Media: Double Standards - 'The art team called it the "Daniel Flower" issue'

As Arena marks its 20th anniversary, two players in the men's magazine market talk about who their best cover star has been, and what they like most about their jobs.

JAMIE BILL PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, GQ

- What has been the most exciting editorial development in your magazine this year?

GQ Style has become the most successful title in its sector (both in terms of advertising and circulation). Its success reflects both the success of the GQ brand, and that the team has created a magazine that compliments, rather than competes with, the monthly title.

- What has been the most interesting commercial deal you have done recently?

Our most recent deal has been to secure Selfridges as a sponsor for our guide to the fashion season, GQ Essentials, which was published in the spring and autumn. This is an appropriate tie-up because we have a relationship, both editorially and commercially, with many of their suppliers.

- Are men's magazines at the premium end of the market immune from the circulation declines which are hitting the "lads' mags"?

This suggests that men are not buying magazines as they used to and I don't buy this! It's to do with how good the magazines are and whether or not they fulfil the reader's expectations. In our market (described by you as the premium end), GQ has never been stronger, while our two nearest competitors, Esquire and Arena, have seen double-digit decline in the most recent ABC period. The perception that the sector is declining is obviously highlighted because of the fact that the mid-market titles - FHM, Maxim, Loaded - responded to the threat of the weeklies by copying them and, as a result, lost credibility with readers and advertisers alike.

- Which man best exemplifies your title and why?

I would somewhat grudgingly concede that this would be our editor, Dylan Jones, who not only knows the reader, but also lives (and dresses!) the lifestyle.

- What's the single best feature of your magazine?

Great writing.

- What do you offer to advertisers online?

GQ.com has existed for more than 11 years and has been on mobile for the past two, so we have a wealth of experience in delivering for the advertiser. Most recently, we've introduced extensive video content, including exclusive coverage of the men's shows, blogs from the GQ team and downloadable playlists, all of which can be sponsored by the advertisers.

- Which is your favourite cover from the past year?

We've had a great run of covers this year; we're confident of announcing another circulation increase in February of next year. I particularly like our current December cover with Daniel Craig, he exemplifies all of GQ's values, but it also serves to show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, pictures of men on the covers do sell magazines.

- How would you describe your approach to advertisers and their agencies?

Collegiate. We recognise that partnerships are key and that our responsibility as a media owner is to deliver value to the advertiser. We acknowledge that price is important, but it's only one factor in a negotiation.

- What's the best thing about your job?

Working with clever, stimulating and creative people.

DAN FLOWER PUBLISHER, ARENA

- What has been the most exciting editorial development in your magazine this year?

Anything Justin Quirk has done. Having probably the finest writer in British magazines at our disposal certainly makes everyone's lives a lot easier. He's been Emap's "Writer of the Year" two years out of the past three, and this year, he has covered everything from threesomes and tailoring to the Iranian nuclear crisis, and this sums us up.

- What has been the most interesting commercial deal you have done recently?

No comment.

- Are men's magazines at the premium end of the market immune from the circulation declines which are hitting the "lads' mags"?

No, sadly. The premium end, in my opinion, is in a better place. But that said, it is by no means immune to the pressures of the market. Luxury sectors in retail and design are growing and seeing more investment, and magazines that innovate for that market will have a better chance of buoyancy in the long term. I think it's fair to say that the bottom end of the market is saturated, and that the people who have traditionally tried to claim the high end have done nothing interesting in a long time.

- Which man best exemplifies your title and why?

Probably me. But you'd rather me say Paul Bettany or Daniel Craig. You know the type - they go to the football but read a lot, spend a lot of money on clothes but don't waste too much time getting ready, and know about politics as well as computer games.

- What's the single best feature of your magazine?

Tone. We are funny without being juvenile; clever without being smug; stylish without being pretentious. You can't buy that, or rip it off. Even though plenty have tried.

- What do you offer to advertisers online?

A place that isn't just "the magazine redone digitally". The Arena blog (a magazine first, by the way) almost functions like a continuous updating supplement. For as long as I can remember, every issue of Arena had more material to put in than we could fit.

- Which is your favourite cover from the past year?

Daniel Craig: the art team called it the "Daniel Flower" issue due to the remarkable similarity between the two of us (ish). Yet again, getting the coolest new stars first.

- How would you describe your approach to advertisers and their agencies?

Things are different now. I get involved in a much more vertical level and enjoy this. The relationship is much more committee-based and consultative and, as a result, I have worked on some very exciting projects that traditionally would have come through PR types. The agencies are now more empowered to do these kinds of deals, as opposed to simply just "trading space".

- What's the best thing about your job?

The Arena team. It is a very close one that operates like a pack of wolves ... albeit cuddly, well-dressed ones. Except for Rich Galpin, the executive editor, he's more like a bear.

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).