OK, so Maxim is a big hit. But what has Felix Dennis done for us lately? I lunched with General Manager Lance Ford and Group Publisher Carolyn Kremins to find out. Both Ford, a Brit, and Carolyn, a Yank, were at Conde Nast Publications when Dennis recruited them in April of `97. The ABC circ number as of last year was 2,157,325, but they say Maxim's selling closer to 2.4 million. Rate base for second half of 2001 will go to 2.5 million. It's 60% sub, 40% newsstand. Ad pages last year, 1,218, and through March this year, 235, or 5.4% ahead. In May Dennis launches a new music mag here, Blender, four times a year to start with initial circ of 400,000. Stuff, the Maxim spinoff, sold 462 ad pages last year with a rate base of one million. Maxim Fashion will launch this March, a two-times book. And in April they bring out This Week, an-every-Friday 40-page compilation of important news on newsprint.
Publisher Larry Burstein sends along the fourth issue of a new 8-X mag called MBA Jungle. It's snippy, reaching for sassy, and edited by Bill Shapiro. Larry claims ads have risen 10% in each issue, with GM, Sony, IBM, Goldman Sachs early advertisers. The boilerplate about "all rights reserved" is followed by: "You mess with us, we'll mess with you."
Also new to me, Fortune mag alum Susan Towers sends info on Assouline, an ad agency-publisher hybrid with ops in both N.Y. and Paris. Ad clients run to fragrance & fashion, Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Veuve Cliquot. Coming in May, a book called "5 Giants of Advertising," about Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Bernbach, Lasker and Bleustein-Blanchet. Already out, a tribute to industrial design genius Raymond Loewy.
Fortune itself must be doing more than OK. Freshly promoted Editor John Huey added nine people to his edit staff.
Chili Pepper, the mag covering "zesty food," claims its single copy sales rose 28% last year.
Connoisseurs, wine lovers, just plain winos: foreign correspondent Barney Leason (writing best sellers like "Rodeo Drive" these days in Atascadero, Calif.) has a big original paperback out this month, "Grand Cru," all about wine counterfeiting at the top levels of chateau bottling in Bordeaux and California. Magnums of rascality, wine lore, whacky doings. Wine guru Robert Parker gave it an enthusiastic blurb. Tor Books division of St. Martin's Press publishes.