Many years ago, when it came to men’s shopping magazines, I used to purchase “Vitals Man” and “Cargo Magazine”.
These magazines were literally the goto magazines during the mid-2000’s that told men where to shop for a variety of products plus articles that appealed to different men… while “Vitals Man” was more on the high end and more mature, “Cargo Magazine” was for the men in their ’20s or ’30s. Sure, while there is the Internet, there was something about these magazines that were interesting and it was the forums that would bring men together to chime away on a variety of subjects and fashion topics.
Granted, the Internet was still popular, but this was before Facebook and Twitter became popular and everyone was still getting over Friendster and getting used to Myspace.
Times changed and “Vitals Man” would shut down in 2005 and “Cargo Magazine” in 2006.
My only momento of “Cargo Magazine” was man bag they gave away at one time.
But I personally liked the idea of swag and men’s shopping magazine and in Japan, there are several.
One of the more popular magazines is “Street Jack”. And with the many locations to shop in Tokyo and brands galore, “Street Jack” tries to showcase what people in the city are wearing.
While in America, I have no problem going up to someone to ask where they purchased their jeans or acknowledge their cool fashion, in Japan, people keep to themselves most of the time.
While I have gone up to Japanese to ask about their fashion, if a Japanese person likes someone’s shoes or backpack, they are not going to ask where they bought it, unless they are close friends with that person.
So, this is where “Street Jack” works out perfectly. Japan is a society where normal people on the street are featured in their magazine for their fashion sense and as I have seen many photographers standing on the street corner of Shibuya or Omotesando, waiting for someone to come along, so they can shoot their fashion, bags or shoes.
As you can see with the backpacks, pictures are taken and for me, having gone to Japan, I also try to keep up with fashion trends, such as noticing how many Japanese are fond of “The North Face” backpacks and jackets, Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers and Casio G-Shocks, to name a few.
But where you can one find that certain item that person is wearing? And that is where “Street Jack” is quite successful in reaching out to readers.
But with competition with other magazines, having a beautiful idol is not going to sell a lot of magazines. You need something else to win over readers.
And sure enough, with each cover of “Street Jack”, you can see the free swag one will get with a purchase of the magazine. And for me, the types of swag that I have seen with men’s shopping magazines are very cool!
For the August issue of “Street Jack”, one of the coolest things to be offered is a coin and card case. The fact that this case has the BEAMS name (a very popular brand in Japan), makes this issue a must buy.
While the coin and card case looks simply made and the stitching is not all that great, the fact that it’s given away with a magazine that cost Y760 (about $7 US), is fantastic!
And of course, while most people can easily buy the magazine for the swag, there are cool articles that “Street Jack” uses to attract readers.
For one, idols are often featured. And Japanese guys love their female music idols! Members of the AKB48G (AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, etc.), Nogizaka46 or another idol group are often featured. Sometimes with interviews, but one of the coolest features is to show a picture of the idol when they are younger and take the idol in the present to interact with their old photo ala Photoshop magic.
For me, following worldwide trends is important, but when you have a magazine that can reach a demographic who are hungry for knowledge of where they can purchase those jeans, those shoes, that hat, that watch, etc., this is where “Street Jack” does a great job.
But throw in the swag and it’s an automatic winner!
In my next blog, I will discuss the other male shopping magazine from Japan known as “Smart”, which is targeted for a mature demographic, an unlike “Street Jack”, features nudity (think what if you take elements from a shopping magazine and combine it with “Playboy Magazine”) and also comes with swag! Stay tuned!