The editor’s view: Martin Daubney, Loaded
Right, the first, brutal question you have to ask yourself with a freesheet is: if this were on sale, would it actually sell?
Metro, I believe, would. Well worth 20 of your Earth pence. But Shortlist? Well, let’s peek at the cover. It looks like an ad for the Autograph range at Marks & Spencer. And if it’s a weekly’s job to be timely (which it intrinsically is) then this feels well wide of the mark. Am I missing the point, or has Daniel Craig’s Bond movie been and long gone? Just a thought.
Coverlines? ‘Forget the grouting'(can’t their older, ABC1 readers afford a builder?); ‘go nowhere near IKEA'(they’ll be at Habitat); ‘put off mowing the lawn'(oh, if you insistâ€¦). To define a launch issue by what you shouldn’t be doing feels arse about tit to me. What does this magazine stand for?
Look as hard as you like, you’ll find no real laughter in Shortlist – maybe laughing is considered too ‘young”? It’s full of lists, and I’ve never seen a funny list in my life (well, apart from Hitler’s grocery list). The only laugh-out-loud moment is when its unfunny columnist predicts Fergie will ‘crush’Mourinho by the end of the season ‘or I’ll eat my Sky+ card’– on the day the Special One resigned! Better get your knife and fork out, son.
Design-wise, it feels a bit ‘in-flight”. The use of colour-coded sections is a well-worn route, but it jars when most ‘sections’are one page long.
Having said that, I loved the DPS of pea coats. It’s the best thing in Shortlist by a country mile, but that’s what I’d expect: style director Adrian Clark is ex-Loaded.
The media buyers’ view
The media buyers Press Gazette spoke to were generally upbeat about the debut issue of the new men’s weekly.
Alex Randall, head of press for Vizeum, said the title looked strong, with the tone in tune with its target urban, young ABC1 audience.
‘It’s refreshing to see it’s not full of scantily clad young women, which they always said it wouldn’t be, but with a lot of men’s magazines that seems to be the route they’ve gone down,’he said.
Shortlist follows Sport into the free weekly market for men, the latter notched up a debut ABC of 317,093 for the period January to June.
Randall said Sport had helped carve out a market for Shortlist. ‘I think if this was the first to market, people initially would have been hesitant – that’s just the nature of the market. But because it isn’t, it’s got plenty of strong advertising.”
His only major criticism was that the bitesize editorial in Shortlist left the reader wanting longer, in-depth pieces.
‘I understand the strategy behind having small bites of information, and lists and data,’he said, ‘but I think it’s strong enough that possibly there could be a bit more in the way of in-depth editorial pieces.”
This was echoed by Dan Pimm, media buyer of Universal McCann: ‘I think the listing thing gets a bit tedious, there’s too many there – it’s overkill on the lists.
‘To be honest, I’d prefer to see some meatier stories so we know it’s going to be kept. We want them to treat it as a paid-for title.”
Tom Colin, 19
I normally read magazines such as NME, Kerrang!, Q and Empire, and I like this magazine. It’s a bit more adult than your normal lads’ mag but it doesn’t make it any less appealing to me. I buy mags that have gig listings, film and music reviews and football scores, and this has all of that in it. The articles are quite short but they tell you what you want to know. I would definitely pick it up next time I see it being handed out.
Matt Clarke, 20
I usually read music and film magazines like NME and Empire, but I think that this magazine is really good. The fact that it’s free doesn’t make me think any less of it; I think it’s a good magazine and I would have no problem reading it. The cover is really good and there’s a lot of articles on different subjects, things you might not normally read. It is more adult than magazines such as Nuts or Zoo, but I don’t mind that.
Neil Kent, 31
I like this magazine. It has good content and is very varied. I normally read FHM and GQ and this magazine doesn’t have as many pages as those but the fashion in here was really good. I also liked the sport and the gadgets. I don’t think the fact that it’s free makes it seem bad – I think that it makes it even better. I enjoyed reading it and I would stop to get it again.
Ashley Cowan, 28
The only magazine that I normally read is Uncut, other than that I read newspapers. But I liked this mag, I thought it was really good. I liked all the top 10 bits because rather than spending ages reading a whole article the facts you need are there in front of you. It’s a bit more adult but it’s not boring. I would never read Nuts or Zoo, but I like this.
Darren Emerson, 30
I occasionally pick up a free magazine or paper but I only really read music magazines, to be honest. I’m not that mad about it, I find these free magazines pretty irritating. They are good to flick through on the train but I don’t like the articles – I think they’re always pretty shallow and immature. I haven’t read all of this magazine and I’m not sure whether I’d pick it up again.