Stuff magazine drops cover girls: 'We’re in a post-lads' mags era'

Research showed readers were being alienated by the gratuitous photos

The UK’s biggest-selling gadget magazine, Stuff, has dropped cover girls from its front and spreads because the pictures were alienating readers in a post-lads’ mags age.

A new look for the magazine was unveiled on Tuesday, with the conspicuous absence of a scantily dressed woman behind the technology headlines.

Editors originally aimed to attract readers by getting the magazine positioned alongside 90s lads’ mags but focus groups, audience research and cover trials have shown a shift in attitudes.

Instead of drawing readers in, the editor-in-chief, Will Findlater, said there were concerns that cover girls were making readers feel awkward and alienating potential buyers.

He said: “Stuff was launched in 1996 at the peak of the lad mag era.

“Nearly twenty years on - and with tech now an indispensable part of everyday life - our readership has changed.

“The covers used to help our position on the newsstand but our research tells us this is no longer the case.”

The once male-dominated readership is now made up of 40 per cent women.

Tesco has struck a 'modesty deal' regarding the front covers of magazines such as Zoo, Nuts and Front and Bizarre will be supplied in a bag Circulation of lads' mags has been declining in recent years “We want the cover to reflect what Stuff is about: the best technology in the world,” Mr Findlater said.

“Our new look will make it easier for us to bring our award-winning coverage… to readers united by their passion for technology - and nothing else.”

Trial covers on Stuff’s April, May and June 2014 issues removed cover girls from 20 per cent of the print run in four UK regions, while normal covers ran everywhere else.

The test demonstrated that readers everywhere far preferred the “non-girl” covers with sales 10 per cent up in April and also boosted in May and June, compared to the regular covers.

Stuff has received many complaints over the years about its use of models, with readers saying it was unrelated to the story or plain sexist.

No More Page Three and other campaigns have shone a spotlight on topless models and sexualised images in the media in recent years and while the Sun has refused to budge, the closure of Nuts earlier this year seemed to signal a sea-change in perceptions.

As Mr Findlater put it: “We’re in a post-lads' mags era.”

Read more: Lucy Pinder pictured crying on last Nuts cover
'No more page 3' protests erupt
'Why I started 'no more page 3' campaign'
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Advertisement Sales Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...

Guru Careers: Product Design Engineer / UX Designer

£20 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a tech savvy Product Design Engineer /...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: German speaking Account Manager / ...

Guru Careers: System Administrator / Sys Admin

£23 - 30K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a System Ad...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor