Top advertiser raps GQ, Esquire over sex content

One of the biggest advertisers in British magazines has contacted the publishers of GQ and Esquire to register its concern over the sexual content of their magazines.

The cosmetics and fragrance house, which does not wish to be named, is seeking assurances about the two magazines’ editorial future following publicity about the sexual content of the December issues of the two titles.

GQ features an 18-page lingerie feature (MW November 17) while Esquire carries semi-clad pictures of the actress Elizabeth Hurley.

One other major cosmetics giant is known to have expressed concern to its ad agency about the Hurley pictures but has not contacted the publisher.

“We go into these magazines because we want a safe environment and we want editorial statements so we know where the magazines are going,” says a source.

“We are feeling a bit nervous about the magazines’ attitudes.”

The advertiser already has a policy of not using the more risqué titles, Loaded and Maxim. If GQ and Esquire are perceived as the wrong vehicles for its brands then quality press review sections and TV are likely to benefit.

The cosmetic and fragrance house spends in excess of 7m a year on advertising in consumer magazines.

GQ is understood to have responded, assuring the company that the title will be returning to its original US heritage, with a more tasteful approach to photography and more analytical editorial.

Esquire publisher John Wisbey says its coverage of sex is different to that of GQ. “The press has been very interested in the way we’ve treated the subject. There is some significance for men’s press marketing in all of this.”

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