If I hadn't been asked to comment on Loaded's revamp, I probably
wouldn't have even noticed the changes. But if you look really closely,
you'll see this month's issue has had a facelift.
The original lads' mag has tucked away some of the boring bits that
nobody ever read and, they claim, enhanced the stuff you really like -
women and sex. Why? Well, IPC must surely be concerned with a decline in
sales that produced a 13 per cent drop at the last round of ABCs. Quite
how you can recapture the "glory days" by merely adding a new typeface
and redesigning parts of the editorial layout, I'm not too sure.
The changes are superficial. Indeed Loaded's editor, Keith Kendrick,
admits that they are barely recognisable. All the old favourites remain
pretty much in the same place. The Rogue section remains the opener,
Pornalikes retains its position at the front of the mag, and dancers
from the Torture Garden are still "Getting Away With It" in the review
section at the back. It's just they've all got newly designed titles
Such minor cosmetic alterations do give the impression that IPC is not
too sure why Loaded lost sales over the past year, but surely a
modernised look and apparently more naked women and sex can't do any
harm? However, the amount of space devoted to these appears to be the
same as any other issue from the past couple of years. A page here, a
This seems like an inexpensive tinkering around that will, more than
likely, be used to persuade advertisers that Loaded remains an ideal
environment to target 17- to 25-year-old blokes, even in times of
recession. If the magazine does harbour dreams of a return to its
trail-blazing, high-profile persona of the mid-90s, then advertisers are
likely to be disappointed.
In its current format, Loaded doesn't stimulate nor shock in the same
way any more. It's not a new concept.
If you look at the latest ABCs the only real success story in August was
the young pretender, Front, which has, to good effect, unashamedly
plastered Pammy, Spearmint Rhino's "entertainers" and Jakki, 23, from
Staffordshire, from cover to cover. So perhaps this was the reason for
the promise of more sex and women in Loaded. I hope not. Loaded's
mission and the scope of its reader base has always been more
substantial than this.
A second consecutive loss of sales may see a revamp with some
If Loaded falls below the 300,000 mark next time around then IPC may be
forced to seriously address the tone and character of the magazine to
renew a bond with readers.
PUBLISHER IPC IGNITE!
Full-page colour ad rate: £9,670
Advertisers include: Trebor Mini Softmints (sponsor of the calendar
supplement), Top Man, Honda, First Sport, Boots, Sony, Calvin Klein