Franca Sozzani Tries To Explain How Advertising Works

Today in our continuing series “Close Readings On Franca Sozzani‘s Blog Posts,” we examine what the Vogue Italia editor in chief has to say about magazine advertising and how it impacts editorial content.

The short version is that Sozzani thinks advertising is a good thing (so long as she doesn’t find the ads offensive) and so long as advertisers understand that they don’t become part-owners in the magazine as a result of having bought a few glossy pages.

Fashion, beauty and beverage companies “invest in a magazine by buying pages off them and putting in those pages what they like as long as it’s not offensive,” Sozzani writes. “They don’t become however partners. To clarify this point, it’s like when a custode (sic, customer, we suppose) comes in a shop, buys an outfit and owns that outfit, not the shop. They buy pages, not the magazine, the magazine is managed by the editorial team.”

But that’s a pretty cut and dry — and also, idealistic — view of the way advertising works with fashion magazines. Sozzani seems like she has the moral whatever not to take bribes, and she owns her pages. But as we learned during Harper’s Bazaar‘s advertiser placement scandal late last year, editors have no problem currying favor with the people who buy ads in their books.

Sozzani then confusingly asks, “Does advertisement have an impact on the choices made by the magazine? Of course. But it doesn’t influence them.”

We’re not exactly sure how that’s possible, because in Sozzani’s view the magazine makes choices entirely independent of advertisers. Advertising even has to conform to Sozzani’s taste before it can go into her magazine and have the privilege of paying her light bills. So what’s the lesson here? It’s that we’re confused by Franca Sozzani being a blogger.

How much weight do ads have in magazines? [Vogue Italia]

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