Why is VICE Chartering a Private Plane from LA?

Vice, New York's Canadian-grown media company built on a carefully cultivated proto-punk reputation has certainly had an interesting year! A Times profile. A partnership with CNN. A party in which they made lots of noise about that time they spent a quarter of a million dollars on a party while other media companies "crumbled" (their words) around them?

But this new-level absurdity business we hear about them breaching a threshold of spendy sell-out craziness by chartering a private plane from LA to announce some huge worldwide project?

It's like they think they're living in a Lil' Jon video. And (given their sly cash cow that is their big corporate ad machine Virtue) they might be. Here is an invite we got for some media announcement they're making about some party they're throwing for the media, only, peons:

I have helpfully drawn arrows to note the sponsorship of microchip manufacturing company Intel, as it prompts the question of whether or not this is to announce that the hard-working editorial staff at Vice have now figured out a way to Do or Don't individual microprocessors! But likely it's some big content or concert initiative (likely the latter) that has to do with famous people, some of whom are obviously musicians (as noted by the presence of musicperson Mark Ronson). Given the highbrow nature of the CNN deal, and that Intel likely wouldn't sign on a project that didn't have a higher air of sophistication the restrained invite you see here suggests of the proceedings, this could turn out to be interesting.

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That aside, or even before it, you may ask yourself: Why should I care about the way these gutter-punks court the media? Because as it's been said before, they are doing things on the cheap, and making a grip of money doing it, and nobody understands how. But they keep on hiring people and announcing new partnerships and getting award nods with the likes of BBC, so it'd seem like Vice is doing everything right. All of which begs the question: Private Planes? Have VICE reached a threshold of recklessness? Or something else?

Either way, there are possibilities regarding this, none of which I'm going to explore, suffice to say they are spending a bunch of money on god knows what, or who, while on what, and it continues to be fascinating.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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