Editor’s pick of the Month: Wasted Youth – Finally, someone got a kid’s magazine right
My son recently forked over CDN$4.96 plus tax to our local Chapters for the premiere issue of a new youth magazine. This is unusual. For starters, he's 14, and typically more inclined to watch a movie or TV, listen to music, play music, skate, bike, game, draw, hang out online, whatever, than read.
The purchase decision began with the magazine's catchy size (a bit bigger than a CD), and its name - Wasted Youth - and likely the tag was a factor - 'the mag about music, skate, anime, art, games, whatever.' And then there was the cover line 'FREE wasted music CD included'.
My son recently forked over CDN$4.96 plus tax to our local Chapters for the premiere issue of a new youth magazine. This is unusual. For starters, he’s 14, and typically more inclined to watch a movie or TV, listen to music, play music, skate, bike, game, draw, hang out online, whatever, than read.
The purchase decision began with the magazine’s catchy size (a bit bigger than a CD), and its name – Wasted Youth – and likely the tag was a factor – ‘the mag about music, skate, anime, art, games, whatever.’ And then there was the cover line ‘FREE wasted music CD included’.
For your How-To-Reach-Youth edification, I’m happy to report that he’s very pleased with the investment. The magazine’s fun graphic style, bang-on content and visual-heavy/copy-light approach has at least one teen waiting for issue two.
Wasted Youth magazine is the first original publication out of six-year-old contract publishing and design company Toronto-based Hotsos Studio. Target demo is 13 to 17, and distribution is 5,000 copies across Canada, ‘plus a small amount of worldwide distribution.’
Publisher Greg Hughes says the free music sampler CDs are a big draw for kids, and for the next issue, they plan to put one right on the cover (they found that many kids didn’t realize there was a CD unless they picked the mag up,) AND they’re planning to sell ad space on the CD face ($1,000.) The size of the magazine is also changing to a more standard 8 1/2 by 10 1/2 format.
The original CD in the spring launch issue featured indie bands, some of which subsequently got signed, and now labels are approaching Wasted Youth to feature their artists, adding to the CDs revenue streams. Additionally, it’s a multimedia CD (they included a skate video in the launch issue), which in subsequent discs will include advertiser-sponsored videos, PDFs and links to sponsor sites.
The mag also has contests galore, replete with marketing opps. For instance, the second issue, due out in two weeks, will feature a graffiti contest. There’s an image of a kid tagging a wall, and a big empty space for readers to submit their own graffiti art. The prize? The Level 27 clothes the kid in the picture is wearing. Level 27 is a skate-style fashion brand hitting Winners next month.
Another Wasted Youth contest, sponsored by Universal, features tickets to Wakestock and Warped Tour, along with CDs of all the bands under the Universal music label appearing at these events. For Wakestock, one lucky winner can also participate in a Wasted Youth magazine interview with Silverstein, one of the bands.
Now quarterly, the plans are to go up to six issues in the second year. They’re also expanding the distribution channels beyond Chapters and the major mag chains, by building a grassroots presence at concerts, events and kid-friendly retail (clothing stores, skate shops, CD stores). Hughes says that so far they’ve focused on Ontario, with Vancouver being the next target for expansion, as their research showed that a presence in these environments establishes more legitimacy for the reader.
Hughes says their main potential advertisers are record labels, clothing companies, shoes, candy and electronics.
Their editorial mandate, as per the media kit: ‘Wasted Youth magazine is read by wasted youth in cities across Canada. You see our readers everyday, they are skateboarding at the store, they are hanging out listening to punk rock, they are in bands, they have blue, pink, or green hair, they read comics, they buy toys from Japan, they play video games, they surf the net, they are noisy, they are artists, they are writers, they are athletes, they are whoever they want to be, and they will change the world.’
In terms of precisely defining the consumer – the only thing they got wrong in our case is the hair color (so far). Who are these uncanny psychographic seers? Again, as per the media kit: ‘Who the f*** are we? Wasted Youth is created by a group of writers and artists that believe that there needs to be an alternative to the sh**ty overcensored magazines produced these days…. We will bring you stories about stuff that we think is really cool. If you don’t like the mag… f* ** off! whatever…’
If you want a cool environment, Wasted Youth has the ‘whatever’ gen’s seal of approval, and precisely for the reasons so earthily stated in their ‘media kit.’