2010 December 1
Joanna Coles Unveils Marie Claire's New iPad App
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(NEW YORK) “Good tech saves you so much time,” said Marie Claire editor in chief Joanna Coles last week, previewing the magazine’s new Zinio-powered iPad application in her office at Hearst Tower. After a soft launch on the device in September, the fully-fledged December edition is now available for $3.50 (or $10 a year) at the iTunes store---and it’s the kind of thing that may inspire you to invest in the device (if you haven’t already).
While many fashionettes are more game to invest in a Céline tote than another Apple device, Marie Claire and Hearst clearly anoint the iPad the future of magazines---despite the relatively small circulation it currently enjoys, compared with print mags and their websites. But Coles expects the iPad's user base to grow exponentially. “Women should never say they aren’t techy,” she insisted. “The perception of women, somehow, is that they’re not good at tech. Actually, it’s not true. You never hear men say that. You can’t be nervous of it---you just have to embrace it.” The iPad project is spearheaded by Coles, digital assets manager Emily Masamitsu, and Suzanne Sykes, Marie Claire’s creative director. “Suzanne has become obsessed by the iPad,” said Coles. “You can’t get any eye contact with her, because she’s become a complete nerd.”
Marie Claire’s app is sexy from start to finish, beginning with a moving cover of Emma Watson, whose slight changes of expression are oddly, eerily compelling. In addition to digitally transmitting every page of the book (including advertisements), the app also features exclusive photo shoots, behind-the-scenes videos, and other shopper-friendly features, like a tab that runs underneath video to allow users to click-to-buy product as it prances around the city, in motion and on-model, directly above. Users can controll 360-degree views of accessories, while audio clips and interactive quiz components bring pages to life. “It’s not like putting a lot of static words on the page,” said Coles. “This is moving art. It wasn’t like the change from radio to television---that was redefining the media. That’s what we’re doing---redefining magazines.”
In fact, the mag’s first serious foray into iPad territory was the A to Z Fall Fashion App, an artful gallery of over 450 products with click-to-buy capabilities. The iPad’s screen resolution can handle detail that would be lost on computer screens or even in magazine pages, which encourages impulse buys. “Does it look expensive enough to warrant spending $1,300 on it?” wondered Coles, zooming in on the buckle of a YSL boot. “It does, actually." Next spring, Marie Claire’s Beauty Genius app will allow users to upload their own photos and virtually apply currently-in-stores makeup with their fingers. "When Apple made our A to Z the #1 new and noteworthy app, we were beside ourselves,” she recalled. “It’s like hearing from God when you hear from Apple.”
This is all well and good----but does it make sense, financially? Apparently so. “Everything we’ve done for the iPad has been paid for—or [VP/publisher] Nancy [Berger Cardone] has made money on it,” she said. “We’re not in it for charity.” The December edition is sponsored by L’Oreal. And while Apple remains tight-lipped in terms of tracking purchases and traffic directed from iPad apps, “It’s fair to say we’re working on it.”
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