Media Headliner: The eternal optimist driving IPC men and music

By Anne Cassidy, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 13 November 2009 12:00AM

Andrew Goldsmith is excited by the multiplatform opportunities he can offer clients as group ad director.

Andrew Goldsmith is sitting at his desk trying to ignore the distracting camera flashes coming from a photoshoot in the Nuts studio next door. The lads' mag is adding to its assemblage of images of scantily clad young women and, to his credit, Goldsmith has resisted the urge to take a peek.

For Goldsmith, the new group ad director for IPC's men's lifestyle and music division, IPC Ignite, which includes NME, Nuts and Loaded, having glamour models and rock bands traipsing around the building is just another day at the office.

"What's bizarre for people to get their heads round is that you can be sitting in your office on the phone and the Kings of Leon or Jack White will walk past," he says.

It's not an exaggeration to say that Goldsmith, who has been promoted from his former role of IPC trading director, is as excited as a schoolboy by his new job. He has been aiming for the ad director role since he first joined IPC Ignite nine years ago. "This is only the first week in and already it's been brilliant," he gushes.

The move comes at an arguably tough time for the IPC Ignite stable: Nuts and Loaded saw double- digit drops in circulation in the last round of ABC figures and NME was one of the biggest casualties of the music sector, with a 27.2 per cent drop in circulation year on year. Nevertheless, Goldsmith, whom the IPC Ignite managing director, Eric Fuller, describes as a "glass half-full kind of guy", is resolutely positive.

"It's early days but we are seeing that the second half of this year is already far more stable than the market has been for the past two years," he says.

Besides, those who place too much emphasis on the print versions of the likes of Loaded, Nuts and NME need to get with the programme. IPC argues it's all about multiplatform brands. Goldsmith explains that digital is a priority. "The IPC Ignite publishing and advertising strategy has always been to exploit the multiplatform reach of our brands. We recognise that our readers love our brands but demand to access them on a wider number of platforms," he says.

Nuts and NME were recognised at the PPA Awards this year for their cross-media offerings. By way of illustrating the versatility of his brands, Goldsmith points out that a band can do a live recording in the NME Radio studio, a video of the recording can be uploaded on to the web and the artists can also be profiled for the magazine.

Goldsmith's positivity is born out in IPC's financial performance. The publishing house has, to an extent, bucked the recession and showed a slight rise in profits for 2008, according to figures that emerged last week. IPC puts this down to shrewd cost-cutting. Nonetheless, the publisher has not shirked on investing in print, digital and its advertising operation.

The ad division is an integral part of the operations, Goldsmith explains, adding: "My job is to make sure the ad strategy fits into the overarching publishing strategy, which is to exploit the multiplatform reach of the brands." To provide a co-ordinated approach, Goldsmith is part of a brand planning team, made up of advertising, editorial, publishing, marketing and PR staff, which meet on a monthly and weekly (for weekly titles) basis for individual brands.

Goldsmith's 20-strong team sits alongside IPC's new digital sales division, set up in September. He says he will work very closely with the head of the digital sales team, Sam Finlay, who previously occupied Goldsmith's current role and worked with him at Ignite for five years. While there will be some crossover between the teams (the digital sales division sells across all IPC titles), Goldsmith's unit will take responsibility for integrated solutions for IPC Ignite brands.

Goldsmith's promotion has been roundly welcomed by media buyers, though he's now expected to raise his profile a bit and move from middle-management to cementing more senior relationships. Claudine Collins, the press director at MediaCom, says: "He's a great guy with good personal relationships. It's a good appointment."

Goldsmith says he will not be planning any revolutions with his strategy, but will concentrate on offering the best solutions for clients. He cites examples of previous campaigns, such as the Jack Daniel's birthday sessions (which is nominated for a Campaign Media award), which saw NME Radio hosting a series of gigs to mark the brand founder's birthday.

He also points to IPC Ignite's ability to create online bespoke games for brands through its games site Mousebreaker.com. Its online game based on Sony Pictures' new release Zombieland, supported by a seeding campaign across nuts. co.uk and NME.com, had 300,000 plays in its first week.

He does not accept the hypothesis that lads' mags are on their way out. Nuts, he says, is still a very dominant brand in the marketplace: "We don't pretend to be an ABC1 magazine. It's a mass-market brand and entertainment is at the core of that market."

Loaded is a strong brand, he argues, with a loyal readership. But he does concede that online is where the growth is.

Goldsmith says he will dedicate himself to delivering the best solutions for clients across brands and he believes the flexibility of IPC Ignite's offering makes that job a bit easier: "We have such a brilliant set-up here. Surely it's the envy of other publishing houses?"

THE LOWDOWN
Age: 36
Lives: St Albans
Family: Wife and two little girls
Most treasured possession: Apart from my family, my Chelsea season
ticket
Favourite gadget: iPod
Interests outside work: Family and football
Motto: Never leave the pub without visiting the gents first

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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