Toxic mag proves to be in rude health

Indiana Jones, the latest Batman film and the recently released third title in The Mummy series have not only boosted box office figures this summer - they are also credited with increasing Toxic magazine's readership. The pre-teen boys' magazine has experienced a 12 per cent year-on-year growth, with 53,785 readers (according to its latest ABC figures). The growth was the largest in the pre-teen boys' market.

As a lifestyle brand, Toxic taps into the latest boys' trends - movies, gaming, football and jokes. Its aim is to create 'playground currency'. The Toxic brand has also been further reinforced with the launch of its website earlier this year.

Way to Blue founder Olly Swanton thinks the mag's success carries an important message for the media industry. 'Some titles believe a strong website cannibalises their readership,' he explains. 'Toxic has shown this doesn't have to be the case. It also disproves the theory that young people don't buy print titles.'

Toxic senior editor Matt Yeo says the series of pre-teen-friendly blockbuster films earlier this year helped to fill his pages and boost readership. 'From May onwards there have been several big films and spin-offs,' he says. 'This looks set to be replicated in 2009.'

Way to Blue's Swanton confirms Toxic is the title the top marketers in the film and entertainment industries are talking about when they have a product that is aimed at the teenage boy market.

The magazine has prospered since its launch six years ago. Yeo believes the magazine strikes a chord with young boys due to the breadth of topics it covers.

'There are specialised magazines covering football and video games, but we identified early on that there wasn't much else in the market that covered all these topics in one magazine,' says Yeo.

While Yeo admits the concept of the magazine is 'boys being naughty, cheeky, rude and disgusting', he says he also knows where to draw the line.

Shine Communications senior account executive Fred Chesher says the editorial team is usually extremely receptive to PR pitches. He has recently approached Toxic on behalf of PlayStation, Paramount and EA Games.

'Most coverage has come from game reviews and competition pages,' says Chesher.

For PROs wanting to target the eight- to 12-year-old readership, covermounts and competitions provide a way in when editorial coverage is not an option. 'We always get a fantastic response from our competitions,' confirms Yeo.

Rivals in the Toxic space have launched and floundered, but with big plans over the coming year, it is clear Toxic is much healthier than its name suggests.


Frequency: Fortnightly

Circulation: 54,000


Senior editor Matt Yeo,

020 7761 3500

Deputy editor Andy Davidson

020 7761 3708

Sub-editor/writer Luke Paton

020 7761 3748


- How is the magazine different from other pre-teen rivals?

When the magazine was launched there was very little competition, but over the years we have seen rivals launch and fold. Toxic appeals because it has a mix of football, video games, TV and film for boys, who often buy the magazine alongside other specialist titles.

- Are you open to PR pitches?

Absolutely. By email or phone is the best way to get in touch. There are lots of opportunities for PR agencies to get coverage in the magazine both in editorial and through sponsorship opportunities. We have a lot of content in print and online, and coverage in either can mean brand exposure with their target audience.

- Plans for the year ahead?

The next year is going to be a very exciting time for the magazine. The website is going to be a big priority and we are going to continue to find ways to create synergy between the website and the magazine.

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