‘Men’s Health’ (MH) recently celebrated the first anniversary of its Indian edition. The celebration was hosted by Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today Group. Jamal Shaikh, Editor, MH, shares his views on the first anniversary celebration.
According to Shaikh, “The last year, I believe, has seen a quantum change in the reading patterns of Indian men. For example, when we launched, most people did not know what a six-pack was! Our first cover carried a line saying ‘Indians CAN have abs too!’ Today, every superstar worth his shirt, and every other guy, wants a six-pack. I believe MH has had a role to play.”
Shaikh added that from men reading women’s magazines to women reading MH, the last year had been one of very positive change for MH. “It’s not just the magazine that has been accepted; it is our belief that the male reader is an intelligent individual who doesn’t want to live on gossip, celebrity news and sexy girl pictures alone. He wants his magazine to provide him with ways to live smarter and better, which, in today’s magazine market, nobody does like MH does.”
A special anniversary issue was published whereby advice that MH had to offer about food, fitness, relationships, health, gizmos, etc. was picked. “We also documented the biggest breakthroughs in health and lifestyle that have occurred since MH India launched in November 2006, all aimed at helping the reader make his life better,” said Shaikh.
From the marketing point of view, the publication got away with the notion that all freebies that come with subscriptions have to be of poor quality. However, MH subscribers could get a pair of Speedo sunglasses with a three-year subscription, as well as lucky draw for newsstand buyers and subscribers that offered prizes including an all-expense paid vacation to Thailand.
On the TG and their demographics, Shaikh stressed that the magazine’s core TG were men in late 20s or early 30s. He said, “Our TG is the man who has embarked on a career, is about to get married or is just married, is possibly a new father, is educated and affluent, and wants to better his own life as well as that of his family. Like every other guy who has questions which never get answered, MH is the best friend that points the guy in the right direction – be it in the gym, at the work place or in the bedroom.”
Commenting on the future plans, Shaikh said that MH would be refining its stand now. He revealed, “We have given our readers a taste of how a healthy lifestyle isn’t a chore. I’ve always said that the MH guy doesn’t just get a six-pack, he also gets the girls. We’re going to show how satisfaction in your relationships, success at work, better financial planning, contentment from keeping your family, and seeing your dreams come true – all contribute to Indian men’s health. It’s going to be the magazine to truly live by.”