Primer: Ex-marie claire team launch new digital destination

• Millennially-minded women’s publishing venture will give away profits

A new women’s digital destination has launched with an ambition to deliver 50% of profits to NGOs that help women in need.

Part of a new movement of socially-conscious businesses, Primer is aimed at millennially-minded women.

The site is promising to publish a “thought-provoking and stylish mix of feature stories, beauty and fashion, with a trusted and inclusive voice”.

The site’s co-founders are Felicity Robinson, a former deputy editor of marie claire, and Anna Saunders, who last year left her role as executive editor of marie claire and digital content manager, fashion and beauty, at Pacific Magazines. Saunders has also worked in senior positions for British marie claire and London’s Sunday Telegraph magazine, Stella. Anne-Marie Cheney, former head of fashion and beauty at Pacific Magazines, has worked on the commercial side of the business in an advisory role.

Sydney agency Smack Bang created the site, and launch contributors include Lucy Adams (ex beauty director marie claire), travel influencer Georgia Hopkins, fashion journalist Clare Press, and journalists Clementine Ford and Anna Murphy (fashion director of London’s The Times).

And get ready for this editorial shocker – there will be no celebrity gossip! Plus every shopping story will include ethical or sustainable options.

“We felt there was a gap in the market for smart and considered features that both entertained and enriched, as well as fun and informed fashion and beauty,” said Saunders.

The founders describe Primer, with its philanthropic focus, as a “purpose-driven media business”, with Robinson adding: “Women’s empowerment has always been important to us, and we were determined to adopt a business model that enabled us to help women in a real, tangible way.”

As to who is funding the venture, Saunders told Mediaweek: “In the initial stages, ourselves. However, we approached advertisers very early on – before the site was developed – to determine proof of concept and financial viability. Fortunately we had an excellent reception from advertisers.”

Saunders pointed to research showing millennials care deeply about making a difference, and that this affects which brands they interact with. “There’s little doubt that we’re in the midst of a ‘global ethical awakening’, where millennials are using their voices and their wallets to help shape the world they want to live in.”

In its first year, Primer will support the Women And Girls’ Emergency Centre in Sydney, and the Against Malaria Foundation, which distributes mosquito nets. Globally, malaria is the number one killer of pregnant women.

Saunders: “We have a number of premium luxury advertisers signed on that will be unveiled over the next quarter. We’re really excited to launch with support from Dermalogica, Kate Spade and Volkswagen first up.”

Primer is working with brands to create content-led solutions to engage their audience. “We understand that consumers today want to support businesses whose values align with theirs, including the media they consume. Brands that align with Primer will benefit from the halo effect of investing in a media site that truly cares,” said Cheney. As well as post-campaign reporting, Primer will also report back to clients the annual social impact of their investment.

Saunders said revenue would be generated by native and integrated editorial. “We felt that there was an opportunity to create high-calibre sponsored content for clients. Banner ads are a very small part of the mix, and we aren’t looking at donations. In time, we’ll be launching community-led brand extensions like events.”

The team are setting a cracking pace, telling Mediaweek they have set a target of the end of 2019 to deliver funds to their nominated NGOs.

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Top Photo: Primer’s Anna Saunders and Felicity Robinson

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