Men's magazines such as GQ and Arena need to follow the example of
Esquire and stop attempting to compete with big-selling 'lads' mags'
such as FHM, Maxim and Loaded.
That's the view of Martin Raymond, editor of biannual trends, brands and
culture magazine Viewpoint.
NatMags' Esquire 'is beginning to put its finger back on the pulse',
according to Raymond, and the much-vaunted policy of returning men to
its cover and abandoning images of scantily-clad females marks a
sensible return to the title's traditional values.
Esquire editor Peter Howarth admitted that the magazine had been
'panicked' into following the trend set by Loaded and FHM but had
recognised the futility of attempting to compete.
'We got sucked into that formula,' he said. 'Frankly, we were failing
abysmally. Everyone was terrified of what would happen to news-stand
In the event, there was a 39 per cent drop in Esquire's year-on-year
sales, from 100,000 to 61,000. Nevertheless, Howarth insisted that the
magazine would persist with its cover policy and pointed out that the
magazine has shed readers but retained the advertisers it wants.
Competitors have criticised Howarth's policy.
Raymond argued that the image of masculinity put forward by some
magazines was increasingly outdated. 'They have forgotten two important
things about male consumers: they are intelligent and they do want to
think about what they consume,' he said.
The September edition of Viewpoint will concentrate on the issue of male