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How developing trends in luxury advertising impact thinking (and doing) at Robb Report

For some time now, luxury media have occupied an interesting position in the marketplace, somewhat insulated against economic turbulence, "for so long a well-heeled haven from the turmoil". This does not mean luxury media can rest on their laurels as disruption across the media industry continues apace.

Advertising in luxury media has held up better than advertising as a whole, Enders analyst Douglas McCabe told the Financial Times recently. But, amidst a shifting advertising marketplace, luxury magazines are also turning to alternate revenue streams to bolster their brands and their business. 

This is also true for Robb Report. “There is still a major point of distinction and focus with the small number of luxury publications," according to David Arnold, managing director of Robb Report. "They remain focused on a core audience and the editorial speaks exclusively to that demographic. It informs and educates in a unique way. It provides pertinent information from a trusted and reliable source that is unduplicated.”

David Arnold ()

Robb Report, as a luxury media brand, focuses strongly on their advertisers and their audience that helps drive advertising resilience. “We listen to our clients. We spend time in the marketplace with our audience and understand the needs, passions and curiosities of the luxury customer. Combining this intelligence helps us to formulate ideas, products and programs that resonate in the market," Arnold said. 

But, they also continue to innovate and update their product offerings, he explained. "In fact, we are excited to be unveiling a series of refreshers to our products in the coming weeks and months, including some aesthetic updates to our website,, and to our print magazine."

Luxury advertising can be divided into high luxury, which includes watches, jewellery, fashion and accessories, and broad luxury which includes luxury automobiles, cosmetics and perfumes. 

For Robb Report, there are certainly segments of advertising that are stronger than others right now. These include advertising in watches, luxury resorts, private aviation, jewellery and luxury automotive, Arnold said. 

Robb Report ()

Zenith recently released a new report “Luxury Advertising Expenditure Forecasts 2017” that indicated luxury ad spend is going to grow by 2018, but lags behind the ad market as a whole. According to the report, broad luxury advertising is driving growth, and high luxury advertising is overwhelmingly print-based. 

According to the report, "Print is currently the principal medium for luxury advertising, accounting for 32.7 per cent of adspend in 2016, compared to 31.3 per cent for television and 25.8 per cent for internet advertising."

However, digital advertising is making inroads into the luxury advertising market. The report forecasts internet advertising to account for 87 per cent of adspend growth between 2016 and 2018. 

“By 2018 we forecast the internet to be the biggest advertising medium for luxury, accounting for 30.6 per cent of adspend, compared to 29.9 per cent for television and 29.7 per cent for print. Print will nevertheless remain much more important to luxury than for the ad market as whole: 13.8 per cent of adspend across all categories will go to print in 2018, down from 16.7 per cent in 2016."

Robb Report mag ()

Indeed, as consumer expectations are changing, luxury media and advertisers are responding, according to Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s global brand president. "Consumers are now looking for luxury experiences that are personal and relevant to them, and targeted brand communication is central to creating this extra brand value.”

Robb Report does just that. Beyond advertising, Robb Report is investing in alternative revenue streams, including an exclusive group for members and other curated and tailored events. “These events are more intimate, curated experiences," Arnold said. "Experiences that provide access to programming, products and brands, not available unless you are connected through your relationship with Robb Report.”

Recent experiences have taken “RR1” members on the road with McLaren through New York and Massachusetts, or to enjoy springtime in Japan. In 2017, RR1 members will experience a world-class Gala dinner prepared by master chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud, or drive 13 cutting-edge vehicles from the most acclaimed automotive marques at Robb Report’s annual Car of the Year event in Napa.

“We have a core platform of signature events including our acclaimed Car of the Year franchise, among others. Also, experiential programming developed for, and with, our by-invitation-only membership, RR1," Arnold said. "Robb Report is also rolling out our in-house Robb Report Studio which will work to develop content and video solutions for our brand partners that showcase the luxury of a great story.”

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