“We’re in the middle of changing things…” “Sorry we’re not doing Christmas shopping pages this year…”, the replies read from the editors on my Christmas Exclusive send out. I briefly paused. No gift guides anymore? How should that work? Is this the death of the golden themed shopping pages?
We are addicted to gift guides. As much as we love-hate them, in the end, we all get caught in that one compelling page. What started a couple of years ago as a pretty idea to inspire readers around holiday’s season became a high priority marketing mission for editors and renown publications. The whole science behind it is to push and promote products, make them appealing to the reader’s eye (remember again that pretty glitzy Christmas page?) and to convince them to buy ASAP. Ever wondered why you’ve never seen the same flashy gold loafers in Spring again?
Promoting products isn’t a bad thing and never was. Done correctly it can work smoothly, especially with content built around a product. Gift guides consist of images only, a little bit of text and that’s it. Over the years it developed into a nightmare we are annoyed by easily that got rampant and overloaded. Coming in two categories, we can either decide for the crappy ones that are bursting at the margins of the page and the super posh one’s that are a tiny bit over budget. So, we’re a bit done and over with them.
Gift guides come with the bonus of offering last-minute gifts, (for that one ‘special person’ you just added to your shopping list) ones that aren’t too expensive or too cheap. In the end, you’ve got to choose between Yankee candles, stocking fillers (they literally always work!), a book, wellness vouchers, jewellery, handbags (for me please?) or posh sweets that names you find hard to pronounce. They are, as I like to call them, universals and work for everyone you know only a year (+1’s are special, don’t gift them with guide buys please!)
If this is true, we’ll have to talk about the Gift Guide Afterlife and what the shift might hold for us in future. Apps document our reading and shopping behaviours to meet our fashion and lifestyle needs (I still don’t get the ad algorithm on Facebook), but gift guides can’t be adapted to suit everyone. Taste is different and gift guides represent a kind of an issue in these days. Therefore, no gift guides in future could mean changes for print and online soon. If so, it will be only a matter of time until they’re gone for good.
I do like gift guides, don’t get me wrong. Although it’s the busiest time of the year I still try to get my hands on a couple of December issues. They light up my eyes after a busy day, I’m still dreaming of Vogue’s Christmas gift guide and ‘Eat Chic’ and their peanut butter cups, and inspire me if they’re put together nicely. But I consider gift guides from another perspective including layout, design, and quality of the chosen products. If I would miss them? Defo!