Vice long ago morphed from a magazine about dirty hipster shit into a Corporation, which sells Cool. The fact that Vice is often referred to as "hip" is a dead giveaway of its clients lackluster levels of coolness.
This is not a new idea, but it's a fascinating one to watch in action. It's hard to condemn Vice, because their content is still good, and they make absolutely no effort to conceal exactly what it is they're doing. They're subsidizing, for example, groundbreaking reporting trips to Liberia with some of the most comically blatant corporate ad takeovers ever devised by god or man.
The NYT today explains just how happy their boring, stolid clients like Intel and Dell are with Vice's marketing efforts. And why not? Vice puts on good parties. Probably the best parties that the marketing guys from Dell and Intel get to go to all year (not to mention all the reporters who show up too, which tends to lead to things like profiles in the NYT, and even here! We're not mad atcha). So is there a downside to all this moneymakin' party-having brand-building?
"We have values and norms that support our brand," [Dell's VP of marketing] said. "Vice has been great about staying within those brand tenets."
No matter how cool it looks on the outside, it's never really cooler than the VP of marketing at Dell. Every media outlet sells ads, but Vice sells itself. So Brooklyn kids, don't complain about how Shit Is So Corporate Now if you like going to Vice parties. That's the mechanism by which it happens!