First conceived in the UK in 2002, High Street Honeys allowed FHM readers to enter their girlfriends into a competition to appear on their magazine's cover. The feature is now running in more than 20 countries and has moved into different media: TV shows, a lucrative global subscription website, locally produced DVDs and mobile phone downloads. The cover above shows the Thai winner for 2005.
March 2003 saw the most successful launch in FHM's international history. It was the first time the country had seen irreverent cover lines, backed by film star Elsa Pataky in her first men's magazine shoot, and a widespread marketing campaign across TV, radio and point of sale. The launch issue had to be reprinted twice to record a final sale of more than 350,000 copies.
Following the success of Empire magazine's legendary Spider-Man 2 cover from August 2004, Emap's French division immediately began working on the first edition of FHM with a ground-breaking "lenticular" cover. The winner of France's version of Pop Idol, Eve Angeli, appeared in a lifelike three-dimensional first for the French newsstand.
Market-leading FHM Australia promoted its September issue with the first entirely "FHM-produced" DVD. Featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes video from around the FHM world - as well as its own High Street Honeys - it heralded the next stage of international co-operation around the FHM network. This year all 30 editions will co-operate on DVD and video production.
Demonstrating both the marketing innovation and the ability of the FHM network to share good ideas, the cover above is from FHM Russia's "supersize" issue - a magazine 50 per cent larger than normal. Conceived to celebrate the second anniversary of the Russian edition, and a big hit with advertisers looking for bespoke display ads outside the norm, it has been taken up by seven territories so far and culminated in FHM UK's "three size" August issue: compact, normal and supersize.
Already the biggest men's magazine in the Asian region, in May 2004 FHM also became the first mass-market men's title to launch in China. Created in co-operation with Beijing publishers Trends and in close consultation with FHM's international editorial staff, FHM China has proved the best example of how to translate the classic FHM values - funny, sexy, useful - into a more conservative culture. Now selling 330,000 copies a month (according to the LA Times), FHM is the biggest men's magazine in the world's biggest market.
The newest addition to FHM's global presence, FHM Greece is the 30th magazine in the international portfolio. In the biggest sampling exercise for a launch issue, 250,000 copies were printed and given away in an anonymous black bag along with Greece's biggest Sunday tabloid. Early indications are that, again, FHM has already moved ahead of its two closest competitors in circulation.
In November FHM announced a global first: a nine-territory deal with Microsoft Game Studios to promote Xbox360 launch title Perfect Dark Zero and its star, Joanna Dark. A limited-edition run of the issue in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden featured Dark as its first "virtual" cover star, while online there was the first multilingual website across all nine countries.
A unique "triple gatefold" design allowed FHM Norway to feature all 10 of its High Street Honeys finalists on a single cover. The best-selling issue of the life of the magazine, despite its small staff, FHM Norway recently announced a July circulation figure of 60,000 out of a population of only four million.
As winner of the UK's Sexiest Women in the World vote for 2005, FHM UK secured Kelly Brook for this year's June issue. Shot on location in Mexico by fashion photographer James White, this edition demonstrated how confident FHM remains as a magazine despite recent market upheavals: a unique cover, completely bereft of all cover lines, and a best-seller on the newsstand.
In December 2004 ESPN Monday Night Sports presenter LeeAnn Tweeden marked a new stage in growth for FHM US, her cover helping to record a highest ever FHM sale on the newsstand despite a declining market. The upward trend continued through 2005, with this year's Mariah Carey issue breaking sales records again.
Now in its 12th year, the 100 Sexiest Women in the World is FHM's signature promotion and the largest global event in the men's magazine industry. Every year - across 30 editions - FHM collects more than 10 million votes before collating the results. Locally, each country puts its national winner on the cover; this year's example from Germany features supermodel Eva Padberg.