Does the demise of More! mark a watershed moment?
Many ladies of a certain age will have had a tiny moment of nostalgia this week, with the news that More! – one of the few remaining magazines from our teenage years – is set to close. After 25 years of bringing us priceless gems such as Position of the Fortnight and despite a revamp last year, circulation had slipped to under 100,000, and even one of the biggest names in teen magazines was no longer viable.
Without wishing to ignite the whole debate around the influence of celebrity-led mags on teenage girls, and whether the likes of More! have made them constantly worried about being fat and pleasing boys, I do think this marks a sad day. Not just that 22 people lost their job in a market that’s getting ever tighter, but also that it brutally underlines the gap between today’s teenagers and those of us (however hip) the wrong side of 35.
I grew up in world of More! and Jackie and Just17 and frankly am not sure how I’d have got through my teenage years without them, dubious as their advice most likely was (for some reason, I always remember the tip of wearing an all-in-one ‘body’ under your jeans to prevent young men having ‘wandering hands’). Advice came to teenage girls through five or six essentially ‘approved’ routes, where I’m sure half of the journalists knew each other, and despite making me more concerned than I probably should have been about the size of my thighs, deep down felt a sense of duty of care to the readers.
Now, with media channels (and I’m including social in this) so fragmented, it’s consistently harder to get more responsible messaging out to teenagers, especially girls. I say this working for an agency that’s won a lot of awards for targeting teenage girls for our ‘make mine Milk’ campaign – but that has access to a tone and a spend that many charities or even government campaigns lack, and has been a sustained campaign and a lot of hard work. The thing about being able to opt in to a wide range of media is that you can opt out of things that you’re not interested in – and who wants to spend their spare time reading about the dangers of drugs, STIs and the HPV vaccine?
The demise of More! means that PRs and communicators as a whole will need to think of ever more engaging ways of getting the right information to the right people. Would be interested to hear your views on campaigns you think are doing it well….