Marketing Essays – Cosmopolitan Promotional Strategies

A instance survey into the promotional schemes of a consumer magazine and how these incorporate into the selling scheme of the sector of magazine publication.

Promotional Schemes

What I chose and why

For this instance survey I have chosen to critiqueCosmopolitan. This magazine was chosen for legion grounds. First for it’shistorical function within the landscape of adult females ‘s magazines in the UK. Alsobecause up until late Cosmopolitan was the highest selling adult females ‘s magazinein the UK. Due to the launch of Glamour, Cosmopolitan has lost this rubric. Iwill explore the promotional schemes Cosmopolitan has employed to seek toregain their past place as top of the magazine rankings, and expression at howsuccessful they have been to day of the month.

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Cosmopolitan has been the magazine of choiceuntil Glamour launched in 2000. Hex broke convention by publishing in asmaller size that could suit in a adult female ‘s pocketbook. Glamour finally ushered inthe epoch of convenience in magazines. Women no longer turn to magazines foropinion, unless it ‘s on make-up and apparels

Cosmopolitan ‘s mark audience

Harmonizing to the Cosmopolitan media battalion:

Cosmo adult females are immature, ambitious, informed. Themajority are in full-time work. They earn – and they spend! Cosmo adult females spendover 1 billion a twelvemonth on manner. They account for 1 out of every 11 spenton cosmetics and skin care in the UK. Cosmo readers live good: they spend over2 billion on their places, 3.5 billion on nutrient and about 1.4 billion on newcars.1

Plague Analysis

Political Future

When the rubric launched in the UK in 1972, theeditor – Joyce Hopkirk -and manner and beauty editor – Deirdre McShany – bothcame from the Sun. Leftist positions were rather outstanding in the UK version. Infact, in the 2nd UK edition, Germaine Greer ‘s hubby caused a splash byposing nude in the magazine – an inside gag for women’s rightists.

In it ‘s early phases, Cosmopolitan was constantlyin the headlines. The Daily Mail was shocked by its usage of the word ” virgin ” in an ad, and London Transport insisted that the word ” frigid ” , used in another ad, must be covered up with a black strip.However, the black strip was n’t long plenty, and on some postings the advertread, ‘I was degree Fahrenheit… .d! ‘ .

The current tendency in adult females ‘s magazines is movingaway from political and societal issues and more into the universe of famous person andsensationalism. Despite this, Cosmopolitan is determined to keep itspolitical paths. In January 2005, Sam Baker, the magazine ‘s current editor, contacted the leaders of the Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties forinterviews in the magazine to co-occur with the 2005 general election. In aninterview with Louise France for The Observer she explained herreasoning behind these political characteristics:

Bakerdoes n’t care what her readers ballot, she merely believes that they need toexercise their rights. ‘If we do n’t, we ‘re in danger of disenfranchisingourselves. And if we do n’t get down voting we run the hazard of ne’er vote.2

Economic Future

The magazine market has hada5 % year-on-year rise in the figure of transcripts actively purchasedaccording to ABC figures released for the period to December 2004. However, there has been fear about a possible impregnation of the adult females ‘s magazine market.ABC figures showed there was no cause for concern.

This yearhowever, I believe is the twelvemonth of the adult females ‘s magazine market. These latestfigures reveal an upward rush in adult females ‘s slicks such asGlamour, CosmopolitanandMarie Claire. This addition in circulationindicates that adult females ‘s appetency for slicks magazines has n’t abated or reachedsaturation point like many feared.3

Despite a clear rise in women’smagazine readership, Cosmopolitan – which rose 5.08 % from 397,272 in December2003 to 417,445 in December 2004 – Cosmopolitan still finds itself in anunstable place, draging in 2nd topographic point to Glamour magazine, which had a5.67 % twelvemonth on twelvemonth addition, from 548,672 to 579,761.

Social-Cultural Future

Women’smagazines, particularly manner magazines, tend to turn to knowing youngreaders who are seen as loyal, independent, and ready to pass. This explainsthe overall in conformance of magazine content, with their subdivisions devoted tocelebrity characteristics, manner, beauty, wellness, interior and lifestyle. Butmagazine publishers – like the media industry in general – are now viewingyouth as an progressively elastic class ( Gough-Yates, 2003, p4 ) .

