MEDIA HEADLINER: Brand expert returns to IPC to expand on Loaded’s strength. Adrian Pettett will become publisher at a significant time, Anna Griffiths writes

He’s single, likes lager, music and Arsenal and knows the 18- to 25-year-old market inside out. But he hates curry, is unlikely to say ’Phwoar! Look at the tits on that,’ enjoys fine restaurants, Thomas Hardy and Beethoven and is teetering towards the age of 31. It’s hardly a perfect profile of the Loaded lad but Adrian Pettett is returning to the IPC fold as the lads’ mag’s new publisher.

He’s single, likes lager, music and Arsenal and knows the 18- to

25-year-old market inside out. But he hates curry, is unlikely to say

’Phwoar! Look at the tits on that,’ enjoys fine restaurants, Thomas

Hardy and Beethoven and is teetering towards the age of 31. It’s hardly

a perfect profile of the Loaded lad but Adrian Pettett is returning to

the IPC fold as the lads’ mag’s new publisher.



In the offices of the direct marketing company, KLP, where he’s project

manager of the music and sponsorship division, Pettett looks like he

could do with a good night’s sleep. Keeping the sponsors of the Spice

Girls’ world tour and the girls themselves happy is evidently not an

easy task, nor is the punishing travel schedule he has had to follow

since taking up the reins of his KLP post two years ago. But don’t feel

too sorry for Pettett; he’s a cocksure, ambitious chap who’s doing well

for himself.



’I don’t think I’ve made many mistakes in my career. This is my biggest

career move. It’s high profile, a big job and a huge brand.’ He admits

that the pace at KLP has been fast and furious. ’I’m pleased I did it

but I’m pleased it’s over. Loaded, though, is hardly a pipe-and-slippers

job,’ he says.



Pettett, armed with a degree in social administration from Brighton Poly

(’It’s probably all I could get in to do’ he shrugs) began in publishing

as a marketing executive for Reed Information Services. Within two years

he moved to IPC where he became the marketing and promotions manager for

such rip-roaring titles as Cage & Aviary Birds, Railway Magazine and

Cycling Weekly. He remembers those days with affection: ’One of my high

points was meeting Dicky Bird at the annual Bird Show at the NEC, which

is the Krufts of the bird world.’



By 1994 it was time for a change, and Pettett was catapulted from the

world of feathers and trains into testosterone territory, marketing

IPC’s music and lifestyle group titles, including NME, Melody Maker,

Loaded and the ill-fated Eat Soup.



Robert Tame, publishing director of Loaded, says the time arrived when

Pettett had outgrown the job. ’He did some really good work as the

marketing manager of those titles. He’s a big personality and is pretty

creative in his thinking. When he left he was ripe and ready to be

promoted but nothing was available so it was quite a big loss for us

when he went to KLP.’



At KLP, Pettett rounded out his brand experience. ’When you are in an

agency you very quickly become brand-focused, which is important for my

new job. I have the experience of taking brands into less traditional

areas - such as linking banks into music events.’ He has also learned

the valuable skill of dealing with the top brass of big brands such as

Pepsi, Walkers and Polaroid. ’He’s one of the most effective and

convincing salespeople in a most non-salesperson-like way,’ Paul

Morrison, KLP’s director of music sponsorship, comments.



It will be a testing time for Pettett to take on Loaded - it is still

enjoying growth but its rate of expansion is slowing as rival lads’

mags, such as Dennis Publishing’s Maxim, enjoy surges in growth.

Typically, he remains undaunted. ’Loaded is one of the iconic brands of

the 90s.



Rarely has a brand entered a market and had such an enormous effect.

Certainly, in terms of copy sales growth, it has slowed. But 20 per cent

growth is a fantastic performance.’



His main task will be to look at the brand extension possibilities for

Loaded. ’You have to be very careful. Everything you do gives off a

message.



There’s a lot of talk about credit cards and underwear. Opportunities

clearly exist but I would proceed with caution.’



Loaded Fashion is one of IPC’s first forays outside the original brand

apart from the new-media developments and Pettett is, as always,

confident on this one. ’I have a very good feeling about it, it looks

great. No, I don’t want to talk about Eat Soup.’ Masthead programming is

also on his agenda, which he briefly alludes to but won’t be drawn on.

’There are ideas, plans and a number of ambitions in that area.’ But

what Pettett is really licking his lips about is the prospect of a

generous marketing budget for Loaded next year, in line with IPC’s

recent policy of investing a lot more money in above-the-line marketing

for its key titles.



Whatever plans KLP has made for Pettett’s send-off, IPC should be warned

that he might need a few days off to recover. Morrison remembers how

Pettett’s initial boast about his capacity for partying was seen through

in just a few days at the agency. ’He joined us with stories of bravado

but, after just two days on his first trip to Berlin, he had a week off

ill. I don’t think he’s ever really recovered!’



THE PETTETT FILE



1989: Reed Information Services, marketing executive



1991: IPC specialist group, marketing and promotions manager



1994: IPC music and lifestyle group, marketing manager



1996: KLP, project manager, music and sponsorship



1998: Publisher, Loaded.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).