Carlton Reid of BikeBiz, (he of 15,000 Tweets), Tweeted that he recently got both of the magazines pictured here in the post yesterday. His question was, "Which sells cycling better?"
I quipped back via Twitter that I didn't know, but I knew which one would tick off the females most.
Carlton answered back to the effect that it was okay since Momentum Magazine catered heavily to female cyclists. (The mag cover on the left is Momentum Magazine) In fact, Momentum is run by females, oddly enough. (But most folks would have no idea by looking at the cover) My point was that most would have no idea about the mag's content, just by looking at the covers. (My thinking was as though you were perusing a news stand, and saw these mag covers.)
If you want to know, I said "Momentum" would "sell" cycling more because of the sexy image, which would garner more interest. And in the process, the ire of women who are tired of having their sexuality used to "sell" anything.
So, we were both right, but I disagree that it is a "no big deal" issue, which is what Carlton seemed to imply. (Granted, I could have been reading into his Tweets. They are only 140 characters long, you know.) And later I added that the other magazine cover, (the one on the right), was really a motorcycle magazine, so the whole comparo was a moot point.
In the end, Momentum Magazine needs to sell units. They know a provocative cover image will get the eyeballs of the mostly male population of cyclists to take a closer look. That's smart, but it is also pandering to the "sex sells" way of doing things. Being run by females and having "great content that is focused on females" doesn't exonerate you from the painfully obvious.
Just for fun, take the lady on the right, (the one on the motorcycle), and with that same outfit, put her on the bike in Momentum's image. If you are a marketing person, which would you use for the cover to sell more units? The one Momentum used, or the one I just proposed?
Yeah....."Which One Works" indeed!
Seems like some folks have higher ideals and still use images that seek to titillate. I don't have a horse in this race, but I'm thinking this is pretty obvious, and silly. You can't have it both ways. The Momentum cover is sexist plain and simple, no matter who is running the mag, and no matter how helpful the content is. It's no different than saying Playboy was okay because they had great articles.
In the end, you decide, but I don't see this sort of thing as anything but what it always has been.