CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - Despite contrary expectations, the men’s magazine Maxim is a US hit, Lisa Granatstein writes

Offering a steady diet of babes, beer and a heaped spoonful of humour, the UK import, Maxim, is giving the US men’s magazines category a run for its money.

Offering a steady diet of babes, beer and a heaped spoonful of

humour, the UK import, Maxim, is giving the US men’s magazines category

a run for its money.

Launched in April 1997 as a bi-monthly with a distribution of 175,000

copies, the Dennis Publishing franchise was dismissed by industry


Rivals declared that its laddish content and ambitious circulation goals

would put it out of business within a year. After all, Conde Nast’s GQ

was then peaking at almost 700,000 in paid circulation.

But men are snapping up Maxim. In less than two years, the president of

US Dennis Publishing, Steve Colvin, fired Maxim’s rate base up to


In 1998, its first full year of publishing ten issues, Maxim carried 630

ad pages, across 14 categories, including The Gap, Microsoft and


Beyond eye-popping cleavage covers, featuring celebs from Bridget Fonda

to Lucy Lawless, aka Xena Warrior Princess, Maxim focuses on the basics

- cool gear, grooming, sports and sex. While other young men’s titles

such as Freedom Magazines’ Point of View and Conde Nast’s Details have a

similar approach, it is Maxim’s ability to create a ’just us guys’

environment that has made it such a hit.

Much of Maxim’s editorial success can be attributed to its

editor-in-chief, Mark Golin, and his editor, Catherine Romano. Both left

Cosmopolitan to replace Claire McHugh in late 1997.

Maxim’s irreverence - Golin once sent a writer to interview Satan in

Hell - and, notably, its babe covers, are forcing the hand of its


Details recently made a lame attempt at cloning Maxim and failed


In typical Conde Nast fashion, Golin has been lured away to fix Details,

but must remain at Maxim until a new editor is named.

But Maxim had better not rest on its laurels. Emap’s FHM is expected to

cross the Atlantic in the autumn.


Circulation                                     733,774(1)

Frequency                                ten issues a year

Ad rates for the first half of 1999

based on rate base of 650,000

Full-page colour ad                         dollars 39,000

Full-page b&w ad                            dollars 27,300

Second-half of 1999 based on rate

base of 950,000

Full-page colour ad                         dollars 57,000

Full-page b&w ad                            dollars 39,900

(1) ABC July-December 1998.


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