When I saw FourFourTwo’s feature article on the ‘Top 50 World Cup models’ yesterday – and the negative discussions on Twitter surrounding it – I realised something wasn’t right. Running popular websites and printing magazines can be an expensive proposition, let’s not be naive about that. But surely the straight-faced FourFourTwo hadn’t slipped to the level of arbitrarily creating a gallery of attractive females just to pander to the lowest common page-viewing denominator?
Luckily I have an inside source at the magazine who was kind enough to inform me the feature was a test-run, to gauge the reaction for an upcoming broader refresh of the publication.
“FourFourTwo is looking at new revenue streams, as football fans just don’t pay the bills like they used to. What’s more, the proliferation of amateur football blogs means we need to further increase our levels of differentiation – there’s only so much serious content you can write before there’s duplication across the various blogs and publications, and the last thing we’d want is contention regarding ‘who broke what story first’.
“So we’ve taken some cues from older, highly-successful magazines across various genres, and made a few tweaks to our content. We think these changes are very exciting, and we cant wait to see our readership increase as we appeal to a more diverse set of demographics.”
I admit, I was incredulous, but when I was shown early concept draft of the August magazine cover, I realised my doubts were unfounded.
FourFourTwo‘s publication of its contentious feature is certainly not a ploy designed to generate page views from those who are only interested in scantily-clad females; it is a small part of a larger business strategy to penetrate into additional demographics, ensuring its long-term survival.
So kudos to FourFourTwo for not being afraid to try new things, and shame on you football public for being so short-sighted!
NB. On an unrelated note, if you’re after high-quality magazine covers, look no further than Daniel Palmer!