UPDATE: Dan Bignold, Managing Editor of SH Magazine has posted his response below.
One week ago, we were sent a press release promoting SH Magazine‘s new look by their Hong Kong headquarters. Apart from getting the spelling of their own magazine title and the name of their Shanghai managing editor all WRONG, the press release promised the following:
In line with the design, SH is also revamping the editorial with new columns, campaigns, topical issues and lifestyle stories. The bold redesign promises to make a huge impact in the market as it offers a radical change – and will be picked up fast by the magazine’s loyal readership.
After flipping through a copy of their first issue of the new year (which screamed from its cover, “Like our new look?”), we have to say, the change was a little, erm, underwhelming. We were expecting, as their press release proffered, a “bold redesign”. Also, we weren’t able to find their classifieds segment, so that appears to be a thing of the past now (to the pleasure of Enjoy Classifieds and Adweekly).
By the way, does anyone notice how the two characters “广告” (the Chinese term for “advertorial”) appears on, like, every single page of the magazine? A quick check with their pre-revamp editions last year shows the mistake has been there for some time. Either these guys are not flipping through their own magazine or they just don’t realise that tagging the word “广告” onto every page of your magazine is just plain craziness. A more likely explanation is that “广告” is supposed be a short form of SH Mag’s Chinese name, “中外文广告” (which loosely translates into “Sino-Foreign Languages Advertisements”), and is hence printed on every page. But wait a minute, so what do we call the magazine now: SH, 8 Days, or its Chinese name “广告”? With everyone still calling it different names (come on, they’re not new on the market anymore), the magazine continues to suffer from an identity crisis they should deal with sooner rather than later.
Since the departure of managing editor Michael Cole (we heard he sold off all his shares too), Asia City has apparently been sending its top executives to Shanghai very frequently, to see what SH is up to. According to one of our friends working with BK (the company’s Thailand edition), Asia City’s publications are all either #1 or #2 in every city they’re in, with the exception of Shanghai. Reason enough, we guess, that they believe SH could be doing much better.
UPDATE: Response from Dan Bignold, Managing Editor of SH Magazine:
Thanks for picking up on the redesign of the magazine, and for pointing out the misspelling of my name on the press release. As for the rest of your observations, the classifieds are still very much in place, just at the back of the magazine instead of as a pull-out. In this week’s issue they start on page 31. This brings us in line with the rest of our city living magazines in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. Next, the characters 广告 at the top of most pages are not a mistake – they’ve been there since June after all – but part of our publishing license. Regarding the name, you can carry on calling the magazine SH, as you have done in another Shanghaiist post this week. You are not the only person to wonder about the 8Days tag, which is why with the redesign we’ve got rid of it from the cover. I hope that clears up our identity. And finally, Michael Cole was managing director, not managing editor – that’s me.