Reading about the ubiquity of the New Yorker tote recently got me thinking about the rise of media branded merch.
The New Yorker has just expanded its merch line, allowing its cultured readership to outwardly express their taste and identity. As traditional magazine sales and ad revenues decline, reinforcing the ‘brand’ is a commercial savvy move for media titles. In a timely plot twist, it also effectively lets the reader advertise the magazine, instead of the magazine selling advertising to its readers. “The New Yorker knows that it is now a brand, that it represents a cross-section of a very specific, cultured, informed, democratic public, who knows who they are (or aspires to be) and loves to show it off,” observes NSS Magazine.
In a similar vein, the New York Times has been enjoying its elevated style status, with its logo and ad campaigns being co-opted in recent years by the likes of Etudes and Sacai as part of official collaborations. It reminded me of my 20-something year-old New York Herald Tribune tee. A riff on the cinematic classic worn by Jean Seberg in A Bout de Souffle (top), the combo of gothic nameplate typography and trusted legacy journalism seem particularly resonant right now. (You can actually buy an official copy here, among a variety of NYT-branded fare.)
Some other media brands that have good merch: Monocle, IDEA Books (it kind of counts) and The London Review of Books*, which sells not only a number of chic book bags but branded chocolate and this cool enamel pin too.
*As I’m wont to do, I was diverted down a Google tunnel while researching links and found this revealing article on the LRB from 2014. The business model is most fascinating!
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: To come, NSS, New York Times
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