Media: Lifeline - Cosmopolitan

The women's glossy has just unveiled its first advertising since its launch in 1972.

1972: The Hearst Corporation's UK subsidiary The National Magazine Company introduces glossy magazine readers to the orgasm, courtesy of the UK launch of Cosmopolitan. Its first editor is Joyce Hopkirk.

1985: As the third editor, Linda Kelsey, takes the helm, the magazine is facing its first real crisis of confidence. The Aids epidemic has made sex a dangerous game and as the New Puritanism takes hold, circulation (which had climaxed at 490,000 under Kelsey's predecessor) droops to 370,000. Cosmo now begins campaigning for safe sex - "smart girls carry condoms", it announces in a cover headline.

1990: Having taken over as editor the previous year, Marcelle d'Argy Smith takes a deep breath and proclaims in the first issue of the new decade that "sex is back". She's right - it is. And under her successor, Mandi Norwood, it comes back with a bang. Cosmo finishes the decade seemingly unassailable as the pre-eminent women's glossy.

2001: The launch of Glamour. Cosmo has been untroubled by rivalry from the likes of She, Marie Claire, Red and others down the years, while living comfortably in the company of more upmarket fashion titles such as Vogue - but Glamour is a different proposition. Cosmo's circulation doesn't go into drastic decline, but the newcomer soon passes it to become the leading women's monthly, with sales of more than 600,000.

Now: Cosmo unveils its first above-the-line advertising campaign since its launch in 1972. Poster work from Clemmow Hornby Inge kicks off what is planned to be a three-year period of brand-building activity.

Fast forward

2010: Having failed to re-establish its dominant position in a market cluttered by increasingly unsophisticated celebrity glossy monthlies and weeklies, NatMags seeks a radical new direction for Cosmo. Realising that the hedonistic values of the late 20th century's "me generation" are increasingly unfashionable, the new Cosmo editor takes a deep breath and announces: "Sex is dead."