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Maxim Goes Glam Rock for Bowl Party

The saucy men's lifestyle magazine took over the home of Detroit's Symphony Orchestra for its rock opera-inspired pregame Super Bowl celebration.

Maxim's Rock City Super Bowl event took over downtown Detroit's Max M. Fisher Music Center, filling it with music, a casino, roller skating girls, and 2,000 guests.

The night before the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks for the Super Bowl XL championship, 2,000 V.I.P.s rocked out in the Max M. Fisher Music Center (home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra) for Maxim's sixth annual Super Bowl event, this year entitled ”Maxim Rock City.” The pregame celebration hosted by the men's magazine with an assortment of sponsors featured entertainment, installations, and activities inspired by Detroit's music history, the glam rock era, Starlight Express, and Ken Russell's rock opera Tommy. Maxim's associate publisher for creative services and marketing, Amy Newman Kaplan, and editorial director, Andy Clerkson, worked with Fontaine Swope of Houston-based ELI Marketing and Tracy Kessler of TK New York to plan and produce the massive bash.

Aside from weather worries—the Motor City, unlike last year's location, Jacksonville, Florida, usually endures snow and wind in the month of February—the Maxim team had very few challenges to face, especially with a downtown Detroit location within 10 blocks of the stadium. Even the music center's event staff was “professional, excited, and accommodating,” Newman Kaplan said. Swope added that the mayor's office “was very supportive of the changes and the impact [the event and its location] on the traffic flow. They were amazing.”

The key for Maxim's team and Kessler, the event's executive producer who worked directly with the sponsors, was weaving in the sponsorships in a manner that felt organic and appropriate to the event's concept without seeming stale or stilted. As the official vehicle of Super Bowl XL, Cadillac's new 2007 Escalade XLR-V series convertible was in little need of exposure. While two of the cars were stationed at the event, Cadillac also sponsored a pit stop for roller skaters (girls in custom skates from Reebok) on the red carpet, as well as the photo op area where guests could don glam rock costumes and pose with two electric guitars, a microphone, and a drum kit. The resulting photographs mimicked rock music album covers, with a faux band name, “The Escalades,” emblazoned across the top.

For the fourth year the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa created a casino inside the event, allowing guests to gamble for prizes ($78,000 worth of merchandise) available at the “Glamorama” store—Maxim's substitute for gift bags. Dealers in 70's glam rock makeup attended poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette tables.

The two bars, one from Absolut, the other from Coors Light, were both inspired by Tommy. Absolut's bar resembled the organ from The Who's rock opera, with pipes forming the shape of an Absolut bottle. Behind Coors' bar was a four- by eight-foot pinball machine in honor of the protagonist's obsession.

Reebok brought hip-hop violinist Miri Ben Ari to perform at the affair, promoting its “I Am What I Am” advertising campaign. The brand also surrounded DJ AM's platform with a Starlight Express-inspired roller rink and roller skating girls, and supplied the “Reebok Rock Shop,” where attendees could personalize their Maxim Rock City tees.

In line with the rock opera concept, musical entertainment was plentiful, with DJs Jus Ske and Bolthouse Productions' Brent Bolthouse, local band Rock Nation's 15-person choir, Los Angeles-based 80's cover band Video Star, and Wyclef Jean all doing sets.

Anna Sekula

Photos: Chris Polk/FilmMagic

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