Southbank Publishing Group’s ’new product development team’ sounds
like a brilliant wheeze. It reeks of sitcom meets huge corporate tax
write off - and in the perfect world it would involve intense and very
long sessions in fashionable restaurants. Patsy and Edina would be
And, in fact, the title of its first project may be a bit of a
Is Made Up! a bit self-referential? An in-joke? This could well be the
most perfect post-modern magazine title ever invented. And nostalgia
buffs will be pleased by the strategically placed exclamation mark -
All of which is of course extremely unfair. Made Up! is slightly more
mundane - it’s a fashion and beauty magazine dedicated to ’real reader’
makeovers. Before and after stories. It will be aimed at 16- to
24-year-olds but its core readership is skewed slightly towards late
teens. It will initially be a quarterly - perfect bound, glossy, 132
pages thick and priced at pounds 1.60. The first issue hits the
newsstands on 23 October.
Made Up! also promises to take an innovative approach to
The first issue is sponsored by two advertisers - Burton Group and
Health and Beauty Solutions. It is not being sold to other advertisers.
If the experiment is successful, it may well be extended to future
issues. In effect, commercial communications opportunities on each issue
will be sold to two (maybe even one) advertisers.
Is this wise? That’s an academic question if the magazine doesn’t win an
audience. And over the last few years, IPC has lost the plot somewhat
when it comes to teen titles. Emap has long been dominant in this sector
but the last couple of years have seen Attic Futura make all the
running, relegating IPC to third place in the sector.
But something now seems to be stirring at King’s Reach Tower. The Made
Up! announcement comes in the wake of a pounds 1.5 million investment
programme to rejuvenate its two teen brands, Mizz and 19. Will Made Up!
work? Has IPC rediscovered the teen plot?
Heather Love, the publishing director of Southbank Group, obviously
believes it has. The role of the unit is not necessarily to sit around
trying to dream up bright ideas - it’s to assess all the good ideas that
tend to find their way into publishers’ in-trays.
She adds: ’This gives a focus for potential projects. It also means that
they can be investigated or developed without taking resources away from
So it’s not surprising to hear that more development team-generated
projects are on the way. They’re not necessarily just in the teen
sector, but Love believes that IPC is now a force to be reckoned with in
this area once more. ’I can see Emap being a bit worried about this.
It’s had undisputed number-one position for so long. As far as Emap is
concerned, we’re sleeping giants - now it will start to realise it is
being squeezed by Attic Futura on one side and us on the other.’
Should Emap be worried?
Hilary Taylor, a director of Manning Gottlieb Media, is reserving
judgment on Made Up!. ’The danger in this sort of title is that it gets
a bit one dimensional. The strength of many titles is that they do each
subject very well but they cover about six or seven of them. Women of
whatever age like a basket of stuff. But this seems interesting in that
half of the makeovers are clothes - it owes a lot to the Clothes Show on
’I think the most encouraging thing is the fact that it has turned
around this project so quickly. That’s very good news. IPC is usually
the last publisher you expect to be able to respond. It has this
incredibly enthusiastic team but in the past they never had the backing
from senior management.
I’m not sure about Emap being worried. It still comes across as
infinitely more aggressive than IPC.’