Playboy, the granddaddy of all “classy” girlie magazines just covered up, and we don’t mean those brown sacks the convenience store uses in the racks. Recently, the magazine made good on its vow to stop publishing fully nude photos.
Playboy’s PR people said the decision was part of several changes signaling a “new era” at the publication, as part of a major shift hoping to attract a “new generation” of readers.
Following in the successful formula of pubs like Maxim, Playboy will still splash its pages with pinups, but these ladies will have their “naughtier” bits conveniently covered.
In addition to the reduction in skin, Playboy is 86ing both its cartoons and list of party jokes. Plus, the centerfold will be expanded to include more than a single Playmate of the Month.
The move is not surprising. As the internet becomes a one stop shop for free porn, nudity is not only losing its stigma, it is losing its appeal. Why pay for pictures when you can see anything you want for free on your phone? Sure, Playboy also offers compelling articles, but now people will actually be able to honestly say that’s why they bought the magazine.
For example, the Playboy people say they are keeping the feature interviews and the fiction section. And, of course, there will still be plenty of beautiful, scantily clad women. One spokesman put it this way: “It’s going to be sexy, but it’s going to be safe for work.”
Some have chalked up the change in Playboy to a shift in sentiment among younger GenXers and Millennials. In addition to the easily available nudity online, they see porn differently.
In a blatant attempt to attract those demos, the cover girl for the first non-nude issue is social media maven, Sarah McDaniel. The art, too, is suggestive – made to look like a social media message.
There’s been no mystery about the shift. Playboy admitted early on that the change was motivated by both the universality of online nudity as well as moderated consumer appetites. While some are already comparing the “New Playboy” to GQ and Maxim, Playboy’s PR team is trying to reach even higher, comparing the new publication to Vanity Fair. Most folks aren’t buying … at least not yet.
But some are advertising. More family-oriented advertisers have shunned Playboy for years, but, at least one – Dodge – reportedly bought ad space. If they are successful in helping to change perceptions, expect more to follow.