Cosmo’s health and beauty magazine must stick to its subject, Liz
It’s the first sunny Sunday we’ve had this spring and I should be
rollerblading in Regent’s Park or swimming to improve my upper arms.
Instead, I’m reviewing Zest, Cosmopolitan’s health and beauty
supplement, now a magazine in its own right.
This is very frustrating.
The last time I read Cosmo, I sadly realised I had grown up. It bored me
stupid. Zest seems to be targeted at a slightly older audience. Sex is
mentioned only twice on the cover and inside it’s discussed in an
intellectual sort of way. Yes, there’s an article on orgasms, but it’s
all about how many seconds they last, not how to get one.
The rest of the articles jump from one part of the body to another. But
it’s not just leotards and weights. There’s also a good smattering of
alternative-type articles mixed in, because this is the 90s. There’s a
feature on past life therapy and another on the Saturn effect on our
lives. Which I suppose is health and beauty for your mind.
Then there’s a section on summer dresses. Isn’t this starting to go off
the subject a bit?
Which brings me to my conclusion. There must have been a very good
reason for Cosmo to launch a health and beauty magazine. And spring is
the right time. But almost every other woman’s magazine also includes
articles of this type - they just have other things in there as well.
And if Zest starts to go off the subject, then it’s no longer a ‘health
and beauty magazine’ but competing with the likes of Cosmo, Marie
Claire, Company etc.
The fact is, there is nothing very different about it - its layout, its
tone of voice, its cover. What is different is its focus. It’ll be
interesting to hear how well it sells. Now I’m off to the gym.
Liz Whiston is the lithe creative partner at the HHCL Brasserie