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ALIVE AGAIN: Rodale is about to give the Heisman stiff arm to all those print magazine naysayers with the relaunch of Best Life, a publication that helps men “live the good life.” According to editor in chief Steve Perrine, this reader is at the top of his career, in peak physical health and his family life is under control. Despite the fact that this seems nearly impossible to achieve all at once, Perrine’s mission is to create a magazine that caters to these all-stars.
The timing of Best Life’s return (it folded in May 2009) is due to a few factors, including the rise of luxury advertising and resurgence in the men’s fashion business. “We are testing the waters,” said Perrine, who added a second issue is already planned for spring. Best Life is joining a flock of magazines seeking to tap into similar audiences, including the relaunch of M from Fairchild Fashion Media, parent of WWD, and Bloomberg Pursuits, which may up its frequency.
Perrine claimed there’s a reason a title such as Best Life can have a second life. “There are things luxury magazines can do that no other format can,” he said. “There is a reason why newsweeklies are struggling. You can get that information more timely online. You can’t get that luxurious feeling from a Web site or digital edition of a magazine the way you can from that big, physical, beautiful magazine.”
David Zinczenko, general manager of Rodale’s healthy living group and editorial director of Best Life, said the key to the success of a magazine such as Best Life will be to deliver “essential information to a targeted readership. And, you need to bring in the digital component and fully integrate and go beyond to become that global brand that, like Men’s Health, is everywhere. The general interest title not hitting a passionate targeted readership will be in trouble.”
The first issue of Best Life has a brooding Hugh Jackman on the cover, standing beneath a new logo that Perrine described as being more subtle, modern and masculine. Inside the issue, Mehmet Oz talks about a near-death experience he had as a child that changed the course of his life. There is a piece on the successful man that hasn’t met the right woman but who wants to become a father. There is also plenty of style and fashion coverage.
Publisher Ronan Gardiner hasn’t closed the book yet but so far, “fashion and luxury are leading the charge, from Cartier to Ralph Lauren to Calvin Klein.” To date, Best Life’s readers have had a median age of 45 and income of $150,000 a year.
Ads aside, Perrine put the magazine together with the help of a few former Best Life employees. He laughed when asked how many people are on his staff. “We got a lot of folks to come in and volunteer to help,” he said. “There is a tremendous love for this magazine.”