Within a few weeks, from having no men’s magazines, there are now two! They both have different target audiences however.
‘Nuts’ is aiming for the 16-24 year olds and come from the same publishing house as ‘Loaded’ and ‘Uncut’. Recent research showed that younger males are often embarrassed to buy magazines such a s ‘FHM’ and ‘Loaded’ because they feel they can’t leave them around in case others pick them up.
Nuts has addressed this issue, as one letter from the 6th –13th Feb 2004 edition says, ‘I like it (Nuts magazine) in particular because I can leave it lying round the house without worrying about the kids picking it up and seeing something awkward for me to explain.’
They still feature photo-shoots of women with not many clothes on but nothing is shown. There are even straplines such as ‘Jordan’s jungle strip show.’
When Nuts launched a million magazines were given away for free, the next two issues were half price and there was a mass of adverts in different media forms including television commercials where women were warned not to expect any help on a Thursday (because that’s the day Nuts gets into the shops). This was necessary because Zoo Weekly was being launched the next week. The adverts were seen as funny which was needed as it provided a talking point for the target audience.
Zoo Weekly’s TV advert features people running up a hill to a giant Zoo magazine but this wasn’t as funny so will tend to be forgotten by the younger audience.
The language in Nuts is occasionally colloquial… “Their recommended daily does is two – Ryder necks all 28 of them!” The magazine adopts a rather matey tone to appeal to the men in this age group.
There aren’t many adverts in the early issues… possibly because in the first few weeks they want to build up a reputation for content, not for having a high proportion of adverts. On of the advertisements they do have is for Blockbuster Video, advertising a horror film, ‘Wrong Turn’ and Tomb Raider’, featuring Angelina Jolie. This emphasises that the target audience is men aged 16-24 who like scary movies and attractive women in action films.
In the nuts press release, it was said, “With fascinating stories and memorable photography, Nuts will be the fuel for conversations in bars up and down the land.”
Mentioning bars in the press release reinforces the stereotypical image of the 16-24 year old male….(who is carefree, has few responsibilities or ties, probably still lives at home and has few financial drains on his resources.)
The “fascinating stories” is mentioned because the stories intend to be interesting… (unusual, offbeat and quirky, not run of the mill) to read for example a Ford Mustang for £15k and a whale that exploded in the middle of the road. (Generally speaking text only runs to approximately 12.5% of each article ensuring that the photos are more prominent and important, also conoting that the reader isn’t so much interested in reading articles as looking at pictures)
‘Zoo Weekly’ is targeted towards the slightly older 24-35 year old male. This has been done for many reasons. One of which is that these ages are more predictable for advertisers and as Herman and Chomsky identified, ‘Advertisers are more interested in wealthier audiences.‘ This way it separates itself slightly from ‘Nuts’ too. (In fact the younger age range of Nuts is less likely to have so much disposable income, despite living at home with few overheads and a more or less free reign over what they spend their money on, these young men aren’t yet earning the bigger bucks of the next age group. They are of course being encouraged to Dream On!)
‘Zoo’ features Nell McAndrew on the front but whereas in ‘Nuts’ Kelly Brock has a cheerful, wide-mouthed friendly smile (the variety identified by Marjorie Ferguson as the ‘super-smiler’: confident, assertive, big smile = the hard sell), Nell is seductive with her red bikini and her hair wet as if from swimming, thus creating the image of temptress: seductive and sensual.
The older audience is targeted by the sex-related features. The male gaze theory of Laura Mulvey’s is seen to be true by many of the photos, such as the Angelina Jolie feature of her sex scenes in various films. (Giving the impression that this is all men want in a woman.) The captions tend to humorous (although often coarse and or sexist) ‘The auditions for womb raider were going well.‘ Or downright vulgar ‘He’d literally f****d her to death‘, not language you’d expect to see in a men’s weekly (or at least not suitable coffee table material.!) The strapline on the cover, ‘Chin up sexy‘ is also an example of arrogant (and blatant objectification!) language which separates the Zoo reader from the Nuts male.
Zoo Weekly tends to be very sex-obsessed and uses colloquial and often quite offensive language to attract a certain type of older man. (Perhaps one who is more settled in his life, wanting to recapture his rebellious youth vicariously?)
There is also more violence and it is portrayed in a certain and possibly unexpected way. Whereas Nuts limits it to one page with, ‘Look away‘ clearly written around it, Zoo boasts, ‘over 5 pages of blood.‘
In the editorial for Zoo there’s a quote, ‘We’re the only mag for blokes who like a laugh and want to see regular photos of sex between species.‘ (and yes there’s a picture of two turtles at it in one edition and an elephant and a rhino in another.)
So the language and content sums up the magazine and how each targets the reader, providing an audience for the beer, watch, toiletries and music store adverts.
TOM JENKINS 2004