at Nordstrom, with all its implications for potential Glamour advertisers.

Glamour also found millennials also are differentiated by their attitude. “She has a voice that’s very distinct; it’s a voice that’s almost entitlement,” Wackermann said. “She expects it’s going to work out even though she has less money in the bank than her parents did.”

But enough, Wackermann likely hopes, for a subscription to Glamour.