Grazia, the women's style bible from Italy, is about to shake up the newsstands of British retailers.
In targeting ABC1 women aged 25 to 45 with a weekly diet of fashion, beauty and celebrity news and features, Emap appears confident it has spotted a lucrative gap in the market. It is pumping £16m into the launch, the biggest investment in the publisher's history.
Grazia, which launches next Tuesday (15 February), is aiming for sales of 150,000 within its first year, compared to 245,000 in Italy. Although it has a format similar to its Italian sister title (which dates back to 1938) and it takes its cue from fashion, the British Grazia is broader in scope, with a bigger emphasis on celebrity.
'It is a brave move but a weekly up-market magazine with celebrities is the most obvious gap in the market', says editor Jane Bruton, who previously edited Eve magazine. 'Grazia is the Holy Grail. Many people have wanted to do it, but didn't think they could make it work. There has not been anything as revolutionary as this since the launch of Marie Clare 16 years ago, the first women's magazine with brains.'
Cocksure talk, but Grazia's launch team has an impressive pedigree. Bruton is a former Sunday Times fashion editor, editor-in-chief Fiona McIntosh used to edit Elle, Company and ES magazine, while deputy editor Carole Watson who runs the newsdesk, is a former News of the World features editor.
Bruton oversees 40 journalists and describes Grazia as providing a 'golden opportunity' for PROs. She advises PROs to give two weeks notice for products to feature in the magazine, while stressing there is always room for good stories: 'We want exclusives, new events, A-list celebrities and fresh spin on emotional issues. We will cover the glamorous end of the news agenda and want to be first with news.'
So how will Grazia's 100 pages of editorial be carved up? The front cover will picture a celebrity in the news. It will open on a party (pictures) section of up to seven pages, using paparazzi shots in the classic style of the famous agency Magnum Photos, 'not pictures of cellulite or sweaty armpits', according to Bruton.
Then comes news, which will offer fresh human-interest angles on the people in the headlines. Incorporated in news is '10 hot buys', featuring fashion, health and beauty products. Halpern MD Jenny Halpern says: '"Hot buys" offers good opportunities because it is not price-orientated and there is flexibility for interpretation.'
Fashion will number at least 23 pages of shopping news and guides, fashion shoots, plus two features, such as a report on New York Fashion Week, and columnists including Evening Standard fashion editor Laura Craik.
There are also sections on beauty and on healthcare, a food section with recipes by Gordon Ramsey's wife Tana Ramsey, a living guide featuring a 'house of the week' and a weekly travel feature accompanied by a Grazia holiday deal.
But it is Grazia's weekly frequency that is getting PROs excited. Modus Publicity MD Julian Vogel says: 'Grazia wants to focus on products in the shops that week. The supply chain is changing from week to week, and it is frustrating when you're looking for items in a monthly title that are sold out.'
Cake account director Greg James agrees: 'The weekly pace will offer more opportunities for fast-moving fashion. Its readers will be working urbanites so convenience products are going to work well too.'
Grazia purports to explore subjects in depth, with case studies on life experiences, says Kellie Delaney Issacs, an account manager at healthcare agency Ozone, who helped pitch a feature on love addiction and the therapy centre behind the cure into the first edition.
Nonetheless, the magazine has its share of sceptics. The UK magazine market already has 19 women's weeklies, and industry pundits believe only one in five launches are successful.
'Magazines like Grazia are all sizzle and no steak - so on the face of it they're a perfect vehicle for hungry PROs in need of column inches,' says The Fish Can Sing partner Dan Holliday. 'It will be interesting to see exactly how much the UK edition pulls on the brand's strong Italian heritage and how hard it will fight to establish its own identity.'
But he cautions: 'Emap is going to have to tread a fine line between premium and mass appeal - editorial will need to maintain a certain level of prestige to attract key fashion advertisers, but be mass enough to drive a circulation high enough to sustain a weekly. PROs should hang back a few weeks before planning how Grazia fits into their media plans.'
Gary Bott, fashion director of consumer agency Iroquois, adds: 'Turning around editorial on a weekly glossy is ambitious. It will have to cover the entire spectrum of brands in order to survive.'
GRAZIA EDITORIAL CONTACTS
Editor-in-chief: Fiona McIntosh
Editor: Jane Bruton
Associate editor: Marianne Jones
Deputy editor: Carole Watson
Style director: Paula Reed
Features director: Helen Johnston
Lifestyle director: Neil McLennan
Beauty director: Nicola Moulton
News editor: Niki Waldegrave
Health editor: Brigid Moss
Shopping editor: Stefan Lindeman
Fashion editor: Siobhan Mallen
Entertainment director: Michelle Davies
Editorial general 020 7520 6454/6402
Fashion/shopping 0207 520 6417
Entertainment 0207 520 6442
Features 0207 520 6493
Health and beauty 0207 520 6417
Lifestyle 0207 295 6779