New Esquire editor to stick with cover policy

Tiffin has no plans to reinstate pin-ups to its cover

Esquire will not revert back to bikini-clad models on its cover, newly appointed editor Simon Tiffin said this week.

Tiffin, who will take over from editor Peter Howarth, said there were no plans for radical repositioning.

Currently deputy editor of Harpers & Queen, Tiffin told Press Gazette: "I think the general direction Esquire is going in is the correct one. There will be changes and in some areas they will be big."

However, he confirmed that he will not change the cover policy of Howarth, who dropped pictures of scantily dressed models in favour of a move upmarket to mirror the US edition.

Tiffin has 10 years’ experience working for Esquire’s direct rival GQ. Having joined GQ as an editorial assistant and junior sub-editor in 1990, he worked his way up to chief sub-editor and eventually editor of its sport and fitness spin-off GQ Active. He quit after it was merged back into GQ to join Harpers & Queen last year.

Duncan Edwards, National Magazine Company managing director, branded the men’s market "rather juvenile" this week, claiming that the relaunched Esquire had carved out a "distinctive grown-up positioning" with quality journalism at its core.

Esquire suffered a 30 per cent fall in circulation in August 2000 after its decision to drop lads mags’ pin-ups from its covers.

At the time, Howarth defended the move, claiming: "Out of the entire men’s magazine sector, we were the only ones to try to do anything different. The day we put a black and white portrait of Johnny Depp on the cover we lost 30 per cent of our sales but there are indications it can grow."

Howarth said NatMags was prepared for sales to drop by up to 40 per to around 60,000. The move also affected the magazine’s female readership, which plummeted from 77,000 to 33,000.

In the latest ABCs, Esquire showed renewed signs of stability, with sales of 62,005. Esquire was also one of only four titles out of 12 in the men’s sector not to show a decline in sales.

Tiffin remained tight-lipped about a possible redesign this week, but said there will be significant changes in certain areas.

"I am extremely excited. I can’t wait to get started and I’m looking forward to putting my vision into practice," he said. He is due to take over at the beginning of December.

By Ruth Addicott

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