CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - Paul Woolmington on Gear, the new American magazine that tries to be all things to all men

America needs another men’s magazine like Bill Clinton needs pointers on picking up women. But Bob Guccione Jr, erstwhile publisher of Spin magazine and son of the Penthouse founder, Bob Sr, thinks there’s room.

America needs another men’s magazine like Bill Clinton needs

pointers on picking up women. But Bob Guccione Jr, erstwhile publisher

of Spin magazine and son of the Penthouse founder, Bob Sr, thinks

there’s room.



Flush with cash from the sale of Spin to Miller Publishing, Guccione Jr

launched Gear magazine this August. It purports to be designed for

’young, hip, urban males’ in a market already crowded with the likes of

Details, Icon, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, POV, Men’s Health, Maxim,

Playboy ...



Flicking through the launch issue of Gear, however, convinces one that

perhaps this magazine won’t get lost in the mob. Even though it is not

as crisp and pleasing to the eye as the prototype passed around Madison

Avenue earlier this summer, the debut August issue is smart, humorous

and bawdy, and manages to be a bit serious without falling into the trap

of thinking it’s the next Harpers magazine. As Gear finds its feet and

moves into a more rigid schedule, we’ll have to see if this broad

offering can hold up.



The main thing about Gear is that it appears to be an amalgam of some

pretty successful magazines - the editor simply picked the best

parts.



Solid investigative journalism like The Nation, a sex column ripped off

directly from Details’ Anka, a great interview from the pages of George,

a chic 50s fashion spread that’s a dead-ringer for last month’s

Wallpaper.



There’s a full-page of arty portraits of up-and-coming actresses that’s

very Vanity Fair, cheeky Spy-like articles about TV shows ’that must be

killed’ and the required laddish photos. Gear pulls this together to

create a hybrid magazine that doesn’t suffer an identity crisis: with an

editorial slant that is left-of-centre, open-minded and masculine.



There is one thing I don’t like about it - the name. It reeks of service

editorial that the public may shy away from, which is too bad because

the magazine has more to it than just cool stuff to buy.



Madison Avenue is confident that the public will snap up Gear. The first

issue holds about 70 pages of ads, beginning with Prada, DKNY and

Dockers and quickly running through premium liquors, cigarettes and

watches.



Guccione Jr has promised that this level won’t drop off.



Hopefully for him it won’t. With Gear’s mucho-expensive heavy paper

stock, clean and expansive art direction and sensible editorial slant,

the investment could pay off.





GEAR

Cover price:                    dollars 2.99

Frequency:                      Bi-monthly; monthly from March 1999

Target audience:                College educated men, aged 21-34

Target circulation:             200,000

Ad rate for four-colour page:   dollars 16,500

Ad rate for mono page:          dollars 12,375



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