Vice Now Its Worst Nightmare

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Two years ago we looked at the Vice Magazine marketing partnership with comeback alcohol brand Colt 45, observing, “Its strategic promotional partnering with VICE Magazine has resulted in hip marketing campaigns and well-orchestrated parties in New York City.” It appears other brands took notice.

Vice, now more a full-blown media brand than just a magazine, is now partnering with brands such as Intel and CNN. Wait, what?[more]

Some months ago Vice, founded in Montreal and once known as the “hipster’s Bible,” recently announced that it would partner with CNN so the global news network could air some of Vice’s video product.

Now the New York-based Vice will be joining chip-maker Intel to launch the “Creators Project” which aims to promote new artists from around the world. Shane Smith, one of Vice’s founders, said of the project, “It is the most ambitious experiential thing we’ve done so far. We had this idea before we even talked to Intel. We would dream about the coolest thing we could do if we didn’t have any resource constraints, and I have to say, this comes close to it.”

While a marketing partnership that made getting blotto on Colt 45 makes sense for the Vice brand, isn’t its deal-making with stuffy corporate brands an investment of diminishing returns?

The great branding paradox that is Vice seems to defy and attract such collaborations. Essentially, mainstream brands partner with Vice magazine in the hope that Vice’s street cred will rub off on their comparatively corporate and staid brand, yet that very advertising partnership diminishes the very street cred of Vice that such brands are hoping to co-opt. (Or did we just blow your mind?)

Actually, the great mainstreaming of the Vice brand is something Vice itself seems very much aware, and in control, of. Speaking to New York magazine about the CNN partnership, Smith said, “If I’m still concerned about being the hipster’s Bible, then I should give up. I’m an old fat man, and I don’t give a s**t about shoes and denim anymore.”

Be on the lookout for the upcoming co-marketing campaign between Vice and BabyBjörn.

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