Thursday, 5 August 2010

Mens' Magazines: ShortList Man

As today was another slow news day during the Silly Season, I went and picked up a copy of the free mens' magazine, ShortList.
I came to it blind. Never knowingly having looked through a copy before, and deliberately not looking online at what they were trying to do with the title.
Its strapline is; "For men with more than one thing on their minds' - a reply I guess to Loaded's "For men who should know better', and clearly an attempt to set out a different stall to the new wave of tits-out-for-the-lads mags, Zoo and Nuts.
There are no scantily unclad babes in ShortList. The only bit of exposed flesh on view is a man's chest in an advert for anti-perspirant on page 47.
This could be advertiser-driven, rather than prudishness. Big money advertisers find full-on sexual content a turn-off.
Apart from one of those wrap-around cover ads for some action movie starring Tom Cruise (!), the first three ads you see are full-page ones for hair dye,Head & Shoulders and Gillette - apparently it's still "the best a man can get".
Shortlist even has its own Style & Grooming section - tellingly bigger than both the technology and sport ones.
The whole magazine took me about - ooh - five minutes to peruse.
There was nothing in it I wanted to read, but then it's clearly not aimed at men like me.
Who is it aimed at? I guess young, urban-living, middle class men (it only clicked a little later how close this was to the acronym for Young Urban Professionals...)
The other thing that's noticeable is how almost the entire editorial content reads like advertorial.
The only exceptions were a jokey last page ("Fun + knowledge = funledge" - oh do fuck off), a weekly column by professional New Bloke Danny Wallace, and a three page feature; 'Are You A Sexist?'
That article's intro also - subconsciously or not - seemed to be setting out ShortList's desired reader demographic.
"We're all enlightened men, but with the celebration of alpha males such as Don Draper, are traditional gender values actually bubbling underneath the veneer of the 'New Man'?"
Everything else is about something you can buy.
Perhaps the ShortList man mantra is: No sex please, we're shopping.

1 comment:

  1. The illustration shows the cover of the first issue.
    I read Issue 139, 5 August 2010.