Lawson: Playboy evolves to survive


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Starting March 2016, Playboy magazine will not be featuring nudity in their articles anymore. Columnist Lawson believes that this will put more emphasis on the articles, which will in turn broaden their reach.

Angelica Lawson

“If you’re … between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you,” said 89-year-old Hugh Hefner.

Playboy announced its most recent revamp in October: The 62-year-old magazine will no longer feature nudity. The news does not come as a surprise, since Playboy has already removed nudity from its website. The new and improved Playboy will be unveiled March 2016.

Many people in Playboy’s target market are displeased with this decision. A lot of loyal readers of Playboy have enjoyed the photographic content, and the removal of the vast nudity that was available has created an understandable outrage.

Since Playboy’s foundation, it has thrived on the display of female nakedness. This model worked well for Playboy, but times have changed.

Playboy needs to be more modern. To keep its brand relevant, Playboy has to be willing to evolve with its readers and the competing availablility of similar content on other platforms. Getting rid of the complete nudity that the magazine is known for is drastic but strategic.

This change is one that I endorse. Playboy needs to build a younger and more gender-inclusive brand to receive the loyalty that will keep it around for another 62 years.

Andrew Wallenstein, coeditor-in-chief of Variety, said in a “Today Show” interview that the internet killed Playboy. He mentioned you can Google nudity and it is right there.

Playboy has lost its once iconic edge. Now that the level of competition has increased, the reinvention of Playboy is more necessary than ever before.

The Playboy brand has seen a lot of success since its market debut in 1953 with the Marilyn Monroe cover. The brand expanded and had several different businesses like Playboy TV, Playboy Radio, Playboy merchandise and the Playboy Club at the Palms, just to name a few. Many business adventures were successful, while others didn’t stand the test of time.

Either way you interpret it, the brand has continuously changed and adapted, and this is just its latest facelift. The brand was reborn during the “Girls Next Door” era as we watched Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends live their lives at the mansion in the Playboy universe. But this adaptation of the brand didn’t last, leaving room for more necessary changes.

Playboy needed to rise to the level of its competition. The nudity market has grown since 1953, and it is now saturated with free and paid nude content.

Since Playboy entered the magazine market, Maxim, Hustler, Penthouse and Playboy have had to compete with free image sites, and it has shown in their numbers — the magazine’s circulation has decreased. At its peak, Playboy magazine distribution was at 5.6 million, and now it is a measly 800,000.

With the revision of Playboy, its audience can still expect racy photos but in a PG-13 sort of way. The magazine will still have a Playmate of the Month, and she will have a photoshoot, but it will not feature full-frontal nudity.

Playboy has given few details in what the revision will look like for its readers. Cory Jones, the chief content editor for Playboy, revealed in a New York Times interview that the new Playboy will have photos, but it will also high-quality feature articles.

Talks have included adding a sex columnist to the mix. The addition of a sex column will hopefully help Playboy grab that female audience it had been missing.

Having this revision should help Playboy migrate into this digital age. By making its digital and print content PG-13, it can post more on social media sites and gain more digital brand followers.

When it made its website daylight appropriate, it increased its web traffic dramatically. Now, with the update of the magazine, it can really develop its presence on social media. This is something that the Playboy audience should be open to.

Some people who openly oppose Playboy and say it objectifies women can feel a little better about the magazine now that it has adopted a PG-13 brand image. The rebrand will bring a more positive representation of women in the magazine.

The articles will be now be the focal point and not just a joke. Playboy is going to elevate its magazine to broaden its reach.

The revision will better the company as a whole and ultimately help the reader.

When these changes are unveiled, readers will be able to hold their heads high when they purchase their monthly Playboy because they will be buying more than pornography — they will be buying into a brand that seeks not only to entertain but also offer enrichment to its readers on a day-to-day basis.