May 5, 2020
Conde Nast’s Architectural Digest, the venerable shelter magazine that’s celebrating its 100th birthday this year, is today rolling out a relaunch of its Clever digital brand, in hopes of reaching a young, design-savvy audience, Advertising Age reports.
Architectural Digest first launched Clever in October 2017 as a dedicated digital brand for 18- to 34-year-olds (versus the over-50 demographic that follows the main brand). The point was to leverage the magazine’s expertise and reputation to speak to a younger, design-savvy audience that might not be quite ready to use the world-class (and pricey) architects and designers whose work dominates the pages of the print mothership.
Clever’s editorial mission is about sharing “real-life design advice that’s both practical and inspiring,” Amy Astley, AD’s editor-in-chief, told Ad Age. Now, “After nearly three years of steady growth and engagement—with an increasingly wider readership, from renovating homeowners to redecorating renters—it’s time to take Clever to the next level.”
Astley charged Keith Pollock, AD’s executive digital director, with leading the relaunch project—and he has made a host of changes to the fledgling publication.
According to Ad Age, Clever will be releasing regular digital covers designed for sharing on social media. The first, out this week and shown above, features Laura Harrier, who stars in Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix miniseries “Hollywood.”
In addition, Clever will crank up its renovation coverage with how-to guides (e.g., the upcoming “Everything You Need to Know About Wood Floors”) and add new areas of focus—including sustainability and wellness—to what it calls its Conversation channel.
For a deeper dive into the media strategy behind the new Clever, Ad Age spoke with Pollock, who explained the rationale for the new e-zine. “Although it’s likely a print reader will also enjoy Clever, we set out to create a brand that was autonomous from AD,” he said, adding, “There is a shared spirit between the two brands, in terms of the varied design styles that inspire us, but the approach is entirely different.”
And that difference, Pollack told AdAge, is actionable service. “They’re embarking on their first home renovation, they’re shopping for home decor. They’re looking for practical tips and “news they can use,” as Amy says. The Clever reader appreciates a well-designed home, but they have questions about how to attain it.”
“Clever is not about speaking to designers; it’s about homeowners taking matters into their own hands. We use the term DIY: design it yourself. On Clever, we are empowering our readers to use our guides and tools to create a home that has an individual point of view.”
What’s more, readers will be able to buy the home goods they see and want in Clever on its new e-commerce site. “We’ve seen 80% growth in click-through to affiliate sites, year over year. In an effort to add more value and service, we wanted to enhance the e-commerce experience and make it more of a clear focus,” said Pollack.
“E-commerce will be layered into all of our articles, but we’re also launching a new channel dedicated entirely to shopping content. If you want to come to Clever and just go down a shopping wormhole, you can.”
And will the relaunch t to appeal to readers whose lives have changed during the pandemic? “With our relaunch,” Pollack told AdAge, “we’ve committed to producing more content about wellness at home in our revamped Conversation channel.
“At this moment, we’re tackling topics we probably wouldn’t have considered a few months ago, like advice on how to manage your anxiety while you’re stuck at home, or how to quarantine with a romantic partner. Like most brands, we’re experimenting to see what our audience responds to during this time, and we’ve tapped into an interest in mental and physical health at home.
“Home is the center of everyone’s universe right now,:” he said, “and Clever is all about making your home your own, whether those changes are big or small.”
Research contact: @adage