Sexy celebrity magazine, heat, is even sexier as the publication has gone through a makeover process itself, and has emerged with a sparkling new-look just in time for summer.
“The aim was very much to make it feel new, fresh and modern, because heat readers are fashion and trend-conscious, so everything we did, from colour tweaks and new fonts to added content was executed with that in mind, says heat editor-in-chief, Melinda Shaw.
“We reorganised the magazine so that we have all our entertainment content in one handy section right in the middle, and so that the back section of the magazine had new energy and would hold the reader’s attention all the way through to the last page. I’m very happy with the results. Has it worked? The readers will decide!”
The latest ABC figures show heat has dropped from 41 980 to 34 592, an issue many magazines have had to deal with during the global recession. But Shaw says the magazine’s reader “is 29, she’s an urban girl with a high disposable income, and yes, she is a girl (58.4%, AMPS April/June2011). She’s also most likely to be black (46.2% AMPS April/June2011)” and those are demographics that appeal to advertisers.
Nevertheless, a timely redesign could help to attract new readers. “We’ve given heat a make-over in line with heat UK’s recent redesign. As an international brand we have the benefit of access to a British mothership, and we always take inspiration from what they do,” she says.
“We added extra bits to the magazine because our readers are used to getting huge volumes of information via social networking platforms and other online information sources,” Shaw says.
Heat has a major Twitter presence in South Africa. “The majority of heat‘s readers are young, tech-savvy and social networking obsessed women, which is probably why heat has the biggest Twitter following of any local magazine,” says Shaw. “Cosmo and FHM are the closest rivals, but heat is consistently ahead by over 30%. We know heat‘s brand fans like to engage, and love to be acknowledged, and Twitter is the perfect platform for that: it’s immediate, it’s short and to the point, it’s info heavy and also entertaining.”
The redesign did not result in the title losing any of the popular sections of the magazine, but “those exciting sections have had a bit of nip/tuck and make-over to make them relevant for 2012″.
Shaw says “We manage heat as a brand across print and digital platforms, so that the brand fan can access the magazine on whatever platform she wants, not just by reading the paper magazine.”