MEDIA: Profile - The battle for the boys - CHRIS MAILLARD, Editor, Maxim

The men’s magazine market is getting tougher by the month. Cabal Communications has just had its new launch, Front, banned from supermarket shelves because of the level of nudity in its content; there is a new launch by John Brown Publishing called Cream which crosses Bizarre with a sex manual and there is talk of IPC launching a new men’s title to complement Loaded.

The men’s magazine market is getting tougher by the month. Cabal

Communications has just had its new launch, Front, banned from

supermarket shelves because of the level of nudity in its content; there

is a new launch by John Brown Publishing called Cream which crosses

Bizarre with a sex manual and there is talk of IPC launching a new men’s

title to complement Loaded.



Walking into this hard fought battle is Chris Maillard, the new editor

of Dennis Publishing’s Maxim. He is taking over a magazine that is

creeping up in circulation terms, with its most recent ABC standing

proud at 300,786.



His ambition is to overtake Loaded, currently on 456,373, and he is

pretty confident.



’I don’t think we’ll overtake Loaded at the next set of figures but I

think we stand a good chance of doing so by the ones after that.’ He

doesn’t want to make any radical changes to the title, content with the

way it is heading, but he does think a few tweaks are in order.



’It would be stupid to come to the men’s magazine market with a

five-year plan,’ he says. ’It is all so volatile that you just have to

keep an eye on the way men are changing and make sure you go with them.

I don’t think focus groups are the way to do that. If you have to ask a

room full of people if you’re doing something right, then you probably

aren’t.’



The changes in the way men think has affected the way all the different

magazines are behaving, he believes. ’I think Loaded captured a

brilliant streak of male humour when it launched, although nowadays it’s

a bit like being shouted at by a drunk bloke,’ Maillard says. ’GQ, Arena

and Esquire are like meeting account executives for a chat over a

cappuccino. Felix Dennis once said GQ was a magazine for the man who

prefers socks to sex.



FHM is losing its personality with all that space to fill. It’s

stretching itself a bit thin.’



Maillard has an ideal CV for a men’s magazine editor. In the past he has

worked on music magazines - as well as playing the bass in a series of

new wave bands. He has worked on car magazines and he has even written

for Penthouse. ’It was an article about stunt men, I think,’ he says,

disingenuously. He has also got a long track record in dealing with

PROs, for whom he has a high regard. ’It is impossible to bring out a

magazine without the PR industry these days,’ he says. ’Some of them are

brilliant and some of them are useless, so you just have to make sure

you’re working with the good ones.’



His former colleague at Top Gear, editor Kevin Blick, says that Maillard

is very strong minded. ’He looked at doing a men’s title at the BBC but

decided to join Maxim and I think he’ll do very well,’ says Blick. ’He’s

a very fast and very meticulous journalist and he was responsible for a

lot of the humour in Top Gear. He also enjoyed a pint or two and a good

lunch.’



As the interview winds up in a small cafe around the corner from Dennis

Publishing, I find out one more thing about Maillard. He is a generous

tipper. ’That’s to make sure they’re extra smarmy when I come in for

lunch,’ he grins, placing the coins on the table.



HIGHLIGHTS

1989 - Chief sub-editor, AutoExpress

1993 - Managing editor, BBC Top Gear Magazine

1998 - Editor, Maxim.



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