Facebook has quietly launched a high-end print magazine in the UK and Northern Europe called Grow.
But don’t be so quick to call it a “magazine.” Even though Grow is labeled as a “quarterly magazine for business leaders” on the physical cover, Facebook says it is actually marketing campaign.
“Grow by Facebook is a business marketing program that shares thought leadership content directly with our clients through an annual event as well as print and online marketing channels,” Leila Woodington, Facebook’s head of business marketing for Northern Europe said in a statement. “We do not sell any advertising or charge for any of the events or content as this is purely intended for marketing communications purposes.”
Still, Grow appears to have an editor in chief listed in its pages, along with roles typically found at a magazine publication like a creative director, though the welcome note was written by Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn, who also called it a “magazine” in her message.
Companies creating their own media is far from new. Airline magazines have been around for years, though a Facebook spokesman likened Grow more to G.E.’s Txchnologist magazine and website. Grow’s content is written by copywriters commissioned by Facebook and overseen by Facebook’s marketing team, the spokesman said.
The magazine’s target audience is business leaders. Grow was borne out of a series of exclusive events for business leaders launched by Facebook’s UK team three years ago. Now they’ve expanded the events to include a print magazine that will be available to those on a special mailing list, at Grow events and at British Airways lounges. Grow’s content will also live on its Facebook page, its blog and a “new digital home” that is coming soon, according to a post on its micropage.
Like airline magazines, Grow features a combination of interviews and spotlights on certain businesses. The first edition of the quarterly magazine would fit in with any high-end hipster lifestyle publication. Its cover features the bearded, tattooed creative director of H&M’s new fashion label, Oscar Olsson, dubbed “the millenial whisperer.”
The issue also includes a feature on the world’s largest spirits company turning to craft distilling, and one on the tech boom in the Middle East.
“Grow your business. Grow your network. Grow your mind,” reads the magazine’s tagline.
A new podcast series in partnership with Vanity Fair and Founders Forum will launch later this year, Facebook says.
Correction: A previous version of this article said Grow is written by an outside content firm. The articles are written by copywriters hired by Facebook.