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The Secret Condé Nast Policy That Almost Cost It Millions

One of Revlon's recent ad campaigns. Image <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-s984fnABSK4/UbYbupZMsaI/AAAAAAAAAhU/_hMWJ8Nb_jg/s1600/emma-stone-and-revlon.jpg">via</a>
One of Revlon's recent ad campaigns. Image via

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Back in the magazine industry's heyday, the development and cultivation of long-term relationships between advertisers and publishers was just as important as how much money each advertiser invested in the mag. During that time, Condé Nast instituted what's internally known as the "beauty rotation", a rigid hierarchy established with some of the biggest beauty advertisers.

When beauty advertisers bought space in the opening section of a magazine (before the table of contents), the rotation dictated that Revlon ads always appeared first. Estée Lauder would always come after Revlon, and L'Oreal behind them, then Proctor & Gamble could appear in fourth place. Condé Nast adhered to this policy even if, say, L'Oreal paid for more pages than Revlon. Trouble was bound to ensue.

Ad Age reports that the publishing giant has dropped the beauty rotation policy in the face of mounting pressure from unhappy advertisers. According to the article, in 2013 L'Oreal spent $862 million on magazine advertising, while Estée Lauder only invested $219 million and Revlon paid out $87.8 million. However, because of the hierarchy system, Revlon got top billing even though L'Oreal invested over $700 million more in advertising then Revlon.

Image via

L'Oreal wasn't about to stand for that, and a source inside Condé Nast told Ad Age that "they've complained about it for years," even threatening to pull millions of dollars in advertising from the publishing house. In response, Condé Nast relented and the age-old policy no longer stands, giving free reign to the beauty advertisers with the most dollars to spend.

· Conde Nast Drops Longstanding Policy Affecting Beauty Advertisers [Ad Age]
· FashionToast Leaves Condé Nast's Blogging Network [Racked]
· Get a Master's Degree Courtesy of Condé Nast [Racked]