EDITOR'S NOTE: A couple of days ago we reported that money-losing Maxim, the men's magazine that was put up for sale in March, is fetching bids in the $20 million range -- less than a 10th of the price its owners paid six years ago. Who's in the running to grab the title? Good question -- and one that Maxim publisher Alpha Media Group, which is controlled by creditor Cerberus Capital Management, is currently declining to answer.
And so meanwhile, for today's edition of One Rude Question For... -- our excuse to lob blunt questions at assorted media figures -- Ad Age's "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco decided to hit up Keith Blanchard, who helped introduce Maxim in the U.S. and served as its editor-in-chief (2000-2004) during the "lad mag" glory days.
Dumenco: Seriously, who the hell is crazy enough to buy Maxim?
Blanchard: I don't know, but here's who I think should buy Maxim: Unilever's Axe. And that wouldn't be crazy! Maxim's strike price is now down to less than 20% of what Axe spends on marketing each year, and then they'd own it thereafter. They don't have to touch the edit or the editorial team, but they could fire the publishing/ad sales team (because the only advertising would be Axe now), cut their media spend across other men's properties (because they would own their own reach vehicle), and own this across print, web, mobile and it could turn a profit.
Suddenly Axe has 2 million readers (or whatever it really is... but regardless, they could grow audience steadily with TV ads) that won't care they're now seeing one advertiser instead of twenty. There's a nice sonorous "Axe"/"Maxim" thing, and probably a logo solution combining the two. Great free press for this innovative forward thinking. Etc. Well, that's probably stupid in some way I haven't thought of, but...
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.