Cover of August 2012
|Editor-In-Chief||Bill Phillips (2012-present)|
David Zinczenko (2000–2012)|
Greg Gutfeld (1999–2000)
Mike Lafavore (1988–1999)
Mark Bricklin (1987–1988)
|Based in||Emmaus, Pennsylvania|
Men's Health (MH), published by Rodale Inc. in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, United States, is the world's largest men's magazine brand, with 40 editions in 47 countries. It is also the best-selling men's magazine on U.S. newsstands. Although originally started as a men's health magazine, it currently covers various men's lifestyle topics such as fitness, nutrition, fashion, and sexuality. The magazine's website, MensHealth.com, averages 38 million page views a month.
Launched by Mark Bricklin in 1987 as a health-oriented service magazine, Men's Health has evolved into a lifestyle magazine for men, covering areas such as health, fitness, nutrition, relationships, travel, technology, fashion and finance. Bricklin, along with Rodale editors Larry Stains and Stefan Bechtel, initially produced three newsstand test issues. The results led Rodale to launch Men's Health as a quarterly magazine in 1988 and begin to sell subscriptions. Bricklin, who was editor-in-chief of Prevention magazine, appointed Mike Lafavore as editor of Men's Health that year. In his subsequent 12 years as editor-in-chief, Lafavore grew the circulation from 100,000 to more than 1.5 million, took the publishing frequency to 10 times a year, and expanded the magazine's brand to a number of countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and Russia. He created the editorial formula still in use today, brought aboard Steven Slon, a veteran of the service journalism category, imported Greg Gutfeld from Rodale's Prevention title and worked with longtime staff editor Denis Boyles, a former Playboy contributing editor, to develop the magazine's influential and distinctive "regular guy" voice. Lafavore left Men's Health in 2000, the same year Capell's Circulation Report named the magazine "Circulation Performer of the Decade." He appointed Greg Gutfeld as his successor. After a year, Gutfeld was replaced by David Zinczenko.
As of 2013 Men's Health publishes 40 foreign editions across 47 countries, up from 20 editions in 2001. The magazine does not run ads for tobacco or liquor companies; they also do not run ads for supplements and herbal remedies.
David Zinczenko became the editor-in-chief of Men's Health in 2000. Ronan Gardiner is the publisher. During this period, the magazine's circulation grew 30 percent, and ad pages grew 80 percent, from 700 pages to 1150. In 2000, the brand had 21 international editions. In 2001 the title was consistently selling 400,000 copies at newsstands and overall circulation was 1.6 million. In 2001, the magazine started the annual list of cities with the healthiest men based on twenty "live-long parameters, including death rates (both homicide and disease); illness rates (high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, etc.); body-mass index; fitness training; even environmental factors like number of parks, golf courses, etc." In 2003, the circulation was 1.7 million. In 2006, the circulation was close to 1.8 million. As of June 2011, the circulation was 1.89 million.
Men's Health magazine has been criticized for its focus on physical health, which can increase men's anxieties about their bodies, making them more prone to eating disorders and compulsive over-exercising. Says The New York Times, "Since its debut in the late 1980's, the magazine has surpassed traditional men's books like Esquire and GQ by following the formula of best-selling women's magazines — by catering to men's anxieties about their bodies and sexual performance." Columbia Journalism Review stated the magazine "deals overwhelmingly with self-care and, in fact, exaggerates the possibilities for autonomous personal transformation." Then Editor-In-Chief Zinczenko argued that the magazine works towards "overcoming the resistance of the 86-percent male audience to health as a subject" and redefining health as "inclusive of everything that could improve a man's life. Great sex. Great food. Endorphin-boosting exercise. Looking and feeling your best. We turned health into a concept every guy would want to embrace, starting with the healthy guy on the cover."
The magazine has also been criticized for reusing cover taglines. In response, Zinczenko explained that the majority of magazine sales—80 percent—are subscription and those covers vary from the newsstand version. Said Zinczenko, "Twenty years of Men's Health has certainly produced several lines that have proven themselves effective at newsstand, which makes up about 20 percent of our print run. We plan to keep using the most effective marketing tools to reach the largest market we possibly can." In July 2010, the magazine was criticized for including tiny credit lines on the cover rather than inside as a possible quid-pro-quo for advertisers. Zinczenko explained the lines were a service to readers, saving them the need to dig for the information, and that Men's Health had been including the lines across the board for over a year, regardless of advertiser status. A spokesperson for American Society of Magazine Editors confirmed that no rules were broken and the director for print strategy at a media planning and buying firm said the mention was "too small of a plug to get brands excited."
In 2004, the magazine began putting celebrities and athletes on the cover, and with their shirts on—a big departure from the cover look of the 1990s. In 2004, Rodale filed suit against Men's Fitness for its redesign which makes it "a copycat version--one that is obviously intended to confuse consumers." In May 2006, the magazine published a limited edition color cover of Josh Holloway. In the first half of 2006, newsstand sales for Men's Health rose from 492,000 to 544,000 during a price increase from $3.95 to $4.50. In 2006, the magazine and the Rodale's other properties made extensive efforts to increase online content including adding video to each section, enlisting every major section editor to blog, and adding an online ad sales director.
In fall 2007, Men's Health launched the FitSchools initiative to combat childhood obesity. The magazine sends health, fitness, and nutrition experts to selected schools each year to remake the physical education programs and school lunch offerings. Gettys Middle School, in Easley, South Carolina, was the first FitSchool. In spring 2008, the magazine launched The FitSchools Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to help end childhood obesity and get America's kids interested in healthy, active living.
