Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Women's Mindspace - Part 2

The new entrant Marie Claire

After a decade we are seeing the entry of another big international name. Marie Claire is known worldwide as a fashion magazine for the thinking woman. So, besides a lot of elegant fashion and beauty they have strong features content. The outlook group claims they have first-person articles, special investigative reports, relationships, photo stories, and hope to develop a lot of bold and beautiful reports that tell people about India and not the rich urban India. They believe in being real. So they will talk about issues in India as they are. Their fashion content is slick and doable – it doesn't come from a dream factory but it shows women possibilities in fashion. And leaves them with many good ideas.

There is no dearth of choice for the Indian woman. With proliferation of foreign player the advertising pie will get redistributed, as will the readership.

In all this rat race to woo the India woman it makes me wonder - do these magazines actually address what a woman wants or do they tell you what a man wants? ‘How to make a man beg for more’ or ‘How to save your marriage?’ all or most of the contents simply explain how to keep the man/men in your life ecstatic about you even the photographic elements are for the men to ogle at. All women’s magazines satiates the Indian man’s appetite – the get a huge chunk of their readership from men.

So what are the contents of the men’s magazine (Maxim, GQ, Debonair, Man’s world)? -Even more number of preposterously dressed women. Although I must admit women’s magazines are far more subdued as compared to the men’s magazine.

I read Cosmopolitan and I would say it’s a lot of fun but besides good entertainment value does it serve any purpose? It has endless amounts of lifestyle ads, there has also been an increase in the number of white goods that advertise in these magazines. (Thank god for small mercies at least they stopped considering women technologically challenged) One could easily spot ads of pink clamshell phone, pink bikes, pink thongs and pink perfume (Oh pink from Lacoste is amazing). I am waiting for pink washing machines and laptops. All the ads adorn the colour of the season be it pink, black or burgandy.

Has this category evolved? They claim to be celebrating the new era of women, glorifying their achievements but the ads carried in them are for damsels in distress, hence we have pretty pink bikes, furry mobile covers and special SIM cards.

Is this category saturated yet? Is there room for more players? This category has still not seen anything innovative, it is predominantly a me too market, there is always room for innovation.

Is the audience mature enough to be able to accept it? Yes, although a very small section of the actual readership base is truly willing to embrace a change. Then again there is the marketing objective do they want volumes or a small loyal customer base? In a world where even the most niche brands are all out to lure the mass market I don’t think a small section really counts.


Bond...James Bond said...

Women's mags may have subdued content in terms of pics but they score way above when it comes to text. Maxim , GQ surely cannot be compared to Debonair. Maxims big cousin FHM is yet to come out in India and these 3 mags for sure have a lot more than JUST preposterously dressed women ;)