Taking a Polish girlie mag out with a bang

Taking a Polish girlie mag out with a bang

We all know the story about the boss loving the product so much he bought the company: Ifra World Publishing Expo delegates heard a new take on it.

A media company in Poland disliked a magazine so much that when it came up for sale, they acquired it... to close it down.

The team at Warsaw-based Agora describe themselves as a socially-active publishing house and one of Poland's leading portals. Established before the fall of the Berlin Wall to fight for freedom, they now fight for gender equality and other social issues.

Marketing director Michal Rutkowski and content director Marzena Szkolak told the Berlin Publishing Days audience that gender inequality is a major issue in very conservative Poland where most men have received their sex education and views on women from freely available erotic magazines, including Your Weekend.

So when it came up for sale in December last year, advertised online as an opportunity "be like Hugh Hefner" with your own girlie mag, Agora bought the mag with partners with the aim of closing it down.

As a parting shot, the final issue on March 8 - International Women's Day - was filled with content the complete opposite of everything that had gone before -

images of strong women, stories on gender equality issues and reflecting changes they wanted in the attitude to women as sex objects.

Szkolak says they kept the same format and sections but totally changed the focus. "Our cover featured women but not naked girls!

"We worked very hard over six weeks to get the mag together and carried out a massive marketing campaign to promote the publication."

With the 25,000 Playboy Polska prints as a guide, Rutkowski says they settled on 20,000, leaving the cover price at its regular ten zloty but expanding distribution to every possible outlet.

"It was the best selling issue of Your Weekend in the past decade and it was the last ever. We received massive support and coverage from mainstream media, television, online and even from our major competitors, so we were thrilled with the response.

"And now the last ever issue is changing hands on eBay for 30 zlotys!"

As a 'memorial', the narrative on its website, with 'Your Weekend Day' the eighth of every month celebrating with stories on gender equality and associated issues.

Maggie Coleman

Pictured: Marzena Szkolak and Michal Rutkowski