Are teen magazines back? How TooD is reinventing them (with a twist!)
Every generation has had its own version of a teen magazine.
For millennials, it was all about grabbing the latest issue of Tiger Beat or Teen Beat, YM, and Teen Magazine. But as the publishing industry pivoted into the digital world as we entered the 21st century, those relics of our teenage years seemed to disappear.
So, what happened? Social media, mostly.
Instead of teens grabbing the latest issue of a magazine to read up on their favorite celeb or get the newest fashion tip, they only needed to look as far as MySpace, Facebook, and even TikTok today. Ask any Gen-Z’er where they get trends or news and it’s almost always social media.
As the demand for creator content grows, brands are looking for ways to tap into the market that don’t always include social media.
Instead, brands want to go a bit of the old-fashioned route: attracting visitors directly to their respective websites or platforms. Whether it’s using a platform to spread awareness on health or social issues or to garner attention for specific launches and marketing campaigns, creators are working with brands to bring these topics to light.
To help bring conversations from and center, TooD (short for attitude) Beauty is taking the teen magazine playbook and flipping it on its head.
Designed to cultivate engagement around various topics while highlighting related products, TooD Beauty is using nostalgia for teen magazines to create content for both the website and social platforms.
TooD Beauty and the (new) teen magazine
TooD Beauty, which launched in January 2021, organically attracted a Gen Z audience through its messaging from the start.
Instead of using cosmetics as a way to conform to societal expectations or beauty standards, TooD Beauty encourages consumers to use makeup and tools as a form of expression and creativity.
This move toward beauty inclusivity started with the founder, Shari Siadat. Growing up and getting bullied for her unibrow meant she spent years trying to do what was expected of her: figure out how to make herself appear more palatable to society. Becoming a mother changed all that.
Reclaiming control over the beautifully unique features she was born with, Siadat wanted her change of perception toward her own body to resonate with her daughter. Instead of hiding features, she moved toward bringing more attention to them – and that’s how TooD Beauty was created.
TooD Beauty’s message is simple:
“We believe that people should embrace (NOT ERASE) their truest selves. We invite you to write and share your own beauty rules. No longer should anyone have to cover up who they are. Isn't it about time we live in a world where we are fully embraced? As is? Welcome to TooD. Short for Attitude.”
TooD Beauty didn’t set out to create a Gen Z brand but found that messaging and positioning aligned with them.
Siadat points to this as being the reasoning for support from Gen Z: this particular generation knows the impact of where they spend their money and they’re more likely to support brands that align with personal values.
The brand’s first launch included products such as biodegradable glitter (highlighting the brand’s non-toxic and clean messaging), as well as Freestyle Color Creams, designed to use anywhere on the body – edges, body hair, and skin.
So, where does the teen magazine concept come into play?
TooD Beauty leveraged Gen Z’s interest in nostalgia to create a marketing campaign using teen magazines as inspiration, called #TooDTalks. Though not available in a printed format, the beauty brand has six issues planned – each with a different topic that also ties in with brand messaging.
From self-love to body/hair positivity and activism, the various covers are reminiscent of iconic teen magazines and will tie in with different products featured within the brand’s collection.
To help take the teen magazine inspo to the next level, TooD Beauty partnered on this concept with the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen (and the founding editor of CosmoGirl), Atoosa Rubenstein. Aside from the eye-catching content that speaks to today’s talking points, the cover artwork was also designed in such a way to replicate the vibe of an old-school teen magazine.
It’s not just about creating something that looks like a teen magazine to gain attention.
TooD Beauty is expanding the campaign to include talks by positive voices in the space – one of which being Katie Sturino, founder of Megababe and author of Body Talk, a clean body care brand aimed at tackling some of the common topics that are otherwise seen as ‘taboo’ in the beauty industry: sweat, chafing, and body odor.
Sturino, who has 782k followers on Instagram, is best known for her frank conversations regarding body shapes and sizes, inclusive fashion, and body positivity.
She’s also unfiltered with her opinions on mainstream fashion, which followers find refreshing. One of her most popular series is #SuperSizeTheLook, where she recreates celebrity looks using plus-size pieces.
As part of the TooD Beauty campaign alongside the newly launched edition of the magazine, Sturino hopped on Instagram Live with Atoosa Rubenstein and Shari Siadat to talk about all things self-image and rewrite the beauty narrative.
The contrast between TooD Beauty’s launch and the trending topics of early teen magazines is pretty stark in contrast. And Rubenstein agrees: since leaving Seventeen Magazines in 2006, she sees a lot has changed around beauty and self-acceptance.
She also explained that magazine topics of the past were created to tap into readers’ insecurities ‘as a way to sell magazines.’
Now, teens are going to social media to get their information and ideas. But that’s not always a good idea. Take a look on TikTok or Instagram and you’ll find plenty of questionable beauty tips being shared by creators daily.
Rubenstein highlights that content featured in magazines was typically tested and vetted by experts in the field before going to print. Now, creators can say or do what they want without any gatekeeping.
This is what makes TooD Beauty’s foray into revamping the concept around a teen magazine an important one. Curated content, such as that done within each of the upcoming issues of the online publication, offers a level of integrity that you might not find on social media.
Of course, as brands go about creating their own curated content, there’s also going to be some level of marketing at play – something consumers will want to be aware of going in. Still, brands looking to tap into a younger audience will want to incorporate messaging that speaks to them outside of just trying to sell products.
With #TooDTalks, readers can easily access products used within photoshoots to recreate a specific look.
This isn’t just done from a sales perspective, either; it’s about helping consumers feel good about themselves using products that meet their needs both on a beauty level, as well as a personal level.