Gilt Groupe just announced that its new men’s site, Park & Bond‒ a name that practically drips with the silver-spooned sound of privilege‒ will be partnering with Conde Nast’s GQ magazine on an e-commerce strategy. Not only will Park & Bond host an online store that features products “handpicked from the pages of the magazine by the editors of GQ.” But starting with the September issue, GQ is also promoting the venture in its pages and on GQ.com to drive readers to Park & Bond. Betabeat talked to Park & Bond president John Auerbach (Gilt employee no. 5), on the phone from the Pitti Immagine Uomo show in Italy, about the partnership‒and the genesis of that name.
Between Hearst’s new deal with Buddy Media, not to mention Gilt Taste hooking-up with former Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, does this mean we’ll see lack of advertising revenue in the glossies forcing old media to dunk their head in e-commerce waters? “I wouldn’t say advertising isn’t working out,” said Mr. Auerbach. “I’d just say this is a new business opportunity that GQ is testing out and I’m sure other magazines will at some point as well.”
What about the possibility that Esquire, Details, or even Vice will follow suit? “At this point, it’s an exclusive partnership. That’s not to say that in the future, we wouldn’t bring on other partners in other areas of the business,” Mr. Auerbach said, adding that the deal has been in the works for months. So will we see other Gilt properties knocking on doors at Conde and Hearst to get some sheen off old-media brands? “It’s certainly a potential. We’re all under the Gilt Groupe umbrella, but businesses are run separately and the needs of the particular business will dictate what partnerships are entered into.”
Mr. Auerbach would not disclose any specifics about the partnership, including how the Park & Bond promotion will be featured in the magazine, or the financial structure, like whether GQ gets a percentage of profits. However,when asked, he did emphasize that the lines between advertising and editorial were a concern for the magazine. “Absolutely, they want to maintain their editorial integrity in their pages and that is the number one goal on their end, and that will not change. That’s a given for GQ.”
There was one aspect of the site, which launches in late summer, that Mr. Auerbach was willing to talk about: how they came up with the name. “It was a very long process that involved a lot of suggestions from a lot of different inside and outside resources. It was one of those things that when we heard it we knew it was the right one. In our mind it’s kind of Park Avenue, Bond Street—uptown, downtown—kind of the intersection of the two different styles in one place.”
But doesn’t it also sound like some posh London hotel, Betabeat asked? “That’s the beauty,” said Mr. Auerbach. “It has international appeal in a lot of ways.”