Magazine article Marketing

PROFILE: King of the Lads - Niall McKinney, Marketing Director, IPC Ignite

Magazine article Marketing

PROFILE: King of the Lads - Niall McKinney, Marketing Director, IPC Ignite

Article excerpt

I am backstage at the Hammersmith Palais on the night before the NME Awards and there's a problem. Thanks to a faulty door code, I am locked in a dressing room with IPC Ignite marketing director Niall McKinney, a can of fizzy drink and an apple.

Despite the thudding music and beery aroma, it's not very rock and roll.

And while McKinney has clearly read all those lads' mag articles about using your credit card to open a locked door, this one's not budging.

Luckily we are rescued before becoming too acquainted with each other's life histories.

Wearing glasses, a suit and a serious expression, 28-year-old McKinney comes across as likeable, but an unlikely 'lad'; at a Loaded-style vicar and tart's party, he would be the vicar, not the tart. But as the standard-bearer for some of the UK's coolest magazine brands - Loaded, NME, Uncut and new men's weekly Nuts - McKinney is something of a rising star.

His pedigree is second to none. He has worked with some of the biggest names and brands in marketing; first with Anne Francke at Procter & Gamble, on brands such as Max Factor, and then with Michael Gold on Unilever's ill-fated teen portal wowgo.

Last year, The Marketing Society voted him Young Marketer of the Year for relaunching IPC's music title NME to appeal to a younger audience.

As a result of his efforts, NME experienced a 5% increase in sales and reclaimed its market-leading spot ahead of Emap's Kerrang! - a place it has maintained in the latest ABCs.

McKinney is also the marketing muscle behind the launch of IPC Media's new men's weekly Nuts. Backed by a huge pounds 8m marketing spend this year, the pressure is on for it to succeed.

IPC carried out extensive research before creating Nuts. McKinney explains: 'In late-2001, (IPC Media editorial director) Mike Soutar and I ran some research called Project Tribal, which looked at 'need gaps' in the men's magazine market. We found there is an enormous number of men - especially aged between 24 and 30 - who have outgrown traditional men's monthlies. They found them a bit embarrassing and childish.' But research showed they would welcome the idea of a weekly magazine with topical content.

Nuts faces strong rivalry from Emap's Zoo Weekly. The intensity of this battle becomes clear in McKinney's understandable, but unstinting, efforts to put down Zoo. He claims that Nuts is 'significantly outselling' its rival and that focus groups 'prefer the advertising for Nuts'. Although both titles are designed for 16- to 34-year-old men, McKinney says Nuts is 'mass market aimed at a broad range of men' and 'the kind of magazine a married man of 32 with kids would be happy to leave around the house'. …

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