Vanity Fair launched in Italy at the beginning of October as the only weekly edition of Conde Nast's internationally famous monthly. More than 600,000 euros have been spent on marketing and research to come up with an accurate reader profile of Vanity Fair's Italian reader.
The market for glossies is certainly a saturated one. It comprises four main weeklies, two newspaper magazines (Io Donna, published by Corriere della Sera, and La Repubblica Delle Donne, published by La Repubblica) and five monthlies. Yet Vanity Fair boasts some serious heritage. Its global reputation can be leveraged to entice celebrities and fashion houses to collaborate with it, all of which helps to cement its reputation as the most credible aspirational title.
The weekly glossy is not such a rare commodity in Italy as elsewhere in the world, so Vanity Fair is seizing the opportunity.
The magazine's editor, Marisa Deimichei, formerly of the publishing company Mondadori, explains: "Italy has been chosen for the launch of the first weekly edition of Vanity Fair because it's the only one that sells high-end weeklies."
The editorial content includes high-quality photography and carefully thought-out editorial. Deimichei says: "When we write about celebrities, it's not pure gossip as we offer an intimate glimpse into their lives. And they're happy to promote themselves with our world-renowned journalists and photographers."
The editor has personally selected all of the 43 new journalists who have been hired to work on the new weekly, and journalists and photographers all sign sole contracts with Conde Nast.
It's also important for the magazine to profile indigenous celebrities.
The actress Monica Bellucci was on the launch cover of Vanity Fair, while the pop singer Eros Ramazzotti and the movie star Claudio Amendola graced later issues.
"The main difference with the international formula," Deimichei adds, " is the fact that half the editorial is dedicated to Italian women. We're including surveys and open 'round tables' for subjects such as fashion, beauty and travel. Our aim is to give our readers a broader insight."
If the editorial strategy is geared towards satisfying the needs and expectations of the readers, the advertising is well-tuned to do the same. The world's biggest fashion and beauty brands were careful not to miss out on appearing in the first issue. Advertising in the launch issue comprised 117 pages out of a total of 250 pages.
"Advertisers are scrutinising us," Giuliano Cesari, the magazine's publisher, comments. "And we think we'll meet our ambitious objectives."
Yet nestling next to the big global designer brands that are synonymous with Vanity Fair were some more surprising choices. Peugeot, BMW, Lancia, Stella Artois and Telecom Italia, which tend to advertise in less glossy titles, also had a presence.
"I'm satisfied with the work we have done," Deimichei comments. "From the letters and e-mails I keep receiving from our readers, I get the feeling we have succeeded in creating a new kind of magazine that helps Italian women to rediscover the pleasure of reading."
An extensive campaign that focuses on the magazine's power to go behind the scenes backs up the magazine launch.
Title: Vanity Fair
Publisher: Conde Nast
Cover price: 1.90 euros
Circulation: 180,000 copies
Full-page colour ad rate: 8,500 euros
Advertisers include: Chanel, Procter & Gamble, Gucci, Cartier, BMW,
Peugeot, Stella Artois, Telecom Italia Main competitors Gioia, Anna