The January/February "2008 The Year of You" edition became the all-time single-copy sales issue in the magazine's history with 750,650 copies. Also in 2008, the magazine partnered with Google to make back issues available. In July 2008, "Men's Health" became the first to "create the first fully interactive advertising magazine in America," where users snap a picture of an ad and an immediate promotional bounce-back will be sent to their phone. For its 20th Anniversary issue in November 2008, Men's Health featured an interview and photo shoot with future President-elect Barack Obama. In 2010, Obama was again featured in reference to the health-care debates of the time and his proposed health plans. In 2011, another politician, Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois, graced the cover baring his chest to promote fitness. The cover was released on May 9 on the Today Show with Matt Lauer where Congressman Schock encouraged people to form healthy eating and fitness habits, and join the Men's Health "Fit for Life Summer Challenge" to shed pounds. Within minutes, the Congressman's 6-pack abs caught the attention of multiple publications and went viral.
In 2009, Men's Health published the Belly Off! Diet book, based on the popular weight-loss testimonial column in the magazine. The popular column, "Eat This, Not That!" (ETNT), also became a book series in 2007 and later developed different versions (children, supermarket, restaurant, diet book) and free iPhone applications. EatThis.MensHealth.com was the most highly trafficked section of MensHealth.com in 2009 with 1 million unique visitors and 15 million page views a month. In September 2009, the column "Ask Jimmy the Bartender" was turned into an iPhone and iPad application.
In 2010, Men's Health became one of the first consumer magazines to enter the iPad market. The magazine's first application, "Men's Health Workouts," has maintained a position at or near the "Top 10" in the Health & Fitness category since its debut.
In 2011, David Zinczenko was replaced by Bill Phillips.
In 2000 MH-18 (magazine), a youth-oriented version of Men's Health covering teen lifestyle, was spun off but ceased publication in November 2001.
In 2004 under Zinczenko's direction, Men's Health spun off Best Life. May 2009 was Best Life's last issue. Best Life was published 10 times a year and had a circulation of more than 500,000. Stephen Perrine, the former editorial creative director at Men's Health, was the editor-in-chief. David Zinczenko was editorial director. In March 2008, Best Life finished #2 on Adweek's prestigious "10 under 50" Hot List, which recognizes magazines with fewer than $50 million in ad revenue.
In 2005, Men's Health spun off Women's Health. The test-issue team was headed by Bill Stump, a former Men's Health editor who was then the head of Rodale Inc.'s New Product Development department. Within a year the circulation was at 750,000. Women's Health magazine is now published 10 times a year. In January 2009, Michele Promaulayko was named editor-in-chief of Women's Health. In March 2008, Women's Health finished #1 on Adweek's "10 under 50" Hot List. The magazine was named #2 on Advertising Age's 2008 A List. Women's Health has a circulation of 1.1 million.
In 2007, Men's Health spun off Men's Health Living, a newsstand special which was named one of the 30 most notable launches of 2007 by Samir Husni. Samir Husni stated that Men's Health Living is a "new genre of men's magazines that cater to non-woman related issues in a man's life - that has gone unfulfilled for years: interior design and home that meets the needs of the affluent man." The test issue of Men's Health Living was edited by Bill Phillips, executive editor of Men's Health. The first issue sold around 200,000 copies at $4.99 each out of 375,000 sent to newsstands. In January 2009, a second Men's Health Living issue was at newsstands, 450,000 copies at $5.99 each.
In 2009, Men's Health spun off Children's Health, a special issue that was part of a Rodale publishing idea to work with President and First Lady Obama to show support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The magazine published how-to stories about fitness and nutrition for children.
Awards and recognition
In March 1994, Advertising Age magazine named Mike Lafavore its "Editor of the Year." [March 6, 1994]. Four years later he won the International Herald Tribune Award for "International Editor of the Year" for his work on Men's Health's foreign editions. The magazine was also nominated for several National Magazine Awards, including "General Excellence" under his editorship. Since 2000, Men's Health has been nominated for 15 National Magazine Awards or "Ellies," which are administrated by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME).
Men's Health won in the category of Personal Service in 2004, the first win for the magazine, and for parent company Rodale. In 2010, Men's Health took home the "General Excellence" award. Menshealth.com's Eat This, Not That! portion of their Web site took home the 2010 Digital Ellies award, also sponsored by the ASME, for best "Interactive Tool," an award honoring the outstanding use of interactive tools that enable users to create or share content, participate in communities, improve the quality of their lives or enjoy recreational activities. In 2010, Minonline.com deemed menshealth.com's personal trainer channel, the "Best Premium Site," an award recognizing subscription sites oriented around service. And in 2011, Men's Health won an Ellie in the category of "Personal Service" for an article, "I Want My Prostate Back" by Larry Stains.
Although Men's Health was founded in the U.S., its international editions have made it the world's largest men's magazine brand. The magazine's worldwide monthly circulation including all editions has reached 1.85 million and over 20 million readers worldwide. Men's Health is currently published in 39 editions.
International editions account for over 80% of the magazine's trade volume. In each market, local editors commission or purchase articles for their own market and share content with US and other editions. The selected articles are then translated and edited by local staffers to make them match the "well-educated informal" style of the American edition. Usually, these editions started out as translations of the US version of the magazine, but over time many non-US editions became unique, providing material more pertinent to local readers.
- Australia: see Men's Health (Australian magazine)
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom: see Men's Health (British magazine)
- David Zinczenko Leaves Rodale
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