A leaked memo from the executive editor of a leading yoga magazine shows how intense the competition has become to get new yogis to subscribe. It shows the several techniques that yoga magazines use to lure yogis in and retain their subscription. The editor is shown laying into his staff for—among other issues—trying to make it into a serious yoga publication.
Memo to all staff:
It has come to my attention that some of you are trying to make VOGA into a serious yoga magazine. I ask you all to remember our mission statement: “Sell yoga crap and bury Yoga Journal”. To stay competitive within the current climate of pop yoga magazines and yoga blogs, I insist that you adhere to the guidelines established though our research department regarding the American yoga market. Going forward all content will observe the following:
1. The use of the words sex and naked or associated words will be used in all titles regardless of article.
2. The use of sexually suggestive images will be used in all articles regardless of content.
3. Only slim white women will be depicted in the magazine doing yoga (others may be used in before and after photos in weight lose ads or pointing out what they will look like if they don’t buy our magazine).
4. Never make reference to old people, males or anyone of ethnic origin other than Caucasian nor use photos of said people doing yoga. This is why Yoga Journal is kicking our asana.
5. Post all sexually inappropriate images in black and white so if people hammer us for exploiting sex in our ads, we can claim it’s art (men will usually claim this anyway, but it’s the 85 % of women that we get our revenue from and need to keep happy).
6. Reference a celebrity that practices yoga at least twice per issue (there is an endless supply).
7. Create controversy (remember we are here to make $$$ and not to be experts on yoga) by making a statements of being in favor of:
a. The commercialization of yoga
b. Eating meat (and drinking wine). Smoking cigs or pot will also get a rise out of most yogis
c. High end yoga clothes (lululemon) and worthless yoga accessories (ie yoga sox)
d. Music in yoga class (hee hee, everyone has an opinion on this so it is worth its weight in letters to the editor)
e. Partner poses (there is always an abundance of anti-social yoga people who break out in a cold sweat when they hear the words, “Okay, pick a partner for the next pose”)
f. Yoga is a business and has no place in assuring teachers a living (or better still, suggest yoga teachers should not be paid and they should do it just for their love of yoga)
8. Always mention that we have the twice the ads and the slimmest yoga babes with half the yoga articles and half the words then Yoga Journal (They just want a fantasy about looking like the women on the cover and in the ads anyway). Remember we are going after the 12,000,000,000 new yoga newbies who want to buy all that yoga crap our advertisers are pushing.
9. If you are stuck for words or ideas for an article, just cut and paste a post from a yoga blog. They all copy each others ideas anyway so no one will be the wiser.
10. To get the yoga fundamentalists fired up, once every few months, post an article that claims:
a. Yoga is not spiritual
b. Yoga is not for Hindus
c. Yoga is a sport (or just for stretching or exercise)
d. Chanting sucks
e. In other months just claim the opposite so you have the ‘new-school’ yogis in a rage (as I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, the only bad publicity is no publicity)
11. For yoga tribal responses, always post one of the following to get the followers of a particular yoga school riled up and creating buzz by getting reposted to yoga blogs:
a. Hot yoga causes global warming
b. Copywriting yoga styles or routines is anti-yoga
c. Such and such school is not real yoga
d. You don’t need a bandana to practice yoga
12. Most importantly never really talk about Indian yoga (you know the kind they have in India) and for god sakes, don’t mention or use any Sanskrit. We don’t want to scare away our core customers.
Any staff member that ignores these guidelines will be assigned to the t-shirt packing division on the hot side of the room. Additionally, any staff member that I catch calling me a dick behind my back will also be assigned to the t-shirt packing division (yes I’m talking to you MadDawg).
Executive Editor and Publisher