The Book of Man: why ex-Shortlist editor is launching a platform to ‘reappraise’ masculinity

An ad campaign supporting the launch, dubbed 'Provocations' will run on social media

Martin Robinson, former editor of free men's weekly Shortlist, has launched a bold new media title called The Book of Man in a bid to "redefine" masculinity and broach prominent issues like mental health, loneliness and suicide.

Robinson, who served as Shortlist editor for seven years having previously been NME's deputy editor, is now the chief executive, editor and founder of the new title. He told The Drum the site will seek to “reappraise” the definition of masculinity – a market niche he believes was not being served.

"The media depiction of men is generally still about being strong, stoic, six-paced, unbreakable. By questioning that and subverting it, we will give a voice to all the men who do sometimes feel weak, and afraid, and insecure. Which, we're betting, is a lot of men," he said.

The editor claimed the title will reject “the old way [of doing] men’s media” and “challenge the pressures being a 'man' brings”. To this end, it is launching with mental health awareness advocate and musician Professor Green as a columnist, with the rapper directing readers to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) group.

Robinson added the title will look to shine a light on "dreadful statistics for men," such as suicide being the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45.

The online-only platform will host discussions on Facebook and operate an email membership scheme. Its launch will be enhanced via influencer partnerships, with many coming through the Calm network.

The commercial side of the brand will be led by chief revenue officer, Mark Sandford, and will offer to advertisers branded stories and shoppable editorial supported by a specially-built e-commerce platform.'

There are numerous Shortlist alumni on board at The Book of Man and Robinson claims their time at the print mag has helped prepare them for this new venture. He said: “That was someone else's vehicle we were driving. This is one we've built, and it's an incredibly timely and necessary launch into the market, and a different proposition to anything attempted in the men's UK market before.”

Based in the Bussey Building in Peckham, there is a team of six full-time staff at the moment, supplemented with contributors. Robinson concluded: "Expect stories on emotions like jealousy and the loneliness epidemic."

An ad campaign supporting the launch, dubbed 'Provocations' will run on social media, delivered by former Droga5 executive creative director Rick Dodds (see above).

Commenting on Calm's involvement in the launch, Simon Gunning, chief executive of the charity, said: “Calm aims to reach men in ways that feel natural and accessible. Working with The Book of Man allows us to do this and together we hope to raise awareness of the fact that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, while also welcoming a new platform for discussion around masculinity and male mental health.”

Robinson opened up the title with an op-ed on Time For A New Masculinity?

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