For most women’s magazines, January means new year, new you — which usually translates to here’s how to become a more successful, definitely thinner and obviously much more beautiful you. But, the editors at Marie Claire wanted a slightly different approach for their January issue this time around.
Dubbed “The Next Big Thing Issue,” the Hearst-owned glossy is using technology as a lens from which to view its main coverage topics, which include work, wellness, culture, beauty and fashion.
“We were thinking about how we could do something smarter and more surprising….We wanted to reinvent the January issue,” editor in chief Anne Fulenwider told WWD. “Technology is touching all of our lives in such profound ways and it’s really changing the industries that we cover.”
Fulenwider, who said Marie Claire is the only women’s magazine with a devoted monthly tech page, emphasized the importance of exploring the crossroads of fashion and technology. (She also hinted the future-leaning issue could have a live-event component one day, such as a conference.)
After bouncing off ideas with Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia over the summer, Fulenwider approached her editorial team and asked them to think of the next big “thing” in their coverage areas. What came back was a slew of tech-heavy products and trends that are in the early stages of development.
The editor rattled off a few, including a handbag that will change colors based on your outfit, a small machine that will do your makeup when you stick your face inside, a small golf-ball sized bubble ball of water for portable hydration and various virtual reality headsets.
A pleasant surprise that came out of the issue is a partnership with Candy Crush. On Thursday at 6 a.m., Marie Claire said it will become the first magazine to score its own level on Candy Crush Saga. Garcia teamed up with King Digital’s Stockholm-based team to design a challenging “timed” level that features the editor’s favorite colorful candies — and, yes, her very own doppelgänger. According to Fulenwider, who said there is no advertising or revenue share tied to the partnership, players can reach the live-in game Marie Claire level after they complete two levels without losing life. When the live in-game event is complete, the Marie Claire level will live permanently on the Candy Crush Saga level, she said.
Readers of the January issue, which hits newsstands today, will get a look at the gaming franchise, and they will meet Yonna Ingolf, the lead producer for Candy Crush Saga, who worked with Garcia.
But back to the print issue, which also houses features on well-known subjects, such as a profile of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, who also serves as the magazine’s contributing editor, and a story on a new horror-comedy called “Pride and Prejudice Zombies” based on Jane Austen’s novel. The film stars actresses Lily James, Suki Waterhouse and Bella Heathcote, each of whom gets their own cover of the January issue.
The covers were shot in London were photographed for Instagram, as well, in what is being dubbed as an “Instashoot.” What that means is that photos from the cover shoot were captured just for Instagram to be posted on Marie Claire’s page, among other places. According to Fulenwider, Instagram is increasingly being viewed as a “virtual newsstand” for magazines, which are looking to drum up excitement around the issue, as actual newsstand sales continue to tumble.
Like competitors, newsstand sales at Marie Claire have taken a hit, as fewer readers buy magazines at retail. For six months ended June 30, total single copy sales were 117,882 a 21.4 decline over last year, the Alliance for Audited Media said. But total paid & verified circulation grew 3.6 percent to just more than one million.