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Meet the Press: Beauty Editors Speak Out

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: October 7, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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With more competitors advertising in consumer beauty magazines, it’s up to brands to pursue these advertising avenues in order to reach wider demographics in old—and new—markets.

The publications noted in this feature represent a total of more than 34.5 billion U.S. adult readers—according to current media kits, a spring 2008 reader study by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI) and a 2007 Subscriber and Newstand Study by Beta Research Corp. This number does not factor in the overlap of readers who pick up more than one publication regularly. However, the figure does break down to about 11.7 million women and 800,000 men who read each issue of Glamour; 4.3 million women and 370,000 men who read Women’s Health; 3.5 million women and 200,000 men who read Marie Claire; 1.4 million women and 65,000 men who read More; and 2.1 million women and 10.1 million men who read Men’s Health. And that’s not including non-U.S. editions.

“The strength of our magazine has always been advice on how to lead a healthy life,” says Sandra Nygaard, senior fashion editor, Men’s Health, “and grooming has become an integral part of that. Our guys have definitely become much more conscious of their skin in the past five years. Specifically, they want to know about the ingredients and the scientific benefits of them; also, they want to know the best ways to maximize the benefits of a product.”

As for reader/consumer demographics, according to media kits and MRI, median ages range in the mid-30s for Glamour, Marie Claire and Women’s Health; in the late 30s for Men’s Health; and in the early 50s for More magazine, published by the Meredith Corporation. “More’s readers are highly-educated, affluent, 40-plus women, so our reporting is certainly influenced by that particular demo’s concerns and lifestyles, but even more so by their affinity for the latest trends in products and beauty news,” says Lois Joy Johnson, beauty and fashion director, More. “They are very open to new ideas, have the money for luxury products but are not snobs—mixing drugstore and high-end brands easily. They are also the most experienced users of beauty products, having the history of usage makes them grassroots experts.”

According to the 2007 Mendelsohn Affluent Study, More has 1.16 million readers who are the heads of household with incomes higher than $85,000 a year. However, whereas More’s readers may easily embrace luxe products, the early-to-mid-30s readers of Hearst Communication’s Marie Claire magazine, for example (with fewer than 1 million overly affluent readers, according to the Mendelsohn study), may be more discriminating between product costs. “Our reader is educated, advancing in her career,” says Marie Claire beauty director Ying Chu. “She is more aware and independent than ever and also more distracted with multimedia. She looks to us as curators, so we have to offer the extra insight and service she’s not getting from the Web, newspapers, TV and in-store.” Such is also the case with Women’s Health’s young adult readers. Goins says this encompasses the type of woman who wants to balance all interests in her life—“work, fitness, relationships and down-time.”