Iconic fashion and lifestyle magazine Harper’s Bazaar has been a luxury fashion destination for women in Australia for over two decades. With growth up +19.9% on the year in readership – which is their highest result since December 2014 – the title remains popular in the magazine market, sharing stories that spark discussion and challenge perspectives. Editor-in-chief Eugenie Kelly and digital brand and content director Lorna Gray spoke to Mediaweek about what differentiates the title from similar brands; how they go about their advertising; and upcoming campaigns in the beauty, fashion and health space.
Kelly revealed that Harper’s Bazaar has always been about escapism and unapologetic luxury. “That’s the defining factor that sets us apart from other fashion titles,” said Kelly.
“I also believe the content we create has personality. Our stories are designed to spark discussion – whether it’s a viewpoint on why the word ‘badass’ isn’t doing feminism favours right now; or why splashy jungle prints are suddenly big news in fashion.
“Readers want to see things looked at in a different way. Bazaar is beautiful, but she’s also smart and funny. She doesn’t take herself too seriously.”
Kelly mentioned that in the print edition their annual sustainability and conservation specials are really resonating with readers right now based on the feedback they are receiving. “Our recent December issue was predominantly shot around the Whitsundays to create this ‘Paradise Lost’ concept and evoke memories of the iconic Australian summer. We shoot all around the world, but when we capture the beauty of our own backyard it really strikes an emotional chord.”
Kelly described the Bazaar reader as smart, informed and a lover of style and quality – someone who knows their brands. “The average age is 34-years-old, so that’s older than Vogue and Elle, but she is younger than an InStyle or marie claire reader. She’s a heavy social media user and twice as likely as the average 25-49-year-old to be on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on.”
The brand’s luxury advertisers invest in the best talent, stylists and photographers when creating their advertising imagery. Kelly said: “This means most of the time the advertising flows seamlessly and complements the editorial content we are creating. We are seeing an increase in motor advertising which is fantastic which I attribute to the recent introduction of a regular editorial motoring page. Our readers aren’t just obsessed with luxury fashion: it’s the whole lifestyle.”
A recent highlight for the brand was launching a successful two-day beauty festival in September 2019 held at Sydney’s Carriageworks, which Kelly said they plan to host again on a larger scale in September 2020. “The Beauty Bazaar is where women of all ages flock to hear about the latest trends and get expert advice, indulge in one-of-a-kind treatments and discover the buzziest new products,” she said.
“Think two days of elaborate installations, endless Instagrammable moments and a program jam-packed with panel discussions, where readers can meet everyone from Bazaar cover stars to beauty influencers turned entrepreneurs. Readers want to interact with the brand and have that immersive experience and we can offer that through beauty.”
Gray commented on upcoming campaigns in the beauty/fashion/health space and spoke further on their exciting beauty festival. “We’re very busy at the moment gearing up for VAMFF and MBFW, and then we’ll be focussed on the Beauty Bazaar which is Bauer’s first major consumer ticketed event,” said Gray.
“The Beauty Bazaar is the perfect example of the 360 approach in action as we took the strength of the Harper’s Bazaar brand beyond print and digital into a bricks-and-mortar event. In its second year, the event will still be powered by Bazaar but we’ll be operating at an enterprise level within the entire Bauer network, leveraging the strength of strategic brands.”
Kelly revealed that one of the highlights on their editorial calendar is the August issue: Visionary Women. She said to celebrate the launch of this issue, they’ll be holding a large special reader event where a panel of highly accomplished women from the worlds of politics, media, sport and the arts will share their experiences. “We also plan on expanding the Bazaar Man special (our October 2020 issue) as it was so well received by both advertisers and readers, along with Bazaar Brides (also October).
“Philanthropy-wise we also plan to support an organisation associated with animal conservation – it’s a little premature to reveal our plans yet, but needless to say, we will be hosting a series of events for them throughout 2020.”
Gray also commented on plans for the brand in 2020. “This is going to be a huge year for the fashion, beauty and health categories. Bazaar has seen tremendous audience growth in the past year, both in traffic and social media, so we’ll be looking to increase and diversify even further.
“We’ve got great traction on IGTV serialised content — for Bazaar, that’s in the form of Fashion Retrospective and Everyday Face — so we’ll continue to focus our attention in this space. Bazaar is such an iconic and established luxury brand but we’re constantly looking for ways to reach new audiences and evolve the brand’s digital authority while continuing to build commercial innovation opportunities.”