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December 09, 2005

The magazine that could change a nation 

A few years ago, Unlimited was born—a strong business that cham­pioned high standards and presentation. The editorial director behind that title, Vincent Heeringa, is one of three founders of a new magazine, Idealog, which appeared on news­stands earlier this month in .
   You may have seen me attack some of the problems with local , but Idealog seems to be a positive sign—a silver lining among all those clouds that try to drown local success.
   For starters, it is the strongest début issue of any magazine I have ever seen, anywhere. Content- and presen­tation-wise, Idealog trumps all those titles before it. And it taps in to something about New Zealand individ­uals that the media miss: a desire to be creative and to advance. Its tagline is ‘The voice of the ’. Quite fitting.
   Am I being facetious when I say this magazine can change the country? No. For New Zealand has a will to change, just that it keeps getting disrupted by its institutions.
   Creative director of the new magazine is David MacGregor, whom may remember as the man behind the leading men’s web site eMale—which, in its day, out-GQed GQ online. When I heard of his involvement, I knew this would be a winner—as his would complement Vincent’s editorial decisions perfectly. Inside, it’s one of the most vibrant magazines, coupled with balance and restraint. There are just enough to make things interesting, and just enough meat for readers to sink their teeth in to.
   Idealog has the opportunity to overturn New Zealand’s as it tries to marry online and print, and create events at which the magazine’s mantra can be taken further. That can begin affecting the nation’s .
   I have always argued that New Zealand is not about sheep and bungy jumping, but destina­tion marketing—such as the cynic’s favourite punching bag, the ‘100 per cent pure New Zealand’ campaign—keeps reinforcing it. The reality is that New Zealand is about , independence and isolation, and the good things that stem from it. Internally, nothing commun­icates this beyond some individual endeavours. Externally, nothing commun­icates this—unless some more of these creative events drag people in, and Idealog expands. It’s a magazine as fresh as Fast Company was in its heyday—and, not unlike what I am doing, has the potential to go offshore.
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