SPOTLIGHT ON: EVA - Can Eva’s revamp lure a new audience and retain the old? Or are the changes to IPC’s downmarket magazine too extreme? By Alasdair Reid

There have been some radical relaunches in recent times. Andrew Marr’s last cast of the dice at the Independent, for instance. The many guises of what is now Liberty Radio for another. But the Eva relaunch, planned for 26 February, is surely in a league of its own (Campaign, last week).

There have been some radical relaunches in recent times. Andrew

Marr’s last cast of the dice at the Independent, for instance. The many

guises of what is now Liberty Radio for another. But the Eva relaunch,

planned for 26 February, is surely in a league of its own (Campaign,

last week).



Eva launched in September 1994 as a downmarket real-life story and

celebrity gossip magazine with a target audience of C2D women aged

between 20 and 44 and a target circulation of 300,000. It found the

desired audience, but didn’t manage to snare enough of them. Eva’s most

recent circulation figure was 216,575 (July-December 1997). To call it

ailing might be too strong, but it certainly wasn’t a star

performer.



The idea behind a relaunch is to tweak the editorial product so that it

appeals to greater numbers of its target audience. When IPC throws out

the Eva bathwater it also plans to jettison sink, bidet and shower unit

along with bath and baby.



Eva is to mutate into an upmarket glossy weekly aimed at 18- to

24-year-olds, particularly women in their late teens. It is, in short,

an entirely different magazine, one that is entering the older end of

the Sugar, Bliss, Mizz and J17 market. Bizarrely, though, the new

magazine will be bagged together with the last version of the old format

for the 26 February issue.



Does IPC really expect much cross-over readership? Is it trying to pull

off the ’attracting new readers without alienating the old’ gambit?



Jon Wilkins, the creative communications director of New PHD, is

sceptical.



’The two Evas are like Jekyll and Hyde. To me, this is odd portfolio

management.



IPC should give the new title a different name and launch it from

scratch,’ he says.



IPC says the bagging strategy will make sure that there is no confusion

among existing Eva buyers. But it could go further than that - the

surprising fact is that Eva already has a substantial 18- to 24-year-old

readership profile. And Jackie Newcombe, the publishing director of

IPC’s women’s weeklies, says the editorial overlap is to be found in the

’true-life story’ element of the mix. ’Around 75 per cent of Eva’s

buyers are under 30 and I’m confident that 80 per cent of the

circulation can be retained. If you talk to readers - as we do - the one

thing that links young women in London who go clubbing and the woman

with kids in a housing estate up North is that they both want real-life

stories.’



Which means that Eva’s triumph-over-adversity fare will become slightly

more streetwise (apparently self-mutilation stories score highly in

research) as opposed to mumsy. The relaunch will be backed by an

’enormous’ mailshot to 18- to 24-year-olds and a substantial promotional

campaign in prime retail sites.



IPC has always known it needs to address its performance in the teen

market. It continues to be an attractive sector - Sugar, after all, is

the country’s biggest selling women’s monthly. But despite recent

relaunches at IPC’s Mizz and 19, the titles still look rather tired,

according to agencies. This move, as Wilkins puts it, can certainly be

seen as a ’bold and radical’ attempt to address that problem.



As always, there is a theoretical gap that IPC believes it has

identified between the top end of the teen title market and raunchy

younger glossies such as Com-pany. Good theory. But is the strategy too

bold, too radical?



Nigel Conway, planning director of MediaVest, believes this is a

desperate move. ’If Eva wasn’t working, why didn’t it do something

sooner? The title was getting a bit grubby - now it is trying to leap to

the other extreme.



I’m amazed. I don’t think the glossy aspect is an issue. Eva won’t be

offering anything that isn’t on offer in the market already.’



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 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

Become a member

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).