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
’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
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
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.
1989 - Chief sub-editor, AutoExpress
1993 - Managing editor, BBC Top Gear Magazine
1998 - Editor, Maxim.