FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. When presupposing what a Maxim party will entail, it’s a good guess that a girl or two will be on-site. And last night's Super Bowl weekend bash at Rande Gerber's new Stone Rose lounge in the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess fulfilled that expectation. The lad mag packed the 2,500-person guest list with the usual celebrity suspects (reality stars, rappers, and athletes), as well as hundreds and hundreds of pretty young things. Donning teensy weensy dresses and gobs of makeup, the girls could be seen running from one outdoor heater to the next to escape the evening’s 40-degree temperature.
In and around Stone Rose, the party’s massive footprint was mostly outdoors, spilling into the hotel’s main plaza and pool area. Produced by Maxim senior director of events Jordan Rothstein, TK New York’s Tracy Kessler, and Houston-based Eli Marketing’s Fontaine Swope, the event eschewed a theme this year in favor of an upscale look. “Last year was Hotel de Maxim, which was very much a hotel theme,” said Rothstein, adding that this year's party doubled as Stone Rose’s grand opening. “This year we decided not to theme the event, to just go with a very high-end, beautiful environment that reflects our brands and our partners.”
Going beyond the usual logo-bedecked pillows and key-chain giveaways, the team created innovative and interactive sponsorships. For Samsung, guests could pose in front of a green screen, then walk through a tunnel of 55 flat-screen TVs, each showing their picture in a far-off environment, like skiing in the Alps or surfing. “It’s a rounded tunnel, so they’re enveloped on all sides with the Samsung experience,” Rothstein said.
Also on-site was a Patron T-shirt bar, where guests could choose one of several either/or debates to be printed on their shirt, such as “New England or New York” or “Blonde or Brunette.” The event’s logo and date was on the front, with the Patron logo (“Some perfection is debatable. Some is not.”) on the back. The biggest surprise was that the shirts came in all sizes, from women’s small to men’s extra-large—a long-overdue sign that Rothstein & Company realized that the usual one-size-fits-all mantra at events is outdated.
Production for the event was extensive. A temporary staircase was built to facilitate traffic flow, as was a 45- by 45-foot dance floor over the pool area and a 600-foot custom stage, complete with monster speakers and trussed concert-esque lighting. DJ AM entertained in the earlier part of the evening, with surprise guests T-Pain and Akon taking over for a startlingly short performance—10 minutes, tops—around midnight. Sound difficulties abounded, with the speakers shutting off during AM’s performance and Akon’s mic not working at one point. And while the dance floor over the pool looked beautiful, its bouncing and swaying could also be disconcerting.
The event—Maxim's first Super Bowl party under its new owner, Alpha Media Group—seemed to be the biggest draw in town, with everyone from Tom Petty, Diddy and Nick Lachey to Larry David, Evander Holyfield, and Spike Lee present. Even Ludacris stopped by, presumably after his performance at the ESPN the Magazine party a few miles down the road. “We find that most of the other events that go up against us on Friday are more consumer events and less celebrity-driven,” Rothstein said. “And we’ve noticed that a lot of the other major events are focused on Saturday, as to not go head-to-head with us.”