Nov 8, 2022 - Economy & Business

Drake's mock Vogue cover draws lawsuit from Condé Nast

A tweet highlighting a fake Vogue magazine cover created to promote a new album from the artists Drake and 21 Savage. Source: Twitter @OVOSound

One of the world's most popular musicians faked a Vogue magazine cover as part of a joke to promote a new album. Condé Nast — Vogue's owner — didn't find it funny.

Driving the news: The publisher is suing rapper Drake and the album's co-artist 21 Savage for trademark infringement and counterfeiting over the faux issues that were distributed and displayed in various cities.

  • It also cites other aspects of the campaign to promote the false covers as real, including posters and social media posts.
  • The public relations firm that promoted the album, Hiltzik Strategies, is also named in the suit.

Catch up quick: Just as movie stars push their new films with elaborate press tours, artists do press interviews and appear on magazine covers to promote new music.

Yes, but: Drake and 21 Savage did not do that. In fact, they only pretended to with a fake interview that only seems like it was conducted by radio legend Howard Stern, a fake SNL appearance, and a fake Vogue cover.

The idea: Roll out their joint album, "Her Loss," by mocking the stereotypical way in which most artists go about promoting their album.

Be smart: When the rappers claimed they appeared on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" — with a clip of them on a copycat set — the outlet debunked it playfully. Stern praised the fake interview.

  • But Condé Nast believes the campaign extends beyond what can reasonably be considered a harmless joke.

What we're hearing: A source told Axios that what drove Vogue to ultimately file a lawsuit was the extent to which the stunt may have caused real confusion for consumers.

  • The fake campaign was so vast, mimicking Vogue’s logo, design and editorial features across so many different platforms, that it made it hard for Vogue to dismiss the entire effort as a one-off spoof campaign.
  • What was particularly concerning was the fact that Drake and 21 Savage sold print magazines that were designed to look like real Vogue magazines to consumers that may not have realized they weren't paying for authentic Vogue products.

What's next: Condé Nast is demanding the rappers remove their social media posts referencing the fake issue, and take down any physical displays.

  • They also want triple whatever the artists profit from sales of the album and the fake magazine, or $4 million in damages — whichever is greater.
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