Loaded, first published in 1994, is a British magazine for men that is considered to be the "original lads' mag". Its motto is "For men who should know better". At its peak in the late 1990s it sold over 450,000 copies each month, but by 2013 had collapsed to below 30,000.
Loaded was founded in 1994 by Mick Bunnage, Tim Southwell and James Brown, a former deputy editor of the music weekly New Musical Express. It was first published by IPC. The title of the magazine is believed to be named after the Primal Scream song of the same name. In its early days, the magazine's readership was once memorably described as "50% Sun readers and 50% Guardian readers". Brown has described the irreverent comic Viz as an inspiration for Loaded (and he later bought the comic when he founded the company I Feel Good). Brown's fanzine Attack On Bzag can be seen as a precursor for Loaded, as can music journalist John Robb's Rox fanzine, which heavily influenced Brown and Loaded with its frenetic style and humorous use of captioned photos.
Commenting on the magazine's creation, Brown said, "I was told you need 99 straight guys and one weirdo to make a magazine. I did it the other way, I chose 99 weirdos." Loaded captured the lad culture of the 1990s like no other magazine; its glorification of British male "rogues" (Liam Gallagher, Oliver Reed, Paul Gascoigne etc.) was only outstripped by its fondness for titillating photoshoots with nubile C-, B-, and occasionally A-list celebrities. However, early covers led on male icons for film and TV - Gary Oldman was on the first cover. The original editorial team, notably Martin Deeson, Jon Wilde, Tim Southwell, Mick Bunnage, Rowan Chernin, Pete Stanton and Derek Harbinson, defined the writing that came to be identified with Loaded.
The Loaded style has been cloned numerous times, most obviously by Emap's FHM and Maxim, which became the biggest-selling men's magazine in the US for Dennis Publishing. Loaded also influenced women's monthlies, with Emap launching Minx, "For girls with a lust for life". In January 2004, IPC launched the weekly Nuts, announced as the world's first men's weekly, and Emap quickly followed with Zoo.
Loaded won the prestigious PPA Magazine Of The Year Award an unprecedented two times in a row, in 1995 and 1996. In 2007, Loaded was voted 49th in Industry website goodmagazine.com's Top 51 Magazines of All Time list, for the "Smartest, Prettiest, Coolest, Funniest, Most Influential, Most Necessary, Most Important, Most Essential, etc." Despite its influence, sales have dropped in recent years: in the first six months of 2007, Loaded recorded a 35% drop in circulation compared to the first half of 2006. However, in February 2010, Loaded received an ABC circulation figure that was down "just 2% over the period," compared with what Media Week called "eye-popping falls" for its competitors.
Launch Deputy Editor and later Editor, Tim Southwell, wrote about the early years of Loaded in Getting Away With It (Ebury Press, 1998). James Brown discussed the title at length and the impact it had on '90s culture in the documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop
Between 2003-2006, Loaded won numerous industry awards for design and journalism, including 'best designed fashion pages' at the Magazine Design Awards, for a spread of dogs photographed wearing jewellery. Loaded staff writer Jeff Maysh won five industry awards for journalism, including MJA Feature Writer of the Year, and PTC New Monthly Consumer Journalist of the year.
Speaking of the relaunched Loaded, Daubney said: "We spent a lot of time talking to our sweet readers, and they said: ‘we love all the great stuff at the heart of the mag: the football, the features, the girls’... We’ve also roped in our celebrity mates - from Richard Bacon on the movies and Vinnie Jones casting an unflinching eye over the sports agenda, to Ross Kemp providing his monthly missive from the front line of modern man.”
In April 2012 Paul Baxendale-Walker purchased Loaded on behalf of Blue Media Publishing Group after Vitality Publishing went into administration. However in June 2013, Blue Publishing entered administration, although the magazine continued to be printed by Baxendale-Walker's Loaded Media Limited.
In September 2013, following a management buyout, led my Advertising Director Jason Calder-McLaren, loaded moved to Leciester Square-based publishing house Simian Publishing.
After failed bids to acquire rival titles Nuts and Zoo, Loaded Magazine launched a sister title, ZIP Magazine, not long after being brought out of administration by Paul Baxendale-Walker in April 2012. The magazine launched on March 1st 2013 but only ran for nine issues before being sold to ("OOHYEAH LTD").
In April 2008, Loaded was forced to apologize to Heinz, after running an article that indicated incorrectly that Heinz once supplied the Nazi regime with a version of alphabet spaghetti consisting of tiny swastikas, a notion that according to The Times, is an urban legend.
- Sillito, David (reporter). BBC 6 o'clock news "Co-op supermarket to stop selling Nuts magazine" (Television news broadcast). London: BBC. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. "...and the clearest evidence is simply, how many people are buying them. Loaded for instance used to sell around 400,000 copies 15 years ago, it's now lost 90% of its sales, down to around 30,000 copies for each edition. (David Sillito)"
- Halliday, Josh (16 August 2012). "Nuts magazine's sales face squeeze". The Guardian (media section). Retrieved 9 August 2013. "No figures were available for Loaded, which withdrew from the Audit Bureau of Circulations official audit ... Sales of Loaded had plummeted to 34,505 a month on average in the second half of 2011."
- Loaded bounces back | Media | MediaGuardian Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
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- Loaded magazine founder James Brown has joined Sumo.tv | Media | MediaGuardian Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
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- All in the worst possible taste | | guardian.co.uk Arts Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
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- Alok Jha: Lad culture corrupts men as much as it debases women | Comment is free | The Guardian Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- New Statesman - The dark world of lads' mags Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- The Guardian - Meet the man who wants to turn Loaded into a woman-friendly read
- The rise and rise of the laddery from `Loaded' | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at BNET.com[dead link]
- GOOD Magazine | Goodmagazine - The 51 Best* Magazines Ever Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- John Reynolds "Magazine ABCs: More pain for established lads' titles", Media Week, 11 February 2010 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Martin Daubney: My Life In Media", The Independent, 9 October 2006 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- "I hit the jackpot - with help from lottery winner's auntie", Press Gazette, 14 August 2007 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- About Loaded, Official website Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Loaded Relaunched Jeff Marsh website Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- "IPC completes Loaded sale to Vitality". Guardian.co.uk. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Loaded magazine snapped up by multimillionaire 'porn star'". Guardian.co.uk. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Turvill, William (18 June 2013). "Loaded magazine publisher goes into administration". Press Gazette. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Loaded has fourth owner in three years with plan for more 'stylised and subtle' approach
- Turvill, William (1 May 2013). "Loaded owner launched new weekly after failed bids to buy Nuts and Zoo". Press Gazette. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "ZIP Magazine". Home page. OOYEAH LTD. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Famous Loaded Cock-Ups", Jeff Marsh website Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Waller, Martin (April 5, 2008) "Watchdog’s wails put Michael O’Leary in a spin at Ryanair". The Times.
- Official website
- "The lads' mag I edited turned a generation on to porn - and now I'm a father I bitterly regret it: A remarkable confession from the longest-serving editor of Loaded" – June 2012 article about former Loaded editor Martin Daubney