On a whole, Cosmopolitan has tried to contend this tendency towards famous person and manner, bymaintaining a sexual orientation to its characteristics. However, snap in thereadership is more broad spread. Presently, there are big proportions ofBangladesh, Indian, Black Caribbean, Black African and Chinese adult females in thedemographic that Cosmopolitan marks4. Again, Cosmopolitan hasresisted this cultural alteration ; the bulk of colored faces in the May 2005edition were from the advertizement pages.

Technological Future

Cosmopolitanhas non bought into technological alteration every bit much as its coevalss. Mostwomen ‘s magazines now have an on-line version of the magazine for people toview. However, Cosmopolitan choose supply a service with their on-line presence ; a means for its audience to buy the branded points, and entree otherservices related to the magazine and its readers. Cosmopolitan ‘s website ismore of a Cosmopolitan portal.

From the PESTanalysis, it is clear that Cosmopolitan does non adjust good to alter. It seesitself as an establishment due to its early political paths and is happening ithard to agitate this duty.

Promotional schemes employed

The Message

The strapline for Cosmopolitan is ‘For FunFearless Females ‘ . While it emphasises strength in adult females, there is anunderlying component of non being afraid to be feminine, indicated in the usage ofthe universe females alternatively of adult females. This coincides with McCracken ‘s ( 1993 ) belief that when purchasing a magazine we are purchasing into a feminine ideal. Infact, she believes that adult females readers are duped bymagazines into going slaves to tendencies in manner, beauty and muliebrity.

The Cover

It isconvention among adult females ‘s magazines to hold their featured star celebrityadorning the screens. This is a major promotional tool in the currentcelebrity-focused clime. Cosmopolitan strays from this somewhat. While themagazine will hold a famous person featured in every edition, these famous persons areoften non featured on the screen. Alternatively, Cosmopolitan has created a coverelement called ‘Cosmo Loves ‘ , and a famous person of pick is placed on the coverunder this streamer. There is a page inside the magazine that offers the coverstar a little focal point – without this, the audience would experience cheated.

Cosmopolitanstill uses screen layout conventions and takes note of page existent estate, withthe word ‘Sexy ‘ – a word synonymous with what people expect of Cosmopolitancontent – written in a big fount in the top left manus corner. There is alsothe usage of Numberss in the top left manus corner, and even a circle in the country -a tool used in stores to tag sale or particular points, the ruddy circle has become asymbol of the ‘good trade ‘ . This existent estate expression of seting the points mostattractive to purchasers in this country was due to merchandise arrangement, but is non asnecessary as it used to be. Before magazines where overlapped on the newsstandsand their lone open country was the top left manus corner. Now larger magazineslike Cosmopolitan are given premium infinite on magazine bases in stores like W HSmith, and the whole forepart screen is seeable. However, doing usage of page realestate is still valid if you take into history that people by and large read fromtop to bottom, left to compensate.


Cosmopolitan has seven chief subdivisions:


New & A ; Real Life

Love, Sex & A ; Success




Every Calendar month

The ‘celeb ‘ subdivision merely has four characteristics andthere is notably no characteristics subdivision. Alternatively the magazine is verycompartmentalised with standard pages like Cosmo Money, Cosmo Careers andCheat ‘s Guide. Cosmopolitan is finally a service magazine. It offers a lotof advice and how-to information. Where there are characteristics, the focal point onreal-life narratives, which frequently have a sensational component.

This paired with the conversational usage of languagecreates familiarity. Not merely is Cosmo your friend, it ‘s a life manual ; it is anecessary component in the reader ‘s life. This component of necessity of cardinal in themarketing scheme of the magazine, and besides the overturning scheme of itsparent company, Natmags, which publishes other manual-like rubrics includingGood Housekeeping and Men ‘s Health.

