Media: Double Standards - The fashion magazine heavyweights face off

GQ's publishing director reckons his title has the best editorial, while his rival at Wallpaper* counters that his magazine's readers are more influential.

JAMIE BILL - PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, GQ

- How would you describe your typical reader?

Our readers are sophisticated, aware and they value great writing from talented journalists. Our readers are defined by the luxury world as well as by what newspapers they read. The reader response to editorial in GQ is better than that of any other magazine. If we feature something in GQ, it sells.

- What is the single best feature of your magazine?

The quality of its journalism and its relevance to our target audience.

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

The biggest coup that GQ generated this year was Piers Morgan's interview with Naomi Campbell and the accompanying Steven Klein photographs. I know the editorial team spent three years setting this up, and we were rewarded with a sensational interview, amazing pictures and one of the biggest media stories of the year. The great thing about GQ's editorial team is the way they have set the bar so high, higher than any other magazine in the country. Other exciting developments this year include the signing of Mathew D'Ancona, Celia Walden, David Bailey and the introduction of Taste, our new section on comestible luxury.

- What is the most creative or innovative commercial deal you have done this year?

That's got to be the promotion with Glenfiddich, which has set up a bursary every month to turn our readers' fantasies into reality.

- What are the differences/similarities between GQ and Wallpaper*?

Both are quality, well-crafted magazines but because Wallpaper* knowingly and self-consciously caters for a niche audience, GQ has a far greater appeal.

- Do you consider the two titles as competitors?

No, if anything the titles are complimentary and given that the bulk of Wallpaper*'s sales are overseas, the duplication is low.

- What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current role?

After studying law, I joined the army. I will leave it to your readers to speculate whether these experiences have any relevance to media.

- Which are your favourite magazines?

GQ, The New Yorker, Vogue, The Economist and Outside Magazine.

- What's your main ambition for the year ahead?

My ambition for GQ is to consolidate our position as leader in our competitive set and on a personal level to spend more time with my children.

- If you weren't at IPC/Conde Nast, where would you like to be?

I would like to be a safari guide, based in Kenya.

ANDREW BLACK - PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, WALLPAPER*

- How would you describe your typical reader?

The Wallpaper* reader is a sophisticated, intelligent, affluent consumer who we call the creative influencer. Two-thirds of them are in the creative industries, they are entrepreneurial, well educated and highly opinionated. They are the person everyone goes to to find out what is going on, whether it's the hottest new fashion collection, the best quality sofa or the coolest bar in Barcelona. They are information-hungry and have a great desire to be ahead of the pack. They are fanatically passionate about this magazine and use it as an important resource, both personally and professionally, to stay ahead of the trends. Because of their varied backgrounds they read all sorts of media and only merge as an audience at Wallpaper*. They are 60/40 male/female and have a median age of 34 years.

- What is the single best feature of your magazine?

The quality. From the photography, the writing, the graphic treatments, the wit, the advertisers, every page inspires me and makes me feel proud.

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

The past few months have been incredibly exciting with Tony Chambers taking the helm and our 100th issue celebrations. Another big development - and one which will grow - is the integration of the magazine and Wallpaper.com; we've even refreshed the Wallpaper* logo's famous asterisk to signal this evolution by incorporating a mouse cursor symbol. There are lots of exciting projects for both Wallpaper* and wallpaper.com in the coming months.

- What is the most creative or innovative commercial deal you have done this year?

This year, Jaguar sponsored our annual Design Awards. It was our first big multiplatform partnership deal, which integrated print, online including vodcasts, Bespoke (our breathtaking advertorials) and an amazing event. It was truly integrated and flawlessly executed.

- What are the differences/similarities between GQ and Wallpaper*?

I think the key similarity is that we are both iconic brands, in which fashion is an important part of what we do. However, we both do so in very different ways speaking with our own distinct voices.

- Do you consider the two titles as competitors?

Not exactly. Editorially, we are quite different, and from a media buying perspective, Wallpaper* is a dual audience magazine with a global reach, which is quite different from GQ's offering.

- What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current role?

Trafficking advertisements at a luxury retailer in New York. It taught me the skills of negotiating, diplomacy and the importance of tenacity.

- Which are your favourite magazines?

The New Yorker, The Economist and, yes, Heat.

- What's your main ambition for the year ahead?

We must continue on our skyrocketing trajectory of success. Continuing to embrace digital and create more multiplatform, high-yielding partnership deals.

- If you weren't at IPC/Conde Nast, where would you like to be?

Running a business, ideally a fashion house.