The company's magazines all feature cover wraps this month which resemble Windows 8 start pages for the magazine's editors. (Here's the December cover for Glamour, at right, click to enlarge.)
When Ad Age asked about the ad buy, CN said it did the covers for free:
There were "no advertising dollars involved," a Conde Nast spokeswoman said in an email. Microsoft's paid ad campaign elsewhere in Conde Nast magazines is "separate and distinct," she said.
Of course, absolutely no one outside CN's media relations office believes this for a moment. The company did go on to say that the covers were , "clearly coordinated" with Microsoft's paid ads,but for some reason the company really wants you to be believe that no money changed hands.
Cover wraps -- in which an advertiser pays for a "false" cover on top of the real cover -- are routine ad buys in publishing. And Microsoft's Windows 8 ad budget is somewhere between $500 million and $1.8 billion this year -- so plenty of money is changing hands.
Why Conde Nast wants to appear untouched by this wealth is unclear.
Here's the December Vanity Fair:
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