17 Feb 2015

Posh Spice Handshake Abortion Is In Vogue

Vogue Magazine is world-renowned for high-end fashion reporting, so why is some of its video content so shockingly poor?

Vogue introduced 73 Questions to help plebs get to know its “favorite personalities”. In it the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Vogue Editor Anna Wintour are subjected to an unrelenting 6-minute barrage of questions. One that caught my attention was Victoria Beckham’s turn. This saw the pop-singer-gone-fashionista-football-wag at her most wooden, suffering a catastrophic handshake abortion and actually saying ‘dude’.

posh spice handshake fail gif
Smooth.

Vogue-owner Condé Nast‘s clunky approach to video clearly belies its great reputation. For example, in contrast with the spontaneous feel they attempted by filming in one shot, each response is as naturalistic as a North Korean military show. Searching questions like “What movie made you laugh the hardest?” receive instant deadpan reply (“We’re the Millers.”).

What’s more, if you’re going to rehearse an interview to kingdom come then how could you bear such mindless responses? “Grey area” follows “What word do you most dislike?”, and “What would you change about the world?” gets “AIDS”, as though all responses had been generated using a pin and a geography textbook.

The root of the problem could just be complacency about what it takes to produce great online video content. It’s hard to tell whether its 20k shares come out of spite or out of appreciation for the particular celeb involved, but in any case it can’t last. It’s ok to break some rules—like Kony 2012 video, being 30 minutes long—but only if you make up for it in other areas.

For example, the story must develop if you’re to retain viewers. Here Posh’s good short answers have no relation to one another so just feel tiring. Also who decided to have her walk away as though the interviewer were some persistent bloke in a nightclub?

Of course there’s a spoof, which comedian Holly Burn turned around just a week after the original. Highlights include the handshake rejection and perfectly tilted head.

Contrast Vogue’s content with the gradual rise of oil in our Lego video for Greenpeace, or the shaking walls and plot twist that give direction to our Vaccine for Violence video for UNICEF. The success of our Most Shocking Second A Day video for Save the Children can also be partly attributed to the close-up head shot, and not walking away, which humans have evolved to find engaging. These are just some of the techniques we’ve used to make content viral.

Condé Nast’s empire is helped by a loyal following and celebrity contacts, but in the decline of print, strong digital content will be essential. For the time being its content is pretty terrible. Either that or some hipster consultants have imposed a strange form of irony. Sure, that could have happened.