Lawson: Playboy’s re-reboot of questionable effect


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Playboy will not be featuring nudity in their magazine anymore starting with their March 2016 issue.

Angelica Lawson

There are few magazines that have stood the test of time — Cosmo, Elle, Vogue and Playboy. Playboy has been in the publishing world since 1953, and since its first issue, it has been the leading “gentleman’s entertainment” magazine. In 2016, Playboy announced that it would be rebrand its magazine, and on Monday, Cooper Hefner, chief commercial officer, introduced another rebrand of the iconic brand.

Hefner said Playboy magazine will reclaim its identity and reintroduce nudity to the magazine. In 2015, the magazine made a change to a PG-13 magazine that would no longer feature nudity.

Many fans of the Playboy brand were not too thrilled with the initial announcement in 2015. The change was a shock considering the magazine’s roots in nudity. The rebrand was not well received. The Playboy that many had grown up with would be no more.

Now, Hefner believes nudity was never the problem and instead thinks that the way Playboy incorporated nudity was dated and did not appeal to its target audience. Hefner was very vocal about his feelings toward the rebrand of his father’s magazine.

The front cover of the newest reboot will hit shelves Feb. 28, 2017. Some things will be back, including the much missed nudity, but readers should expect a newer, fresher nudity style from Playboy. The phrase “Naked is Normal will be featured on the cover, replacing the phrase “Entertainment for Men.”

When the magazine announced that it would be remove nudity from its content, I supported it. As the world changes and things that were so easily accessible before are now readily available at a much lower cost than the magazine, a rebrand seemed like a good option for Playboy.

It seems that the PG-13 approach did not help address the current problems plaguing the publishing industry. Hefner, who is passionate about nudity not being the problem, nevertheless seems ready to give Playboy a much needed facelift.

Interviews, columns and comics will continue to be featured in the magazine. Hefner announced that Playboy will bring back some old regulars from Playboys of the past, like “The Playboy Philosophy” and “Party Joke.” It hasn’t been revealed how the new Playboy will incorporate nudity, but let’s hope for the sake of financial success that the magazine recaptures its past audience and captures a new audience.

Rejuvenating a brand that has as rich of a history as Playboy is a daunting task. Making the magazine PG-13 seemed like a good move to me. It allowed the magazine to be more visible on social media platforms, and it gave it access to a younger demographic. Before the launch of the PG-13 version of Playboy, the company launched a “work friendly” app. This was the first of the major changes to Playboy.

For whatever reason, Playboy has decided that the magazine should not continue down its current path, but I think this is the answer to the problems the brand is having. A fresh take on a less-than-original idea could really improve the company’s standings.