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Condé Nast sues over Drake and 21 Savage fake Vogue cover

By | Published on Wednesday 9 November 2022

Drake and 21 Savage fake Vogue cover

Magazine publisher Condé Nast has sued Drake and 21 Savage over the promotional campaign for their new collaborative album ‘Her Loss’ which has centred on a fake edition of the media firm’s most prominent publication Vogue.

As part of a promo push that involved a number of other faked brand partnerships and media appearances, Drake and 21 Savage ran a poster and social media campaign featuring a mocked up Vogue cover, and also seemingly distributed some copies of the fashion magazine tweaked so that it contained the fake cover and some other references to the record within.

In its lawsuit, Condé Nast says: “This action arises out of a widespread promotional campaign recently launched by world famous musical artists Drake and 21 Savage, built entirely on the use of the Vogue marks and the premise that Drake and 21 Savage would be featured on the cover of Vogue’s next issue as a means of promoting defendants’ newly released album ‘Her Loss’”.

“All of this is false”, it adds. “And none of it has been authorised by Condé Nast. In furtherance of their deceptive campaign, defendants have gone so far as to create a counterfeit issue of Vogue magazine, distributing copies in North America’s largest metropolitan areas, plastering posters of the counterfeit cover along streets and buildings throughout these cities, and disseminating images of the unauthorised counterfeit magazine to the more than 135 million social media users”.

“Not surprisingly in light of the deliberately deceptive intent”, the legal filing goes on, “rather than offer any indication that defendants’ supposed cover was of a counterfeit magazine, defendants’ social media posts on both Instagram and Twitter instead are accompanied by the following explicitly false statements: ‘Me and my brother on newsstands tomorrow!! Thanks @voguemagazine and Anna Wintour for the love and support on this historic moment’”.

“Vogue magazine and its Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour have had no involvement in ‘Her Loss’ or its promotion, and have not endorsed it in any way”, it confirms.

The lawsuit then points to various media reports and social media posts taken in by the spoof, and seemingly under the impression that Vogue was featuring Drake and 21 Savage in its next issue. Most of those posts actually seemed quite excited by the prospect of the musicians appearing in the fashion mag, though Condé Nast is not interested in exciting any music fans.

“That defendants would knowingly violate Condé Nast’s rights in this manner”, the publisher continues, “underscores the tremendous value that a cover feature in Vogue magazine carries, here, to amplify sales of an album that was to be released days after defendants commenced their deceptive campaign. This of course was defendants’ aim”.

Since 31 Oct, the lawsuit confirms, Condé Nast has been busy sending cease and desist letters to Drake, 21 Savage and the communications agency leading on the campaign, Hiltzik Strategies, but so far those notices have had no impact.

“Defendants’ flippant disregard for Condé Nast’s rights have left it with no choice but to commence this action and seek the immediate injunctive relief requested herein”, it concludes, “together with any and all available monetary remedies to deter the type of flagrant infringements and false advertising in which defendants have engaged”.

The media firm is suing for trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, among other things.

This story is discussed on this edition of our Setlist podcast.