GQ SHOWS ITS AGE: GQ is attempting to bridge the digital — and age — gap with its latest issue, which hits newsstands on Monday.
This story first appeared in the September 22, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Dubbed the “age issue,” the October print edition of GQ features three different covers: Blake Griffin, Norman Reedus or Clive Owen. It also includes a Q&A with the three cover subjects plus Chadwick Boseman and Tom Selleck. The point, according to GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson is that the five men represent different decades, 20 through 60, and thus can speak to aging from their perspective.
In total, the issue includes a 50-page portfolio filled with tips from editors on how to age gracefully, what to wear and other age-focused tidbits.
What is new for the men’s magazine is that it will run individual cover stories of the five men that will not appear in the print issue.
“We are doing something different and thinking outside the box,” Nelson said.
But when reminded that Vogue also has an age issue, he added: “It’s completely separate. We didn’t get the idea from that. We want to distinguish print and online content.”
Part of GQ’s reasoning for this is to find a way to have the digital and print reader overlap more. Typically, the digital reader tends to be younger. For GQ, the average digital reader is between 25 and 30 years old, and their print reader’s median age is 35.
“The online reader versus the print reader is a different reader,” he said. “There’s a Venn diagram where they meet — we always try to meet with them. We take fashion and living well very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. But there is a slightly more direct language that maybe the digital reader is looking for.”
In the same breath, Nelson mentioned a recent form feature, “The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit,” that was a “monster hit” online for GQ.
“Just as soon as I think I know something about the Web, a story like this hits,” he said. “I’m glad long-form journalism is still thriving.”