The mortgage meltdown and subsequent economic turmoil are having a considerable effect on the pocketbooks of many Americans. As a result, the economy is a front-page story for the mainstream media. Yet for the luxury press, it's business as usual, whether the economy is in recession or not.
When it comes to the reading habits of the wealthy, conventional wisdom regarding the economy does not apply, says Brett Anderson, SVP of editorial for the Robb Report.
"Our audience's interest in the subject of luxury products, services, and experiences isn't really impacted by economic cycles in the same way that the rest of the populace is," he explains. "Of course, even a high-net-worth person's portfolio will fluctuate in value, but if you're worth $100 million one day, and $94 million the next, your ability to buy a $100,000 watch or a high-performance sports car isn't impacted."
Degen Pener, editor-in-chief of Angeleno, an LA-based outlet that is part of the Modern Luxury Magazine Group, adds that his publication's readers are still interested in stories on high-end automobiles and other luxury goods.
"Even our somewhat-aspirational readers still want to read about the new Balenciaga store, or the new Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz, especially if they can be wrapped into a trend," he explains. "We just did a story on how 'Black is the new black.' That was inspired by all the Mercedes in LA that have been painted matte black."
Frank Proctor, partner with Newport Beach, CA-based Luxury Brand Group, says the high-end media avoids seasonal features, because their audience can jet set around the globe to find the weather it prefers.
"Magazines like Town & Country or Elite Traveler don't think about spring fashion or spring jewelry - it's just jewelry and fashion to them," says Proctor, whose firm has a number of luxury jewelry clients.
Luxury-media pieces also tend to be more focused on the visual aspects of a story, rather than their mainstream-press counterparts, explains CR Ranson, co-founder of Atlanta-based Monsar Communications.
It's also only a myth that luxury press editors and reporters are more focused on an item's price than the quality of the product itself, Anderson adds.
"If a high price tag is the only thing a story has to recommend it, it probably won't work for us," he notes. "We want to introduce our readers to the unusual, the rare, the unknown, and the exquisite. Sometimes our subjects are not the most expensive items out there, but they are the best - and the best usually costs more."
Pitching... luxury goods
Luxury media is dominated by glossy magazines, but many high-end brands have started migrating to the Internet, so seek opportunities to pitch stories online
Don't look for individual product reviews. Instead, attempt to include your high-end clients within luxury trends that can pitched as a package to editors
About the only luxury media category the economy appears to be impacting is multimillion-dollar homes, but even that interest may return quickly