M, from the National Magazine Company, calls itself ’the essential
magazine for today’s parents’. M’s trade advertising says it is
’reaching parents who know that two babes in bed isn’t quite what it
used to be’. And its cover photo is of a ’mum’ too winsome to feature
even in a Fairy Liquid ad. Yuk! Yuk! Yuk! However, after reading the
first issue, I’d just about forgiven the magazine.
There is already an array of pregnancy and baby titles on the newsstand,
feeding the voracious appetites of pre- and ante-natal women. Those
titles look pretty hideous - but it doesn’t matter because most women in
late pregnancy and early motherhood discover their brains have turned to
scrambled egg anyway. Thankfully, the moment arrives when pink fluffy
rabbits look repulsive again and women retrieve their aesthetic
M is aimed at those mothers (and fathers, though very much in brackets)
experiencing their first decade of parenthood. It’s fertile territory -
M covers education, health, nutrition, childcare, days out, clothing,
books and holidays. The launch issue also contains serious articles on
adoption, family therapy and ... Tony Blair, almost all of which was a
good read. The art direction is modern and mainstream, although several
yellow pencils short of stunning.
Will M succeed? Parenting magazines can earn loyalty if they are more
than glorified catalogues. There are plenty of child-centred campaigns
worth backing, education and health to name two. If M can tap into these
parental neuroses, its market will be assured.
Tess Alps, the executive chairman of Drum PHD, is mother of