Just eight weeks ago, the fifth annual show was sponsored by Chevrolet, Citi, CoverGirl, Kohl's, Nivea and Verizon Wireless. It included performances by Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Kid Rock, among others.
Conde Nast is also suspending plans for "Movies Rock," a "Fashion Rocks" spin-off that made its debut December 2007 and had once been eyed for a sequel in the summer of 2009.
"Due to the toughness in the ad market, we have decided to put both 'Fashion Rocks' and 'Movies Rock' on hiatus for 2009," Richard Beckman, president of the Conde Nast Media Group, said in a statement through his spokeswoman.
Will hurt other areas
For the magazine industry, the cancellations are a reminder that the financial alarm now buffeting the magazine business won't just lead to lost ad-page sales. Just as magazines have wisely extended their brands and reach beyond ink on paper, so will harmful effects of a wounded economy find ways to hurt magazines off the page too.
It's also the latest indicator that even fashion and luxury advertisers are pulling back on their advertising and marketing spending. In the past two weeks, Conde has suggested as much with a hiring freeze, budget cuts and now cutbacks in frequency and staff for Men's Vogue and Conde Nast Portfolio.
From its debut in 2003, Fashion Rocks evolved into a highly polished annual variety show at Radio City Music Hall in New York, a CBS broadcast and the requisite elaborate after-party. Sponsors also received ad pages in a Fashion Rocks supplement accompanying the September issues of 16 Conde Nast magazines.