Monday, November 07, 2011

Promoting the Body Issue

I know I am a little late to the game here but 1) I haven't been checking my After Atalanta email (if anyone knows an easy way to forward gmail to another account please enlighten me) and 2) sick...sick sick sick.
But I did manage to get a copy of ESPN Magazine's third (third, right?) Body issue.
Dr. Pants texted me and informed me that it was a must-see. Dr. Pants is a big Hope Solo fan and Solo did grace one of the covers this year. Me, not so much so I didn't really care much about seeing Solo pseudo nude.
But the article about testicles was too much to pass up. (more on that at a later date)
So I read it. I am getting a little bored of this whole thing actually. (Well except for the testicles article.)
And I wonder if ESPN can sense that the Body Issue just isn't that interesting. That it will never draw the same attention as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Because was what was sent to my After Atalanta gmail:
The only magazine that can possibly trump the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue for popularity has to be the 2011 ESPN The Magazine ‘Body Issue.’ Want big stars without clothes? This one is all you. Hope Solo, Alicia Sacramone, Helio Castroneves, Apolo Ohno, Blake Griffin, Jose Reyes and even a professional bowler. The photos would normally be considered NSFW, but chill out, it’s art!

Included in the email were some of the pictures.
It was sent by Stephen Gebhardt, the director of marketing for the COED Media Group, which is some kind of marketing group designed to appeal to college students. I guess that explains why I was told to chill out because it's art. Still not sure why I received this email. Do they assume because I write a blog I am young and hip? I'm not. (I had to look up with NSFW meant.)  And I thought that college kids were, like, so over blogs. It's all about Twitter now, right? (Which reminds me I need to get back to tweeting in an attempt to remain current.)

I can't imagine that this group just randomly chose to promote this issue. That means ESPN must have hired them.
In other words, the "it's art" thing is all tongue in cheek. I think that's a pretty icky thing for ESPN to do. I think it woos some of the athletes and readers with the "it's art, it's classy, it's not the SI Swimsuit Issue." And then it turns around and promotes the product as just the opposite.


Diane said...

Also, all three covers have been of females, which I don't think is a coincidence. And I find the photos of Hope Solo to somewhat sexualized.

Those are my only quibbles, though, other than the marketing of the issue, as you have pointed out. But when it comes to SI, one should not raise one's expectations.

Anonymous said...

@Diane--There are multiple covers for each issue, many of which have been of men.

The 2009 issue also had covers with Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Adrian Peterson (NFL), and Dwight Howard (NBA) [in addition to .

In 2010, Amare Stoudemire and Camilo Villegas both graced the covers [in addition to Diana Taurasi, the us women's water polo team, and Esther Vergeer--who is a wheelchair tennis player].

In 2011, ESPN featured Blake Griffin, Jose Reyes, and Tim Howard on the cover (in addition to Solo and Gretchen Bleiler).

Diane said...

I didn't know about the multiple covers--thanks for the correction. However, to my knowledge, SI has promoted only the covers with women, which kind of leads back to the original blog post.

ken said...

It's interesting. I know there are multiple covers but when I go to buy the issue every year I can only find the ones with the featured woman: Solo this year, Taurasi last, and I think Serena Williams the year before. I wonder how many of each cover is printed and who gets these other covers? Subscribers?