It besides has a ‘Cosmo Offers ‘ subdivision. This month, the offers consist of 20 % off at Oasis. Affiliation with peculiar stores is anewer magazine publicity convention ; it gives the reader an added motivation to buythe magazine, and broadens the range of the magazine ‘s ethos, by including theconnotations of the store they have chosen to be associated with.


In an attempt to repossess the top topographic point, Cosmopolitan has copied Glamour ‘s pocketbook size. The rich person besides copied otherlayout elements from Glamour magazine, like the information strip at the top ofthe magazine. They do still bring forth the magazine in their larger A4 format. Forthe May edition, the A4 version had a free book, while the smaller version hadno free gift. This could work adversely for Cosmopolitan, as it implies thatthe larger version is less valuable and so needs the book to warrant the monetary value.

Monetary value

Cosmopolitan have opted for premium pricing, at2.95. There does n’t look to be clear justification for this monetary value, consideringGlamour, the market leader is a lb cheaper at 1.95, and Marie Claire, whichis rated merely behind Cosmopolitan, is now 2.50. Sing Cosmopolitanappeals to the mundane facet of its audience and does n’t by into fantasy viacelebrity, they make monetary value themselves out of the market. For a magazine aboutthe existent universe, the monetary value comes across as unrealistic.


Cosmopolitan has earned a repute for beingshocking and sensational through sexual political relations. This has frequently beenrepresented in its advertisement runs. In 2002 the magazine embarked on anad run that had ocular equivocal images. On was of an unfastened sham pelt bagwith pink satin liner ; another was a adult female in a Bikini with a thin watercourse ofwhite liquid running down her tummy and another was a lip rouge that was shotto expression like a vibrator.

Extreme tactics like the 1s mentioned above arenecessary for a magazine like Cosmopolitan. Many sexual tabu no longer existin current society ; without them there is no demand for Cosmopolitan. There adcampaigns prove we still have jobs with sexual subjects, and therefore validatethe need for the magazine.

The May edition of Cosmopolitan has 300 pages ( 304 including forepart and back screen ) . Of these, 122 pages are publicizing, excepting classifieds and Cosmopolitan ‘s ain adverts. Harmonizing to McCracken ( 1993, p91 ) : It is no longer allow to presume that the magazineis merely utile for advertisement nutrient and cleansing merchandises. The magazine needsto increase the scope of merchandises it advertises to guarantee consistent andongoing gross.

Brand Expansion

Some believe that modern society has broken sodecisively from the yesteryear we have lost the certainty of the past and no longerhave traditions to populate by. Without traditions we have no thought of how to live.Brands, nevertheless, can supply us with a replacement to traditions: trade names havebecome the new traditions – they shape and give intending to mundane lives -brands are the new traditions in our society. ( Grant, 1999 )

Cosmopolitan have strived to make a trade name, through extended merchandises. They have associated magazines: Cosmo Girl! andCosmo Bride ; they have their ain awards, which is an extension of theirposition to urge people and merchandises ; and they besides have a lingerie line.On top of this, their screen saddle horses are frequently branded. For the A4 May edition, the free book is an emended version of a book that has non yet been released, and has Cosmopolitan edition written on it.


Cosmopolitan have maintained their politicalstance and turn out that there is still a demand for what some might name a femininepolitical campaign with the usage of flooring sexual advertisement and the recentcoverage of the general election. These have selling schemes andpromotional schemes that it has employed since its launch in the 1970s.However, with societal alterations, and the reader ‘s new love matter with famous person -which is non merely fuelled by other adult females ‘s slicks, but besides by the influx ofwomen ‘s weeklies – Cosmopolitan will necessitate to make more to recover it ‘s place asmost read adult females ‘s magazine.


  • Cosmopolitan Media Pack
  • France, L. Cosmo is non merely about sex. Observer Magazine. 16 Jan, 2005
  • Top 100 Selling Consumer Magazines. ABC. 2004
  • Gender. National Statistics. October 2004


  • Gough-Yates, A.Understanding Women ‘s magazines: Publication, markets and Readerships( Routledge, 2003 )
  • McCracken, E.Decoding adult females ‘s Magazines. ( Macmillian, 1993 )
  • Grant, J.The new Marketing Manifesto.( Texere, 1999 )
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