The doyenne of women’s magazines, Jane Raphaely, explains why she is introducing a local version of Good Housekeeping in what many believe to be an already oversubscribed women’s market.
Given our long and happy history with Hearst Magazines and the fact that Good Housekeeping has been one of the most trusted and successful magazines in the world since 1909, South African advertisers and agencies might well ask Associated Magazines “What took you so long?”
The answer lies, as it always does, in the marketplace.
When we launched Cosmopolitan in South Africa in 1984, it was on the crest of a very particular wave. For the previous 20 years, Fair Lady had nurtured the dreams of South African women who were still trying to decide what they “wanted to be”. By 1984, their daughters wanted to “have it all” – exactly what Helen Gurley Brown was promising them. These passionate young achievers were determined to put themselves first and drag everyone else along with them. They were a marketer’s dream, and a completely new kind of consumer and a new kind of woman.
We called them ardent shoppers, and indeed they shopped till they dropped and then went back for more. The advertisers loved them and still do. Twenty-seven years later, COSMO’s Fun Fearless Females still lead the glossy posse, flanked by the ‘think smart, look amazing’ Marie Claire readers, stylish SA ‘at home and play’ in House and Leisure, and O readers who are living their best life.
So how does the ‘tried, tested, trusted’ Good Housekeeping fit into the stable?
Perhaps it is our ever-increasing online activity that has finally propelled us again into launching Good Housekeeping with Hearst in South Africa in 2011. Good Housekeeping is not just one of the best-loved and most respected titles in the world today, it is also a trailblazer online and its treasure trove of content, past and present, can be freely accessed in way that time-pressed women who want to make the most of their lives prefer. This publishing partnership, more than any other, is interactive from day one.
But that is only a part of the story.
The potential readers of Good Housekeeping in South Africa are the new nesters identified by social commentators all over the world. Living, working and communicating online constantly, home has become the place where they can switch off and reconnect with reality and the good things in life, and their own imperatives. Food is more than just something to eat; furniture is not merely something to sit on; a garden or a porch provides therapy, a buy-in to the green scene, or a personal salad bar. During downtime that is the benefit from being at home, the new nester needs a magazine that will meet her every need, the original great, all-round read.
Associated Magazines has always looked for gaps, and the most exciting opportunity in South Africa today is right back in the home where it all began. The great growth in the South African market, which will undoubtedly be stimulated by Walmart’s unstoppable entry, lies in the hypers and the supers that are surging forward to meet the needs of a burgeoning, demanding, home-oriented population. None of our existing titles focus on this section of the market.
Other titles on the market cater for it partially, but none of them focus primarily on a woman whose heart is in her home, who needs one magazine that she knows will give her information she can trust about every facet of her busy modern life. More than ever before, this woman is in charge of the family finances. She commands the purchasing power of a dual-income home and she needs reliable advice about managing the financial present and future of her family. The house is their heartland and their refuge. She is the one who keeps it safe, secure and home sweet home. For her, this is what “having it all” is all about.
This is good news for the industry, the advertisers, the economy and the readers. It’s good move for Associated Magazines into fresh fields and new partnerships and alliances. Good Housekeeping makes good sense, and the Afrikaans version is a compliment to a very important sector.