Maxim Checks Into Webcasting

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In an effort to combine the popularity of its offline men's magazine and its Web site, Maxim is airing Aug. 10 a live Webcast of its "branding" party.


Maxim rented the 65-room Farmer's Daughter's Motor Inn in Los Angeles for the party and will transform it into The Maxim Motel. Everything within the motel, from bath towels to the motel's neon sign, will be replaced with logoed replicas.


Powered by Yahoo, the celebrity-studded party will be Webcast from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. EST at MaximOnline.com.


"It's the first of many ventures," said Kim Willis, marketing director at Maxim and MaximOnline.com, New York. "It's a great opportunity for us to converge the two mediums and bring the magazine to life in a way our readers expect and think Maxim is really about.


"The No. 1 thing our readers want is to go to a photo shoot. Going to a Maxim party is No. 2," she said. "The Webcast is giving access to all of our readers for this kind of event."


Live on-site events will include musical guest The Cult and the airing of Atom Films' "Bikini Bandits Episode 4." A new episode of the series also may be shown.


To promote the event, a contest ran at MaximOnline.com in which two contestants won a trip for two to The Maxim Motel to meet the Bikini Bandits. The sweepstakes was promoted at Atomfilms.com through banner advertisements. The ad saw a 17 percent click-through rate, Willis said.


An ad promoting the contest appeared in the magazine's August issue. Maxim has a circulation of approximately 2 million. Its site receives more than 1 million unique visitors each month.


The magazine has a barter agreement with Yahoo for nearly $120,000 in media. Maxim is also running banners across the Yahoo network, including Yahoo's music, entertainment and movies Web sites. Teasers also have been sent to MaximOnline's e-mail database of 100,000 users.


The Webcast's target audience is men age 18 to 34. "However, we highly expect to draw in a significant female audience. They are the primary consumers of live broadcasts online. Plus, Maxim has a strong appeal to women, which many people find surprising," said Willis. "They read it because they want to understand what guys are all about. And, at the end of the day, it's a celebrity- and entertainment-driven event."


This isn't the site's first Web event. It held a live chat with the actresses from the movie "X-Men." "We did a couple of test runs," said Willis.


Celebrity guests will be interviewed by two hosts, and the motel's 20 themed rooms will be wired with cameras to give online viewers the full party experience. The themed rooms include "Sailor Jerry's Tattoo Parlor," where guests can get real tattoos, and a bachelor party-themed room called "Johnny's Last Hurrah." Maxim sent out 700 invitations to the branding party.


Hotel guests will receive parting gifts, including "Stolen From" Maxim Motel stationery, ashtrays, magnets, notepads, emery boards, shoe gloss, bath towels, shot glasses, beer mugs, ice buckets and toilet paper. The items also will be for sale in The Maxim Motel gift shop at the Web site. Clips from the party will be shown at the site beginning Aug. 11 at 5 p.m.


Event sponsors include Bacardi, Amstel Light, Sega and Destination Films' new release "Whipped."
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