This week Maxim shut, neatly closing a chapter of publishing that I was there to witness at the start. When Maxim first launched, I was at Dennis Publishing on the MacUser team, and I remember the small gathering the company held for the new magazine in the boardroom, next door to our office space. There was a couple of crates of beer – no models, alas.
In some sense Maxim was a me-too product, based on the hugely-successful lad’s mag formula which the brilliant James Brown had created at Loaded. The difference, according to the press packs sent to potential advertisers, was that Maxim was going to be more upmarket, aimed at the ABC1 readership that advertisers adore.
It didn’t quite turn out like that, of course, and squaring the circle between the matey feel of lads mags and the high-end values of ABC1’s proved to be beyond everyone.
But Maxim made the ineffable and brilliant Felix Dennis vast amounts of money when Felix put his balls on the line – and a lot of the cash from his UK company – and launched Maxim in the US. When it was sold in 2007, it was for between $250 and $270 million, which adds up to a decent pay day for Felix. He won’t have to sell the mansion in Mustique just yet.