Pitchfork Staff, Kendall Jenner and Ronda Rousey Appear in New Conde Nast Ad Campaign

Staffers Contributed 'Creativity Selfies' to Initiative, Launching Today

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A rendition of an advertisement that will appear in Grand Central Terminal.
A rendition of an advertisement that will appear in Grand Central Terminal. Credit: Condé Nast

Conde Nast didn't have to go too far find talent for a new advertising campaign about creativity, called "Create. Connect. Condé Nast."

On Thursday, Conde Nast kicked off the initiative with a series of short videos on social media channels in which employees from across the company's suite of media properties -- along with a few celebrities -- talk on camera about what creativity means to them.

Even the folks at Pitchfork, the alternative music magazine acquired by Conde Nast in October, pitched in. "They gave us two really good [videos]," CMO Edward Menicheschi told Ad Age.

The on-camera celebs include Kendall Jenner, Jordan Spieth, Ronda Rousey, Hilary Rhoda, Lily Aldridge, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

The company has so far published three representative, 60-second supercuts, along with a 15-second video for each media brand. Thirty-seven "influencers" including Justin Bieber, Ms. Jenner, and Ms. Witherspoon agreed to promote the Condé Nast videos on their social media channels, using the hashtag #CreativityIs.

The idea for the project originated with CEO Bob Sauerberg.

"Bob Sauerberg came to me last summer, and he said, 'I want you and a team of creatives to work on telling the story of who Conde Nast is today," Mr. Menicheschi said. "And that was really the starting point of the whole thing."

From there, the initiative was headed up by Mr. Menicheschi, artistic director Anna Wintour, and corporate creative director Raul Martinez, working in concert with in-house branded content studio 23 Stories.

"Anna was incredibly supportive and had great advice," Mr. Menicheschi said of Ms. Wintour.

While publication editors were informed of the plan, rank-and-file Conde Nast employees were largely kept in the dark about why they were being asked to pitch in their own "creativity selfies."

"We literally told them nothing," Mr. Menicheschi said of the 100 or so employees asked to participate. The company filled in the blanks at an all-hands meeting Thursday morning.

The campaign was informed by two waves of audit research, Mr. Menicheschi said, in which "stakeholders," "agency folks" and clients were asked about their business and about how they see Conde Nast.

After pushing the videos to Conde Nast's audience of 120 million on social media, not to mention the healthy reach of the celebrities tapped to help out, the company is running an out-of-home advertising campaign.

Displays tied to the campaign will be seen in Grand Central Terminal and select Subway stops, along with trade publications. The campaign will last for at least a year, Mr. Menicheschi said.

"This is going to roll," he said. "This is not a one-and-done."