Love, Hate, and Target Audiences: Cosmopolitan Magazine vs Playboy
Cosmopolitan is a magazine directed toward a twenty-something, female crowd who care about their appearance, health, and recreation. On the other end of the spectrum is Playboy, a magazine targeted at a primarily male audience. I am a subscriber to Cosmopolitan magazine, and would recommend it to other young female readers. However, because Playboy is not targeted toward my specifics, I am not and most likely never will be a subscriber.
The covers of these two magazines are actually quite similar. They both depict an appealing female. They are portrayed, however, in an entirely different manner. The Cosmopolitan graces Cameron Diaz, an icon that women see as a sexy, independent, and successful woman. Women look to buy Cosmopolitan in stores because Cameron Diaz is someone who they admire; someone they subconsciously want to be like. Playboy has also presented its audience with a sexy female, but the sexuality behind the cover picture is a bit more explicit. This appeals to men readers because the cover serves as somewhat of a tease to what they might find inside the magazine after purchasing. The reasons that I am so much more prone to buy Cosmopolitan rather than Playboy is because Cosmopolitan does a much better job of depicting what I think a sexy female should look and act like. Playboy creates false images of women to appease the typical male fantasy.
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When reviewing the content of both magazines, it is obvious whom the magazine has attempted to target. Cosmopolitan has a considerable amount more copy than Playboy. Playboy contains mainly pictorials accompanied by captions or maybe a small article (if she’s the centerfold).
The point is, Playboy writes just enough to get the point across. There are several cartoons throughout the magazine, mostly containing one- sentence punch lines. This magazine also contains fashion advice, quotes from how women feel on certain issues, and other manly issues. The advertising in this magazine is also focused on the male population with spots on thinks like: different alcohols, cigarettes, electronic devices, and sexual products. In Cosmopolitan, there is a lot more explanation on things. For example, the article in Cosmopolitan that is called “His Secret After-Sex List.” After reading the issue of Playboy I know that men probably do have after-sex lists. However, they don’t want to talk about it. There is no such thing in man-world as “making a list.” But, in a women’s magazine, we must talk about it. What he wants. How he wants it. When he wants it. Where he wants it, and who he wants it with. In Cosmopolitan, there are several more advertisements than in Playboy. This, probably because women are willing to spend a lot of money on Ralph Lauren shoes, Tropical Bloom Downy, or Hugo’s new perfume, DEEP RED.
The departments of the two magazines are actually quite similar because Cosmopolitan and Playboy both deal with sexual topics. Each magazine directs the information, however, to their target crowd.
Cosmopolitan has such features that imply that women only want to please men. Such features include: “The 6 Signs a Guy is Hooked,” and “Our Most Sizzling Sex Survey”….12,000 men confess what makes their toes curl. Playboy has features that imply the same thing: that women only want to please men. But Playboy also doesn’t want the guy to forget that it’s the man’s job to get us to the bedroom so we can please them. With features like: “The 4 A.M. Girl,” and “Centerfolds on Sex: Neriah Davis,” it is a given that guys want to be sexually desired and pleased. With other features such as “Talk Like a Prince,” “Bar Girls,” and “Opening Act,” we know that guys are pressured to be the suave, laid-back guy that gets ALL the girls.
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It is obvious to recognize what kind of audience each of these magazines is addressing. Through use of advertising, and target marketing each magazine has catered to the specific needs of its market. For example, Cosmopolitan contains an advertisement for LG phones that brags the benefit of having different rings for different boyfriends. In Playboy, a durex headline says, “Have the sex you tell your friends you have.” Both are very similar, but just directed toward a particular gender crowd. I don’t necessarily think the durex spot would be appropriate in Cosmopolitan, nor do I think the ad for LG phones would be in Playboy.
The purpose of both of these magazines is to entertain. Each magazine may contain a specific article of some sort that may be informative, but the general purpose is to entertain the readers.
The design of both magazines is also similar. Both are full-color, binded, magazines that contain information that is appeasing to the different sexes.
The irony of why I chose Cosmopolitan as the magazine I love and Playboy as the magazine I hate is that perhaps if I were a guy, I might subscribe to it. The contents of each magazine (minus the pictorials in Playboy) are generally the same. Both contain information on the opposite sex, where you should go to find the hippest, new gear, how to have a good time, and how to stay in good health. It is still a little disturbing that Playboy feels it’s necessary to flaunt the female body over several pages of the magazine. But, then again, why do I subscribe to Cosmopolitan? Am I perhaps the person that I have ridiculed for thriving on the attention of guys? Do I live to make my guy happy? Or maybe, it’s just that the opposite sex will always be an appealing, intriguing, and very interesting to everyone. This is why both of these magazines are so widely recognized. Both of these magazines appeal to their target group the best way possible. Playboy knows what guys want, and Cosmopolitan knows what women want. So, they write about it. Then sell their information to suckers like me.
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