WORLD: MEDIUM OF THE WEEK - Italian Maxim aims for anti-men's magazine niche

Maxim takes a new, unisex approach with relaunch in Italy, Stefania Medetti says.

The recently relaunched Maxim in Italy is targeting grey matter rather than frustrated libidos: intellectually orientated features far outnumber the half-naked women and muscle-bound male models who are normally associated with men's titles.

The monthly magazine is eager to find a spot in a crowded marketplace: there are about four million readers of men's magazines in Italy already being targeted by seven existing titles. What's more, the ad market is potentially lucrative - worth an estimated 38 million euros.

The first issue, heavily supported by an advertising campaign, landed provocatively on newsstands on 11 September. The theme of its cover story? World peace.

For the cover, Patrick Demarchelier photographed Naomi Campbell in a striped dress reminiscent of the peace flag. "Maxim's an anti-men's magazine," Andrea Monti, the magazine's editor, says. "It's a title for the man who found the G-spot long ago and is hankering after something different."

Maxim arrived in Italy in 1998, thanks to Paolo Reina, the chief executive of Editoriale Futura, which has now closed down, although it owns a minority stake in Magnum Editore, the publisher in charge of relaunching Maxim.

Co-owned by Andrea Monti and the Reina family, Magnum Editore launched last spring.

In the current market, Maxim's ambitions are lofty, but Monti has edited Panorama, Sette and GQ, some of Italy's most well-known magazines; and for him, it's time for a change in the men's magazine market. "Maxim is a trend-setting magazine," Monti says. "But at the same time it's sexy, useful and fun. We are targeting cultured 25- to 50-year-olds who have a realistic and optimistic take on life."

Thanks to careful restyling, the magazine now offers the key elements of Maxim's international formula, but with a higher-brow positioning.

"I want to provide advertisers with an elegant and innovative medium," Monti says.

The contents of the first issue appear to support this. Among other features on the theme of peace is an interview with Adriano Sofri, a political leader serving a life sentence. And the fashion section is illustrated with young Israelis and Palestinians photographed in Tel Aviv. There's also an interview with David Grossman, one of Israel's most eminent intellectuals.

Unlike many previous men's magazines, Monti is keen not to exclude women readers. "I'm curious to see how women react to the magazine." Maxim doesn't appear to treat women as sex objects and women pen a significant number of the magazine's articles.

Advertisers seem to appreciate the new-look Maxim: the first issue carried 100 pages of ads with a total pagination of 244 and, Monti claims, the next three issues have performed equally well on the advertising front. He is satisfied with the magazine's performance and is currently working on several new titles to be launched in spring next year.

Title: Maxim

Publisher: Magnum Editore. The company acquired the title's licence for

the Italian market from Dennis Publishing

Frequency: Monthly

Cover price: Two euros

Circulation: 100,000 copies (Italy)

Full page colour ad rate: 6,000 euros

Advertisers: include BMW, Honda, Lancia, Mazda, Audi, Guess, Fred Perry,

Valentino, Krizia Uomo, Puma, Biotherm, Colistar, Campari, Becks,

Coca-Cola, Ducati, Gilera, Vodafone, American Express, RaiSat and Sky TV

Main rivals: Max and GQ

Format: 255x168mm

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