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Why Australian GQ sucks – part 5: Online May 20, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, marketing, work/life.
Tags: , , , , ,

Everything Web 2.0Do me a favour, open a new tab or window in your browser and punch in www.gq.com.au. What happens? It re-directs to the Vogue website where we’re given a token sampling of the current issue in the midst of the Australian Vogue website.

Hold up (wait a minute).

Vogue. We’re not Vogue, we’re GQ! Since when is the GQ man subservient to the Vogue woman? Understand, this isn’t gender politics, this is branding 101. The GQ man is strong and independent, he is a law unto his own stylish self. He can have epic, swinging-from-the-chandeliers-sex with the Vogue woman, but he is in no way beholden to her, certainly not a subset of her environment.

Contrast this with British GQ. Being the digital guy that I am, I’m going to call a spade a bloody shovel (thanks Grandpa), the British GQ site isn’t much better, but it is its own beast. Girls, gadgets, films, music, motors, style, grooming, bars, restaurants and only right at the end is the magazine mentioned – which makes me think, nay, hope Conde Nast’s UK operations have an inkling that print still has a role to play but its digital offering needs to have its own legs.

(I am however biased…moving on…)

GQ.com.au should be something the magazine is not. Nobody is going to read a printed page’s worth of content online, pieces are shorter, they’re a single idea (or they should be). You have people’s attention in a place where they’re willingly engaged by your brand. Not only that, you probably have the attention of some fairly articulate and intelligent people (and then me) who are in a medium where they’re familiar with exchanging ideas in public forums; why not give them an appropriate space to do that?

What about a showcase for Australia’s best menswear designers? You have such limited inventory in the magazine, online is as good as limitless. We’re all guilty of salivating over the same foreign labels, though I was in a bar Saturday night and a guy in Zegna asked where I got my coat – it was Saba, home grown. If a site conveniently put together a shopping list of Australian labels I would seek them out and wear them proudly.

Let’s recognise there’s a whole audience around men’s grooming and fashion that is unique to Australian culture, why is Australian GQ not the epicentre of that the way GQ is in every other territory? Because we still all aspire to Paul Smith suits anyway? Perhaps. But if we don’t back our own nobody else will, and GQ Australia is in a privileged position where it can and should make that happen.

In conclusion…

I’m a huge fan of the GQ brand – to me it perfectly nails a combination of aspiration and accessibility. The GQ man is James Bond without the inconvenience of having to save the world (though he probably could…), it is working hard and playing much, much harder. We all have brands or products we love that have somehow fallen by the wayside, as consumers we can demand they do better, and we should! If they do better, then everyone wins, if they don’t, it is a one-sided victory that isn’t even ours – it goes to that brand’s competitors.

For now though, I’m going back to work, There’s a new British GQ out on the shelves of Borders, and I’m stuck back in March. I suppose in the absence of Australian GQ, I’d at least have more time…

…something the GQ man can never get enough of.

Image courtesy of Stabilo Boss with thanks to Flickr Storm.

Update: I wanted to link all five posts together for easy reference, so here they are.

  1. The Editor
  2. The Writers
  3. The Art Direction
  4. Audience & Competitors
  5. Online (you are here)


1. Why Australian GQ sucks - part 4: Audience & Competitors « Wide Open Spaces - May 20, 2008

[…] Tomorrow, we’ll finish up by looking at online. […]

2. Why Australian GQ sucks - part 2: Writers « Wide Open Spaces - May 20, 2008

[…] Online Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Note Couture […]

3. Why Australian GQ sucks - part 3: Art direction « Wide Open Spaces - August 25, 2008

[…] Online […]

4. Australian GQ are listening… « Creative Is Not A Department - October 25, 2008

[…] Australian GQ’s website reveals some changes afoot. It’s not a complete about face on the things I called them out for, but it’s a […]

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