Men’s Health mag’s younger brother title MH-18 is venturing into uncharted territory. ‘We’re the only service magazine targeting teen guys,’ says MH-18 editor Jeff Csatari, who describes the publication’s voice as irreverent and informative.
Despite the fact that the leading teen girl mags are broad-based, service- and lifestyle-oriented books, teen males-and advertisers marketing to that demo-have lacked a similar resource. Magazines read by teen boys have tended to be special interest titles centered on the world of sports, video games or specific activities like snowboarding and surfing (see ‘Enthusiast mags thrive in niche markets,’ page 46).
When teen guys began writing to adult-targeted Men’s Health saying they liked the sports info and workouts, but wanted more content relevant to them, Pennsylvania-based publisher Rodale Inc. decide to create a spin-off title geared to the 13 to 19 set. MH-18′s focus spans fitness (drawing on its Men’s Health roots, with fun takes like a Johnny Bravo arm-sculpting workout); sports (tips, challenges and profiles); girls; gear (from gaming systems to summer threads); and life, from embarrassing moments to teen guys’ academic, athletic, business or community service accomplishments.
The quarterly publication (US$2.99/copy, US$14.97/subscription) launched last August with a national newsstand presence, and its rate base jumped this summer from 125,000 to 175,000 with its third issue. Encouraged by results so far, MH-18 will be upping its frequency to six times a year in 2002.
Csatari believes the magazine is drawing advertisers not found in the more niche-oriented teen male mags-ranging from automotive to retail to packaged goods-with ad space averaging 30 pages per issue. Ford has committed through the year, highlighting its used car business in a summer 2001 issue ad and sponsoring the MH-18 All-Star Scholarship. Other advertisers include retailers Target and Buckle, Calvin Klein Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger Cologne, Philips Electronics, Nintendo and Skittles.
In other tie-in opportunities, MH-18 features contests and sweepstakes in print and on-line at www.mh-18.com. A retailer promo with mall-based specialty apparel retailer PacSun involved a giveaway of one million MH-18/PacSun postcard bag stuffers in PacSun stores and on the PacSun website (www.pacsun.com). The magazine is also inviting teens to join its Street Team, providing story idea input and receiving product samples and questionnaires from advertisers. Twenty male and female field reporters, chosen from 1,000-plus essay contest entrants, have been offering feedback about what’s on teens’ minds since the debut issue.