2 minutes with: Malcolm Coles Editor, Which?

The mag has been relaunched. Why? We have always been seen as independent and a source of reliable information, but we wanted to get across the idea of being energetic and in touch.

2 minutes with: Malcolm Coles Editor, Which?
2 minutes with: Malcolm Coles Editor, Which?

So what’s new?

We have bulked up the design elements, with bigger pictures of the ‘best buys’. There’s a new section called ‘Campaigning with you’, where we get readers involved. We conduct a survey of 1,000 people in the week before we go to press each month about topical issues like the state of our food. The design is important because we are not just for old men; people do not just think about performance – they also want to see what things look like.

How have you made it more investigative?

We are devoting more space to investigations. We used to have one big article each month of about four pages. Now it can stretch to seven or eight pages, and we are doing more testing, such as the testing of fat levels in food.

What audience are you trying to reach?

Which? has always been perceived as something dads get, but it’s always been meant for all consumers. We’re trying to reach more people through a wider range of subjects, such as student finance, MP3 players, digital TV boxes and credit cards, and to get across the idea that everyone is a consumer and has consumers’ rights.

Who’s the nearest competition?

There are lots of specialist magazines, like What Hi-fi?. And newspapers are increasingly doing ‘best buy’ pages. Being a product of the Consumers’ Association, Which? is unique in that we have no advertising, which means we can tell our readers not to buy something. We don’t take any freebies. We go out and buy them like consumers. To that extent we don’t have a competitor.

What advice would you give PROs?

We love them to tell us about new products, but please don’t send freebies, as we’ll have to send them back.

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