Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Not Your Pop's Playboy Anymore
Posted By Pam On Wednesday, October 14, 2015
"What sort of man reads Playboy?" In light of the news this week about Hugh Hefner's famed mag ditching nude photos from their pages, probably the most obvious answer is, not the type of guys depicted in these ads anymore...these Don Draper, Steve McQueen, and Ron Burgundy wannabes. Forget calling them a dying breed; they're already extinct. So let's take a look at a few bygone examples of nostalgia, before getting into Playboy's changes and the kind of man they're probably now going to set their sights on...
So yes, after six decades of Playmate of the Month, pinups, and photo spreads of famous actresses and models, Playboy announced that they will no longer publish nude images and the magazine will receive a redesign in March of next year. They already removed nude photos from their website a couple of years ago -- which, oddly enough -- resulted in quadrupling their traffic. It seems that no one really buys nudie magazines anymore (what do the sperm donation clinics use today?) The web has made it all too easy to look at nudity online, making Playboy obsolete. It had lost its shock value in recent years.
Had they made this decision in the '70s or '80s, feminists would have rejoiced. Time to retire guys like Roger Sterling and get with the times. After all, it's probably a good thing that women will no longer be exploited in the magazine, right? Well...
I had a look at the Playboy website for the first time in my life the same day the news broke. If the magazine is looking to reach 20-something guys that are into playing video games or scoping YouTube's latest "stars", then they won't have to tinker with much.
The site is just...awful. It's one of the worst content sites I've seen in a long time; horribly designed with an onslaught of random articles on each page that aren't grouped in any logical way. I was really surprised to see such a poorly designed web presence affiliated with the Playboy brand. Why is there a link to an article about beer-making Massachusetts monks under Night Life, for example? Or a dental care article under Style? A link to the apology video posted by the "Mac and Cheese Kid" is posted under Culture. Wait, this is what passes for culture nowadays?
The joke about Playboy used to be that men only read it for the articles. However, the magazine at one time did give us some insightful conversations with famous people. Maybe Miles Davis, Bette Davis, Steve Jobs, and John Lennon ring a bell, just to name a few.
I had expected to see some content from the latest issue on the home page, or anything, really, that resembled journalism. Instead there's a Photoshop mock-up of a fake Tinder conversation between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump and the headline, "Girl Strips Naked in Public Because Her Boyfriend Won't Buy Her an iPhone" under the "Clickbait" section.
It's sad...but unfortunately Playboy is changing because today's average man, for the most part, has changed.
Even with the nudity -- which, let's face it, was very tame and done in a tasteful way compared to Hustler and harder core rags -- I always pictured the average Playboy reader to be a somewhat sophisticated man; the type of guy that had good taste in style and music, knew how to mix cocktails, and throw a dinner party. He probably had to have some money, because the ads show him driving a sports car, partaking in a luxurious activity, or enjoying an exotic location.
A buddy of mine and reader of this blog opined on Facebook yesterday that the new Playboy reader will probably be "an emasculated, meterosexual, feminist lap dog, the sort of guy who always felt that showing an interest in the attractive female form was 'sexist.'" (Ha ha!) Actually, that's higher praise then the typical reader I have in mind after going through the website. If they reprised the "What sort of man reads Playboy?" ads today, I'm picturing a sloppy looking, tattoo wearing, younger Zach Galifianakis type (before his weight loss) taking a selfie.
Something interesting to note...Playboy's counterpart for women, Playgirl, is still in business...who knew? Their website contains nudity...and lots of it (accessible by becoming a member of which I am not one, I swear) and the print magazine publishes on a quarterly basis. No word yet if the no-nudity policy will spill over into the sister mag.
So, alas, Playboy has already changed it seems and not necessarily for the better. Those nostalgic for the days of playmates, ads for pipes like the one Hugh smoked, and Little Annie Fanny will just have to search for them online.