MEDIA Profile: Sorting the men from the lads - Nigel Ambrose, editor, Maxim

It’s hard to believe that the men’s magazine market in the UK is ten years old this year. For all the fuss surrounding recent changes of editor on just about every magazine in the market, you’d think these people had been dictating our thoughts and lifestyle choices for decades. Nick Logan - who started the whole thing with Arena in 1987 - must be watching the market in the way Dr Frankenstein eyed his monster’s stroll down to the village.

It’s hard to believe that the men’s magazine market in the UK is

ten years old this year. For all the fuss surrounding recent changes of

editor on just about every magazine in the market, you’d think these

people had been dictating our thoughts and lifestyle choices for

decades. Nick Logan - who started the whole thing with Arena in 1987 -

must be watching the market in the way Dr Frankenstein eyed his

monster’s stroll down to the village.



The latest journalist to pick up a ’lifestyle’ editor’s post is Nigel

Ambrose, fresh from editing Max Power, who’s taking over at Maxim. In

the tradition of James Brown and Ekow Eshun, Ambrose is a frustrated

intellectual.



Indeed, he got into journalism a few years before his Phd would have

made him Dr Ambrose.He opted for the life of a hack when he realised

that his funding would probably run out before he’d finish his

doctorate.



He’s yet to move down to London from Max Power’s Peterborough base, and

he is very cautious about expounding on his plans before he speaks to

his staff. He will admit to wanting to expand the magazine’s features,

but that aside, he won’t give much away at all. Ambrose won’t reveal his

hopes for circulation or which magazine’s audience he sees as vulnerable

to attack.



What he will concede, however, is that he quite likes being number one

in his market and that he believes that recent major editorial changes,

especially who is in the editor’s chair - James Brown to GQ, Mike Soutar

leaving FHM, Ekow Eshun still the new boy at Arena and Peter Howarth

still fresh at Esquire - can be an effective way of attracting readers

from different titles.



’Two years ago if I had said that Max Power would have been number one

in the motoring market against Top Gear - a magazine that has a half

hour weekly television programme to use as cross-promotion - you would

have laughed,’ he says. ’We became number one at the beginning of 1996.

We did it by having a unique style and laser targeting of what our

readers want.’



That ’laser targeting’ is something he’s clearly pretty proud of and he

wants it to work for Maxim. ’Publishing is becoming increasingly

sophisticated these days,’ he says. ’Magazine editors need to reflect

that. That’s why I’m keen to build a relationship with PR agencies,

particularly with regards to advertorials and promotions. No-one knows

more about laser targeting a magazine’s readers than its editorial team

and getting advertorials and promotions right can only be good for

everyone.’



Ambrose thinks the key to Maxim’s success will be in finding its

voice.



He believes men are facing confusing times and need a strong male voice

to guide them. ’Maxim’s for men, not lads,’ he says. ’It’s for men who

want to be entertained but they don’t believe you have to settle for the

lowest common denominator. It’s all about finding the right

attitude.



It was Max Power’s attitude that helped us overtake Top Gear, and that’s

what’ll get us to the top in the men’s market.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1993

Features editor, Max Power

1994

Consumer editor, Max Power

1995

Editor, Max Power

1995

Editor, Maxim



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.