Monday, January 29, 2007

What the Folding of Total180 Magazine Can Tell Us About the Mommy Wars

I reviewed the magazine total180 when it first came out last year. Now I didn’t think this was the worst magazine I’d ever read. It was a typical “women’s” magazine for the most part, no more or less annoying than the rest of them and for pretty much the same reasons, only with a specific focus.

But I think the failure of it is an interesting indicator of what this target group of “professional-turned-stay-at-home-moms” is about. Because while there are plenty of professional women who are home with their kids, I only know one who hopes to be there for the next twenty-five years. And I don’t know any who feel they’re on some sort of a crusade to save the world through stay-at-home motherhood.

I think that many of the women who think it’s their God-given duty to be at home with the kids are not necessarily former “professional” anythings and that the former professionals are home for a variety of reasons, but rarely because they’re convinced that their kids will be utterly devastated and destroyed if they’re not. And the editors of total180 tried to mix these two together, shake them up and make them into one target audience. It didn’t work, evidently.


Fresh Mommy said...

I'm not surprised by the closing of Total 180! magazine. Start up magazines put out by the big publishing companies close all the time, despite their huge marketing budgets and slick layouts. A small upstart like Total 180! had a real uphill battle in getting off the ground. While I admire the idea of former executives turned SAHMs following a dream to get a business off the ground, in truth, I could hardly get through the one issue that was given to me. Not that it wasn't a good idea, but my free time to sit and read is so precious these days that unless a magazine or book really speaks to me (or really takes me away from it all), I can't be bothered. I'd rather be reading blogs!

Sandy D. said...

You know, I think at least part of their problem was the title: Total180! - you forgot the !, ;-).

I don't think of staying home as a total 180 so much as a detour, or dealing with road construction, or maybe finding a less traveled path, or at least one with less road rage. Or one that we can afford the vehicle to be on.

Do you think I took the analogy far enough?

At any rate, there *is* a market of former professional women out there, but it's clear that the editorial staff for T180 just missed the boat in several ways. And you're definitely right about the target audience.

Dana said...

Honestly, I've never heard of this magazine, but apparently I didn't miss much!

Anjali said...

You hit the nail in the head, Staci. The problem is just as you state -- these stages of our lives (whether working inside or outside of the home), for the most part are very temporary parts of our lives. The magazine missed the boat on many fronts, first, that it only addressed the upper crust of professional working women (largely white, upper-class highly educated); second, it assumed that these women would be staying out of the workforce for a significant part of their lives, which for the most part, just isn't the case.

(Incidentally, I happened to detest the magazine. No tears here.)

Rockinmama said...

Wow - I happened upon your blog tonite and hadn't heard they went under. They sponsored, in part, our Celebrating Moms Expo in 2005 here in Minneapolis. They did this prior to the first issue coming out - hoping to get some exposure and had put discount subscription cards in our goody bags.

Starting up a magazine is hard... very hard and very costly. (speaking from experience) It is really a catch 22, as you need high numbers of subscribers/copies to get the larger advertisers, but to print more copies costs quite a bit more money.

I never did see an issue - so can't comment on content or how it came across. Just surprised to hear they weren't around. I do notice that their domain is still "live". Maybe they will change it to an online magazine format?

Mom101 said...

Great assessment. That audience seems so niche, it might be better suited to a website than a whole magazine. Actually, I think there already is one:

keema said...

am i really the only mom you know who wants to be at home long term? well, i guess since only the lonely can play, i'll be okay.