New glossy targets the affluent male

In the mens' mag category, TORO is shuttered, Driven is going strong, and Prelude launches today with plans to go national.

It’s been about a month since TORO closed its doors and sent out its last cover shot of Donald Sutherland. The reason for folding, according to publisher Dina Quattrin, was simple: There’s just not enough ad money in Canada to support a high-quality general interest men’s mag.

Tell that to Toronto-based Driven, which targets affluent men 25-54 six times a year. With the demise of main competitor TORO, Driven is expanding its national distribution to 150,000 for the March 21 issue (of which 130,000 went out with The Globe and Mail, 10,000 with Air Canada, and 10,000 on newstands). Now in its fourth year on the market, Driven is working on other changes for this year, such as increasing its ‘Essentials’ guide to living well. is only a few months old, but it looks like it’s doing the auto/fashion/travel/tech/lifestyle/entertainment thing right. Brands are laced throughout, from Harry Rosen’s spring fashion preview to travelling through Australia in a Mercedes-Benz, to a USB Missile Launcher (you plug it into your computer to launch foam missiles at co-workers for a ‘shock and awe campaign’).

Embedded YouTube clips are used to highlight content and attract new readers. One of the mag’s more innovative current projects for an advertiser combines print ads with a blog site, a contest, a reader survey and point-of-purchase signage. While editor in chief Michael La Fave would not divulge traffic numbers, he tells MiC the mag will be committing greater resources to the website.

And then there’s Prelude, a quarterly debuting today. Toronto-based Lucid Media Imaging is behind the 60-page glossy targeting men 20-45 (and anticipating about 25% female readership, which is pretty close to the number of distaff Driven readers).

Prelude‘s April issue will hit Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary and Banff with about 5,000 copies to start. The numbers will jump to about 20,000 for the June issue. Lucid Media co-owner and Prelude publisher Dean Jessop tells MiC distribution will eventually include Vancouver. ‘We will be national by fall, and I want to be in at least the northern part of the US by this time next year,’ he says. ‘By year two, we’ll be at least bi-monthly, if not monthly.’

Supported by banner ads, will feature additional content such as photos and behind-the-scenes video of shoots, along with a preview feature that allows users to view selections of the magazine in a digital window. The website will not include the entire print publication.

Inaugural advertisers include HR consultants Wallace & Partners, Lola Luna lingerie and Remax Village Realty. No ad campaigns are planned yet, but a word-of-mouth initiative will put the mag’s female models in Toronto subway stations to hand out copies to guys who fit the profile.

Asked what Prelude will offer in a marketplace that saw TORO fail, Jessop says: ‘This is two people’s vision, and it’s taken us a year to build. We have no qualms about being a mens’ lifestyle magazine in Canada. And from what I’m gathering from rumours, there’s going to be five or six more launching this year.’