Q&A: Edwina McCann on what makes Vogue Fashion Night Out a winning event

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 20 September 2016
American Express came on as a sponsor for Vogue Fashion Night Out for the first time this year

Vogue magazine took home the honourable title of Event of the Year at the 2015 Australian Magazine Awards (AMA) for its annual Vogue Fashion Night Out (VFNO). The retail extravaganza has been held in Melbourne and Sydney since 2010.

The AMAs recognise best in class magazine brands, editors, marketing and more. Entries this week, on the 23 September.

While the event had humble beginning, it now sees 200,000 Sydney siders and 150,000 Melbourne fashionistas hit the town to check out brand activations and snap up the bargains.

AdNews’ speaks with Vogue editor Edwina McCann about what makes VFNO an award-winning event.

What does it take to win the Event of the Year Award?

"The experience VFNO offers in both Sydney and Melbourne is unsurpassed in terms of the way we work with our sponsors, which is why we secure brands like American Express and retail partners such as David Jones. It’s because the event has the right mixture of consumer experience and it works for sponsors in terms of the cut through levels of engagement they achieve."

How important is the evolution of VFNO?

"Each year we reinvent VFNO. We started seven years ago and now we are seeing a new generation of young girls who are brought along by their mums because they have seen it on social media. It’s constantly replenishing its consumer basis at it grows."

How is VFNO an example of how magazine brands are evolving?

"Vogue has multiple revenue streams and is very strong digitally. It is the biggest social media magazine brand in the News Life Media portfolio (NLM). VFNO is an indication of the power of the brand to attract huge numbers - I honestly believe no other brand can do that.

NLM understood it had to reinvent the brand when other publishers were only about dropping costs and managing decline.

The event makes sense for VNFO because we are so involved with fashion, so being involved with retail brands is natural. It shows Vogue the brand is much more than just a magazine."

vfnoVogue editor Edwina McCann and Sydney major Clover Moore at this year's VFNO

What impact does the event have on the magazine?

"We sell magazines there as part of the event so it directly affects sales. Overall, the 200,000 people that attend might not all be buying Vogue magazine but it puts the brand name at the front of their minds. If they go and buy an issue if they haven't before because the event creates a connection to the brand. It also helps us grow our digital and social audiences and all of that customer acquisition piece is equally valuable."

How important are events to the future of Vogue and other magazines?

"The growth of events can be attributed to the growth of social media, because users require experiences to capture for their feeds. Ironically, the digital age has grown the need to be at real live events.

Look at social media's influence on the gaming industry – people aren't sitting at home on Xbox any more, they are going to live gaming events. There's no better interaction patterns than gaming.

The fashion industry in general and VNFO is benefiting from the tactile experience. Vogue holds events at all different scales, from events for the affluent expat Chinese market right through to the VNFO scale event, where the average person spends from $180-200 on the night. These events are targetted at different demographics and are equally successful at appealing to current and new readers."

What has been the advertiser response to the award-winning Vogue event?

"This year American Express came on board for the first time. The success of the event in 2015 convinced them to be involved. We also had YSL, Dyson and David Jones as sponsors this year which shows the huge scale of the event."

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