Content brand of the week: Nowness, the editorially independent magazine for luxury lovers


Ah, I think you’ve made a mistake. You mean Now magazine – home of all things Miley, Towie and Selfie.

I’m afraid not. Nowness is a distinct, and decidedly different publication created by the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) group – which should give you an idea of the sort of consumer the mag is aimed at.

So you’re telling me there are no articles written by failed Apprenticeness candidate Katie Hopkins?

Exactly. Think a bit more Karl Lagerfeld, a bit less Kerry Katona.

LVMH isn’t the first premium fashion or lifestyle brand to do content though. What’s so special about Nowness?

While you’re right that consumer familiarity with and openness to the fashion press makes it easier for fashion brands to put out content that is both relevant and good quality than, say lawnmower manufacturers, what is so impressive about Nowness is its editorial independence. If you weren’t looking for it, you might not even realise it was owned by a brand.

Isn’t that a bit of an own goal in branded contentness?

No, not at all. It’s certainly brave, but we think it works. Compare Nowness with Fred Perry Subculture, which is clearly stamped with the brand name and logo at every opportunity (including the site’s URL) and you begin to realise just what a powerful (and we admit potentially risky) decision it is to give your content officers free reign. But also how effective that can be.

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The overt presence of a brand can in some cases feel pressuring to the consumer, in the same way we get uncomfortable in a store when the sales assistant hovers too closely. So it’s nice once in a while to be left to one’s own devices and get fully immersed in the world of Nowness.

That’s all very Zen-ness, what exactly have you been ‘immersing yourself’ in?

Anything from surf films to mountain climbing, high-fashion to table tennis. The Nowness content mix is a broad one – tabs on the site point users to content under the following headings: Art, Beauty, Culture, Design, Fashion, Gastronomy, Music, Sports and Travel. Effectively covering off all of human experience in nine simple website sections.

Yikes! Creating all that content must be costlyness, especially if Louis Vuitton isn’t monetising the site?

Ah, if you haven’t learned by now you never will, when you can’t create, curate! Nowness features just one piece of content a day, and it’s almost always sourced from outside the LVMH stable. The only requirement is it fits within one of the aforementioned categories. Occasionally the site will feature a film that has been ‘created in partnership’ with Louis Vuitton or one of the company’s other brands, but there’s no product hyping or sense of stoogery.

How refreshing! Has this hands-off approach been a success-ness?

Nowness won the Webby award for Best Fashion Site in its first year then more recently was awarded Best Lifestyle Site at the 2013 Lovies (the Webbys’ European equivalent). The mag has also been instrumental in positioning LVMH brands in China and Japan, seen as an extremely important expansion market for premium marques, as the spending power and appetite for luxury goods of Chinese consumers in particular continues to grow. The future certainly looks bright for Nowness.

And they managed all this without a single story about Katie Price’s love life. Amazingness!

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Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media.

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