Nuts a groundbreaking men’s weekly magazine, hit the newsstands on January 22nd 2004 a week before Emap’s Zoo Weekly made its debut. IPC had set aside an £8 m advertising budget for the company’s first product launch (of Nuts) since it was taken over by Time Warner in 2001.
Men’s weeklies are the newest concept to hit the magazine market and they have already become a battle ground with Emap It is edited by Paul Merrill, former editor of women’s weekly Chat. He says the magazine will feature, ‘sex, sport and news.’
A copy of the latest dummy issue, seen by the Observer, features several pages of news, film, TV and computer game reviews plus TV listings. Emap has borrowed from tabloid newspapers by putting sport on the back pages. Other features include a regular column by comedian Mark Thomas and cult football comic strip ‘Striker.’ Like other men’s lifestyle magazines, Zoo carries numerous photos of scantily clad women.
Emap’s consumer magazine business, one of four divisions accounts for about 35% of its £967m annual turnover. Emap wants to persuade highspending young males to buy a weekly title.
IPC’s Loaded and Emap’s FHM are among the biggest selling men’s glossy monthlies and Emap wants to expand the market by launching what it claims in the world’s first weekly for men. It aims to win 150,000 readers within 12 months and has earmarked £8.5m for the launch. It hopes the title will break even in three years. Advertisers are eager to target bigspending young men who are difficult to reach.
Nuts will be given away free to more than one million men before it goes on sale. While the diet of sports, news, TV and women promised by Nuts sounds similar to the sexy, funny and football stories that will appear in Zoo, the editorial director of IOPC, Mike Soutar, insisted that Nuts was not aimed at the same hard core of lads.
Nuts will be aimed at an audience of 1625, while Zoo’s is 2434, but IPC hope to attract a broader age range. Nuts will be edited by Phil Hilton, former editor of the defunct Later magazine, with former Loaded editor Derek Harbinson taking the deputy role. Zoo’s circulation target is 150,000 within a year of the launch, Nuts declined to give a figure but claimed that they would be delighted with 200,000.
Nuts has its puff going across the top, ‘New! The First and Best Men’s Weekly.’ The name is in large red 3D effect letters. A large orange rectangular box states, ‘Only 60p’ though it does state its usual price of £1:20.
Celebrity glamour model Kelly Brook graces the front cover. She is on her hands and knees looking straight at the camera with a huge smile on her face. (The supersmiler…) A large amount of cleavage is on show which coincides with the strap line’s innuendo, ‘She’s way out in front!‘ An inset square photo of Ricky Gervais and at the bottom across are Thierry Henry and Ruud Van Nistelroy. The back cover is quite important (in telling us who the intended reader is) in that the advert is a full page for Hugo Boss fragrance, showing young man maybe 20 years old with designer stubble in close up but with blurred focus framing face with ‘Your Rules‘ written on his hand somewhat below the slogan ‘Your Fragrance‘, showing quite clearly that this magazine is aimed at young men who are not ashamed to be interested in the content of this magazine; perhaps indicating that this magazine is going to rewrite the rules for men’s magazines, as they are doing by being a men’s weekly.
Inside the front cover are more glossy colour photos of a few more subjects; weird photos, real life, true stories, hardware and a TV guide. The character of the shots shows thatthere is going to be an emphasis of unusual angles or actions shots. The editorial claims that the target audience will be interested in news, amazing pictures, sport and TV. It states that the magazine will be passed on dogeared and read. In a matey goodhumoured way men are going to be entertained.
The contents page is divided up into five sections; News, Features, TV, Regulars and Sport, less than 12.5% is text, the rest is pictures. The captions for the pictures are funny and sarcastic. The quality of the photos is high. There is the inclusion of statistics and facts on cars and gadgets. (Which of course the stereotypical male of this age is fascinated by!) The TV highlights for the week are: sport, violence and women (though not solely and some dramas and documentaries are include in the recommended viewing.)
Nuts already has unique conventions. One word flash captions all over the text and pictures are either yellow with black block capitals or red with yellow font.
Like Nuts , Zoo has its own puff going across the top, ‘New! World’s Best Men’s Weekly! Every Wednesday.‘ Zoo is in large 3D effect with Weekly in back italic underneath. Jordan is on the front cover, standing up straight with her lower body slightly contorted and her hand on her hip. She looks straight at the reader, mouth slightly parted to give a sultry look (what Marjorie Ferguson identified as the Romantic or Sexual look usually aimed at the single male!) A large orange rectangular box with, ‘New Mag for Men! Girls, Football and Funny Stuff,’ with a circular orange box that has ‘Still only £1‘ but underneath that, ‘Usual price £1:20‘. A boxed picture of extreme sports and a circular box with a football photo, is surrounded by speech marks and straplines. Along the bottom are categories within the magazine ; TV Guided, New, Reviews, Columnists, Titmiss, Superbowl and Monkeys.
The inside cover has an advert for the DVD, ‘Wrong Turn’, which looks as if it’s a horror movie. The contents are divided into six categories, Zoo snapped, Zoo news, Zoo features, Zoo reviews, Zoo TV and Zoo sport. The editorial typifies its target audience with vocabulary such as, ‘…lovingly in your marly hands…’ (?) ‘Make a note in your diary / palm pilot/ fag packet…‘
The content of Zoo is certainly more smutty, with its captions more colloquial and innuendo based, ”ere Andre, stop playing with yourself, some of us need a dump.’ And ‘I know you’re a tortoise, Dave but hurry up…‘ (of a picture of two tortoises having sex.!) The quality of the photos are not as high as Nuts as they’re not as glossy.
Zoo’s main content seems to be destruction, war, funny, stuff, sport and women with the back pages in tabloid style dedicated to sport. The TV guide has an unmissable program each day, with things like: The Simpsons, Chelsea vs Charlton, Snooker, The Woman with the 14 stone Tumour!