Neal Boulton on Roger Black

Boulton on Black

Roger Black, from this morning’s mb interview, on his redesign of Men’s Fitness:

The strategy we tried to put into place for covers was doing well on the stands, but they would override it every other issue, and those issues did badly, so they thought that the whole thing was doing badly, and it wasn’t. And it turns out that the hideous thing that they did, did well. (Laughs.) What the hell.

NealBoulton.jpgNeal Boulton responds:

“Roger Black’s account of the current magazine climate is curious at best. It’s hard to tread on a legend, but, as the title suggests, he is a legend, not a current champion of today’s trends. And what is more odd is the notion of the “Bonnie-Fullerization” of magazines, when, in fact, my friend Bonnie simply knows how to cut through the clutter and isolate the urgent need of America-on the cover of a magazine.

What’s more curious is precisely how the market share of nearly all the titles at American Media under the stewardship of David and Bonnie (with a little of Neal Boulton thrown in for good measure, as I am the Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Fitness, and the Creative Director of (all) Consumer Books at American Media) have grown since Roger’s brief consulting stint ended. (I redesigned the Roger-Men’s-Fitness and afterwards it grew a whopping 38.2% more on the newsstand and a bolder 14.9% more in advertising-that means in ’04 we led the category, growing faster than GQ, ESPN, Esquire, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, and Outside, just to name a few).

Perhaps the reason for that is that times, oh the times, have changed.
Strategic design wins. That esoteric world of Design Consultants once led by the likes of Roger Black and Robert Priest demand more from their ‘wizardry’: more in the area of market share than design award share.

Today, America is governed by the bottom line. Hell, and why not, this country is made of money that you and I can win if the product sells enough. My suggestion for the old guard: Enjoy the boat and learn how to play golf.”