Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Bo Derek, Jul/Aug 00
(continued from page 1)
Once I saw the new typeface on your magazine's masthead, I suspected that something was up. Seeing the cigar material tucked away in the back reinforced my suspicion and reading your introduction confirmed it--the cigar boom is over! But I never thought you'd retreat so quickly. You are changing from a cigar magazine with other interesting articles to a "men's" magazine with a cigar section. Why not be more forthright with your readers? I feel deceived.
Central Valley, New York
Editor's reply: Mike, I thank you for your passionate response. I can assure you that, though we've made some changes, we have no intention of abandoning our original mission.
I was shocked to receive my June 2000 issue of Cigar Aficionado. The layout, the font change, the whole structure and content of the magazine was totally foreign. While you have a very good point about broadening the appeal of the magazine, it should not be done in a way that alienates the vast majority of the readership.
The new format had a very sterile feeling. The personality of the magazine was totally gone in that issue. When I first looked through the magazine, I felt as if I was reading The Wall Street Journal, rather than my favorite cigar publication. The first thing that I look at is the cigar ratings; they are the main reason that I subscribe to your magazine. I was disappointed to find the new torpedo ratings buried in the back. The layout almost made it seem like you are ashamed about the focus of the magazine. Also, give your readers some credit: there is no reason to give an explanation about the different shapes of cigars. Anybody who needs an explanation about the difference between shaped and non-shaped cigars probably is not going to be reading your magazine in the first place.
I can understand working with the format to try to broaden your appeal, but why change the fonts and the style of the magazine? The cover of the magazine used to look stately; people who appeared on it were dignified and classy. Like a fine cigar, the publication stood out from the crowd as something special, worthy of being savored. This month's issue of the magazine did not have that spark, and that was largely due to the font being totally different. I received the June issue on the same day that my wife received her Coastal Living. I am sad to say that I had a hard time distinguishing the two magazines from each other.
Finally, about the content: Did you have to include so many things about dogs? I like dogs as much as the next guy, but did they have to be mentioned on just about every page? The "Moments to Remember" section, another of my favorites, had nothing but man's best friend. I enjoy looking at pictures of people celebrating special occasions with cigars; a few dogs would have been fine, but the entire section was overkill.
It is all well and good to try new things, but please remember that too many new things at once are going to drive away more readers than they are going to attract. I have enjoyed the recent addition of "Insights" on sports, the stock market and politics that can now be found at the beginning of the magazine. Small changes like this are positive, while radical changes like the June issue are negative. I have subscribed to Cigar Aficionado for two years, and up to this point, I have been very satisfied with what I have received. I hope that the June 2000 issue was just a minor bump, and that a happy medium between the old and the new can somehow be achieved.