In recent history’s winding succession of magazine e-commerce partnerships (with yesterday’s Condé Nast announcement of a $20 million investment in farfetch blowing them all out of the water), a few have made more sense than others. Some, like Esquire‘s menswear site Clad, have even shut down. The emerging lesson for magazines seems to be to either go all in, à la Condé — though that new deal has yet to prove itself — or find some small, flexible one-off to test the retail waters.
Thus the partnership coming up next month between online beauty sampler Birchbox (one of our favorite monthly subscription sites) and Women’s Health seems pretty logical. Do these two businesses have anything to do with one another? Yes. Is this a proper way to showcase the magazine and reach new subscribers? Yes. Of course, they don’t get credit for being the first to collaborate on box of goods relevant to their editorial pages; Details partnered with Bespoke Post on a sampling of manly accoutrements back in June.
However, leading women to use healthier products by sending out a box of samples alongside the magazine promoting them makes a lot of sense. Yes, it’s overtly commercial, but that’s increasingly publishing’s general direction. This particular partnership is just efficient about it.