The News of the World hopes to shake-up the world of women’s magazines and Sunday supplements with the launch of Fabulous this Sunday.
The move is a radical departure from the NoW supplement’s 26-year history – currently called Sunday. Printed on heavier paper stock, and with a staff of 23 journalists, Fabulous hopes to attract bigger-name advertisers.
The main editorial players include Closer’s launch editor Jane Johnson as editorial director, creative director Mark Hayman of short-lived shopping magazine Happy, former Reveal celebrity editor Sally Eyden as deputy editor, and editor Mandy Appleyard, who worked on the launches of Closer and Grazia.
Fabulous is the first newspaper supplement to feature an exclusive fashion shop on its website. As well as its click-to-buy facility, www.fabulousmag.co.uk will carry fresh and archive material, interactive blogs written by the magazine’s columnists, and video content.
Pagination has increased by 20 pages to 76 over the old Sunday magazine, although it will incorporate the TV guide which was previously a separate pull-out.
Fabulous, which will cover fashion, celebrity, real life and beauty in equal measure, will be contending with the huge success of the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine – the first newspaper supplement to target women exclusively.
Fabulous editor Appleyard said: ‘Fabulous is definitely a women’s magazine and Sunday never really laid claim to that – it was a supplement that had a bit of something for everybody.
‘There will be a much more distinct tone of voice. It will be friendlier and warmer; more woman to woman. Fabulous, as its name suggests, is unashamedly feminine.
‘Jane [Johnson] and I came up with the name in my front room in Yorkshire. We felt it was positive, feminine, fun, a little bit ironic, a little bit kitsch, wholehearted, and not hedging its bets.
‘It ticked every box of what we wanted the brand to be, and has all sorts of fashion connotations.”
The new magazine also leans towards the quirky and irreverent, reflected in the choice of Russell Brand to write the first of its new celebrity columns. The famed lothario and comedian writes about how he believes in love at first sight and how love will redeem us all.
‘We really liked what he did for us, so if they like what we do with it then I’m sure we’ll talk again,’says Appleyard.
The emphasis is on funny, spiky, opinionated. We would have included him before but he wouldn’t have been as good a fit as he is in Fabulous.”
The magazine has signed up presenter of Channel 4’s 10 Years Younger Nicky Hambleton-Jones as its makeover specialist, and Handbag.com’s fashion director Tracey Lea Sayer.
Jamie Oliver’s existing Sunday column will be extended across a spread in Fabulous, Mystic Meg stays, but the Sunday Lunch With… column has been dropped. Dr Hilary Jones will continue his column but with a new celebrity element.
Since Appleyard’s arrival at News Magazines she has tried to avoid
Hollywood covers, tending more towards the ‘glamorous domestic models’which will, in general, continue in Fabulous.
Reaching up-market women through the News of the World may sound optimistic; the newspaper is perceived by some as a bloke-ish tabloid full of sex, scandal and sport.
But according to the National Readership Survey, 47 per cent of its readers are female while 38 per cent are in the ABC1 bracket.
Appleyard is loath to say the Sunday magazine has gone up-market despite the posher brands being advertised.
‘It’s still a mass-market magazine and always will be; it is part of the News of the World package,’she says. ‘Jane Johnson calls it ‘mass class’; it’s mass market but we like to think it has class.
‘ I think that the calibre of photography, the way we are shooting things and the way the magazine is designed, is a tribute to our creative director Mark Hayman, it feels like you are in a very classy environment.”
There is still an advertising slot for the not-so-classy sex lines and mail-order advertising, though it has been considerably reduced.
Also expected to be reduced are advertisements for the likes of pink ‘Faberge-inspired’eggs that play an ‘uplifting melody’when opened.