Girls Gone Wild tries tamer approach

On April 15, an unexpected player will enter the magazine world: Girls Gone Wild.

On April 15, an unexpected player will enter the magazine world: Girls Gone Wild.

The launch of the Girls Gone Wild Magazine is not without its risks, as the controversial brand is seeking to appeal to a large audience in a visible way, breaking out of the adults-only aisle to find mainstream newsstand recognition.

However, the magazine wouldn't be the brand's first attempt at a more demure product. In addition to the brand's "lifestyle video" catalog of more than 400 titles - created by Mantra Films and distributed through home video, television, subscription video on demand, and pay-per-view, the franchise also sells contemporary apparel for both men and women, as well as music compilations.

How the magazine will be positioned is unknown. Curtis Circulation, which will be distributing the publication through its 50,000 retail outlets, deferred media requests to Mantra Film's agency 5W Public Relations, which declined to comment.

Although it will not feature nudity, the periodical will attempt to continue what it calls the "fun, freedom, and youthful exuberance" closely associated with flashing female co-eds. The franchise's jump into print presupposes that its consumer base wants to be identified publicly with Girls Gone Wild.

For $9.99, the premiere issue, which includes a video, will feature a guide of Spring Break spots, a behind-the-scenes look at the work lives of Girls Gone Wild cameramen, and a pictorial of the Kardashian sisters.

In a release, Francis says the magazine launch is a "chance to bring the fun of Girls Gone Wild to a wider public through newsstand sales and subscriptions," citing the brand's growth into a life-style product.

Despite the inroads the company has made with other products, one PR expert says this extension might be premature.

"Girls Gone Wild's brand is based on a group of girls going wild and doing wacky things most people frown upon," says Fraser Seitel, author of The Practice of Public Relations. "To jump into a print market before having established a more mainstream franchise base seems a great reach."

Unlike Playboy Enterprises, whose TV network and substantial franchise holdings stem from a magazine, Girls Gone Wild is attempting to do the reverse, a tough task according to Seitel.

"[That will be] a hard sell for a lifestyle magazine," he predicts, "since anybody who ventured to buy it would probably want to hide it inside a newspaper, in terms of where the brand is now."

The magazine's intended market, according to the published release, is young men and women, ages 18 to 35. The title plans to attract its target audience with "topics familiar to those who enjoy the Girls Gone Wild DVDs and pay-per-view specials," along with pictorials of college women in the settings traditionally associated with 18-and-over girls "potentially" going wild - beaches, night clubs, and dorm rooms, to name a few.

Unofficial celebrity Girls Gone Wild supporters, such as Paris Hilton, Kimberley Stewart, and Lindsay Lohan, have helped to expand the brand's visibility.

The magazine will likely do well with faithful customers, but it is a long shot to gain new ones, Seitel says.

"Aside from the men and women featured on the videos, the buyers would seem to be loyal customers who are already familiar with the franchise and are hungry for a magazine," he says. "A broader audience would seem to me a significant challenge."

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