Saturday, 2 June 2012

Shortlist Magazine - you what?

ShortList magazine is very much like the average X-Factor finalist. Fashionable, lacking in style and absolutely no substance.

I'm not saying that it's not a pleasant read, but like most media, you pick your favourite bits. It takes me somewhere in the region of ten minutes (absolute maximum). That's why I tend to stuff it in my bag for a later read in the domestic library, you know, the one with the loo-roll holder.

Now what really never ceases to amaze me are the advertisements and product plugs within it. I do find it rather amusing that a magazine that is given away for free (more about that in a moment) plugs headphones at £1,750 a pop, hiking boots at £212, a men's shaver at £220, a bomber jacket at £1,350, a diver's watch at £1,232 and a Denim shirt at £430.

So, as I said, the magazine is given away for free. In several large cities. Although Hull, as tenth largest city in the UK, doesn't know what a ShortList magazine (or a Metro newspaper) is, never having seen either.

Now research experts will tell you that something given away for free has far less value than something you pay for. Apart, of course, from the plastic toy you buy in yellow arch and clown land and then throw away the free burger and French fries.

Now those who take the magazine tend to be divided into four distinct categories:
  1. The sympathy voter who doesn't want to upset the nice young lady or gentleman standing outside the station who thrusts a copy into your face, especially if the nice young distribution man is from Latvia and his father is a member of the Mafia
  2. Those who love pretty pictures without too many confusing words getting in the way, who give up by page 5 anyway and throw the magazine into the nearest doorway (they don't do rubbish bins)
  3. Scroungers who like getting something for nothing
  4. Genuine fans and readers
Now the premium crap that is being plugged within the magazine (oops, sorry, "desirable, cutting -edge, fashionable etc etc etc", i.e. costs "£x", real value "£x÷20+") is very much aimed at the upwardly mobile business executive, who is upwardly mobile in town. One who will quite happily part with £1,350 for a bomber jacket so he can lean against someone's carelessly discarded chewing gum on the bus. Or will listen to Coldplay though his £1,750 headphones on the bus. NOT.

If he can afford £1,350 for a bomber jacket or £1,750 for headphones, the likelihood is that he will have driven to work in his upwardly mobile motor, parked in his upwardly mobile reserved space, and might only see ShortList if he pops out of the office at lunchtime and passes a distributor!

What I'm saying is, that London apart, the advertising certainly doesn't appear to target the readers in the provinces. Ok, in fairness, they seem to have copies dropped off at newsagents in the suburbs of cities they serve. But I can only imagine a Yorkshireman paying £430 for a Denim shirt!

So, yes, I just find the whole thing fascinating! And even more so the fact that as a glossy magazine (in a matt sort of way, you will understand), it can be given away free.

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