How many more articles can be published/ commissioned about getting pissed in Blackpool/Warsaw/Hamburg, getting a six-pack stomach in 15 days/four weeks/one month/ten minutes or finding that elusive G spot? The sector has stood still for too long and everyone knows what happens to creations that fail to evolve.
The strength of Jack is its diversity, which makes it ideally suited to the two-minute society which we inhabit because it's an easy dip-in read. But which bits of this dynamic pot pourri do I think work? All the bits that you don't expect to see in a traditional men's magazine I thought were wonderful - possibly just because they were refreshing. It's not my fault that my expectation levels of men's magazines have been so well managed.
My highlights here were the wildlife photographs, and the short (football) story. The other bits that worked were James Brown's traditional areas of strength - the silly bits (time waster letter) and articles bringing an original perspective ("TV dissected
about The Office). The elements that didn't work, rather predictably, were the articles that could have appeared in any other men's magazines. I thought that fashion just tried too hard and was dull, and the article on shirts was patronising and has been done many times before. However, by far the worst article was James Brown's absolute non-conversation with Robert De Niro. Sorry James, stick to being a chief executive and not a journalist.
The sales team deserve a pat on the back for the quality of the advertisers they persuaded to support the launch issue. The only downside is that you feel the advertising (Nautica, Mulberry, Xbox, Audi) probably defines the target readership better than the editorial. Jack's readers should be a more eclectic group than many of its competitors and it will certainly take revenue from other men's magazines.
Having lived with the magazine for a couple of days, its biggest strength is also its Achilles heel. Sure it's got something for everyone, the problem is it doesn't have enough for anyone. It works as a Jack of all trades, but because it is master of none I feel it will only be a limited success.
Will it ever make any advance on selling 100,000?