Attempting to find out a bit more about Trader Monthly before delving into the February/March issue, I put on my reporter hat (a teal fedora) and sent a query to a friend in the banking business. He passed it along to one of his trader buddies, who sent back the following response: "I read it and I absolutely love it. It is a complete joke, but it makes me laugh."
I don't feel like thinking today. Let's take a gander at In Touch Weekly, shall we?
Of all the enthusiast mags out there, few can claim the cult-like following of Motor Trend (MT). It's a publication that hearkens back to the nonfragmented media days of yore, when information-craving readers gazed out bay windows as they awaited the arrival of the mailman. Given the mag's glut of tie-ins (a Speed Channel TV show, a syndicated radio show, a line of CDs with titles like "Rockin' Down the Highway"), it wouldn't be surprising if the MT brand was more recognizable than those of many of the automobiles it test-drives.
Since winning just about every award imaginable when it debuted in October 2002 - "launch of the year" nods from several trades, a general-excellence citation from The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), a Grammy for Best Spoken Word album - Budget Living has attempted to evolve into a publishing juggernaut. There are book tie-ins and a syndicated newspaper column, with TV rumored to be next on the expansion agenda. So in the wake of this brash brand imperialism, we figured it couldn't hurt to check in and see how the core product is negotiating its terrible twos.
The question has never been whether or not mental_floss is a great magazine - it is - but rather whether it would appeal to anybody besides trivia-happy smart-asses (raising hand). Answer honestly: if you're stuck in St. Louis on a layover, would you be more inclined to delve into MF's Q&A about so-called "status syndrome" or In Touch's exclusive interview with the guy who regrouted the tiles in Brad and Jen's bathtub? Even as one of the aforementioned trivia nerds, in that situation I'm going with the publication that tells me how much cake Star Jones shoveled down at her …
Judging a book by its cover is generally a bad idea, but magazines practically beg would-be readers to do it anyway. Alas, this is why Jane's February issue may well be relegated to litter box detail before a single page is turned. The cover features 2003 it-gal Paris Hilton and the tag line trumps her "newfound purity." What, was Courtney Love's "newfound sanity" deemed too Rolling Stone? Elsewhere there's a promise that "Gwyneth will want to dress like you" (or is that a threat?), a nonsensical tease about what's "inside Jude's pants," and an out-of-nowhere blurb for free portable home …
Since reinventing itself as a strategy-centric title and adding the tag line, "how smart people work" in 2003, Fast Company has received as much play for its advertising/marketing-related struggles as its content. Which is unfair, because a few months away from its 10th birthday, the title has hit its stride editorially. For evidence, pick up the magazine's February issue. Fast Company's gimmick seems to be that every story should give strategy-minded (there's that word again) business folk actionable advice. Does it deliver on this promise? Almost militantly.
Cargo arrived on the scene last year with the hype of a NASA expedition to Mars and a host of easy-to-digest descriptions: it would be Lucky for guys, GQ minus all those pesky words. The question that nobody bothered to answer, of course, was whether its target audience of affluent, consumption-happy fellas had any interest in such a magazine. As someone right in the mag's demographic crosshairs - er, minus the cash part - I couldn't envision a scenario in which I'd read Cargo, or at least one not involving a mysterious two-week detention at LaGuardia.