Plans Chain of Maxim Lounges

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the latest indication that Maxim magazine's brand will keep seeping beyond the printed page, owner Dennis Publishing has struck a deal with
'Maxim' magazine plans to take its beer-and-babes philosophy into the bar business.
nightclub developers to build a chain of Maxim lounges across the country.

Promotional events
According to the company, the agreement envisions Maxim-branded venues that can host Maxim promotional events but will more often accommodate after-work and late-night crowds of drinkers. Dennis’s partners in the deal, Rande and Scott Gerber, have created nightspots like Stone Rose, in New York City’s Time Warner Center, and the Whiskey bars that are often located in chic W hotels.

Maxim has previously extended its brand into radio programming and consumer products.

While the magazine’s beer-and-babes ethos seems like a slam-dunk model for a certain type of bar, it could prove difficult for Maxim to play hotspot. Some big-dream brand extensions like the World, the WWE’s Times Square store, restaurant and entertainment venue, have struggled and closed.

'GQ' Lounges
Then again, magazines have played house before. For one month in 2002, Conde Nast Publications’ GQ transformed clubs in Los Angeles and New York into “GQ Lounges” to promote the magazine’s 45th birthday -- and its advertisers.

But the bid for multiple, permanent venues is more ambitious. It may also surpass the audacity that Maxim displayed in 2003, when it licensed its name to a line of hair dye for young men. That fits the DNA of the magazine, which stormed the U.S. in 1997, rapidly scooping up readers who would soon be called “lads” and seducing advertisers away from more established, less irreverent men’s books.

2.5 million paid circulation
Eight years and a pack of imitators later, Maxim magazine has cooled and solidified. Its average paid circulation over the first half of this year totaled 2.5 million, unchanged from the first half of 2004, even as newsstand sales declined, according to figures filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. From January through July of this year, Maxim ad pages slipped 1% from their total during the same period last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

But the Maxim appetite for brand platforms seems to have gotten bigger. Dennis hopes to open the first Maxim venue early next year.

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