Hm. Playboy, but not as we know it.

It’s SA Playboy cover time of the month again. (Ha.)

I know you all appear to love to dissect it, so here you are.

With it’s new editor, Charl “As an MBA student in strategy and international marketing at Yale,” Du Plessis, firmly in the saddle, it seems to have taken a new, quite different direction to the path it was on before.

In place of the super-retouched lovely ladies, in very few clothes, of the past few issues, this new cover features Mick Jagger’s daughter, Lizzie, (as did the American original,) but in a volte face (Ha, again,) there are no tits, bum or thighs sprawled across it.

It’s a close-up of her face.

Bold move.

Du Plessis also told Glenda Neville on The MediaOnline, that the magazine has decided to ban the use of the word “girl” and change it to “woman” or “model” “depending on the context,”*

With that decision and what seems like a much more tabloid-y, downmarket cover style, it is clear that the whole Playboy team has had something of a rethink.

But is it enough to ensure that the mag finds it’s place in an already super-cluttered and stressed magazine market?

As a publisher with a new brand to launch myself, I wish all new and existing titles well. Many successful brands, just means good news for all of us.

But about Playboy, I’m still not sure.

A successful brand cannot be fish and fowl.

With his talk of selling the magazine to readers with their children in tow, I think the new ed is misunderstanding his brand’s core appeal.

For all its packaging and mainstream-iness, Playboy’s brand promise remains the dream smuttiness of the available, naughty, “girl next door.”

And a magazine of naughty “women” next door, is not one to enjoy in front of the children.

The dependence of “girly” (woman-y?) content, also is, unfortunately, I think, the brand’s downfall.

With so much of every shade of porn-y stuff available for free online, will the rest of their offering (Lizzie, The Stig, Ian Player, Andre Brink on censorship) be compelling enough to convince enough men to buy the magazine, no matter where they are sold?

I wouldn’t bet my children’s education on it..

What do I know?

I have never edited a successful magazine for men.

In fact, one could say my whole career has been built on trying (and failing to succeed) to understand them.

Perhaps, if I did understand men now, I’d have to fire myself.

So although my forecast for Playboy SA is uncertain, one thing I can say with confidence is ignore what I say.

I’m not an expert in “woman-y” magazines, only women’s magazines.

But that’s why we, at AM, are launching Good Housekeeping, and not Playboy2.

* (That’ll show us and/ or put us in our place!)


  1. Nicole Dodd July 24, 2011 at 12:10 #

    At least the articles seem interesting.

  2. Charl du Plessis July 25, 2011 at 00:32 #

    Hi Vanessa

    Thank you for the general good wishes to newish entrants like ourselves.

    Likewise, we wish you well with your new endeavour, Good Housekeeping, and we hope it is not yet another intimidating force telling women how they should become some new stereotype – this time being great at home and waiting for little men in tights and flying capes to come and help them get the house ready before their husband gets home for dinner. Does not matter whether fish or fowl, men have appetite for both, and even though we cannot multitask, we have a month to munch both over. So, include both recipes please.

    Hopefully there is scope in your idea of good housekeeping for some mature women feeling comfortable re-arranging their partner’s Playboy collection? Or to take a break from all the tough homework to read something of real interest? My suggestion, try the fiction of another Nobel Prize winner featured in Playboy. August has a great story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Next month, Nadine Gordimer.

    Have fun

    Charl du Plessis
    Playboy SA

  3. Alyn Adams July 28, 2011 at 10:44 #

    There is no apostrophe in the possessive pronoun “its”.

  4. Sarah Miller July 28, 2011 at 11:07 #

    Vanessa, you are a really a strange person!

    You comment like this, but let me guess, the words Blow Job and sex for example, are fine on a cover with kids in tow? You ‘think’ your magazines are ‘clean’, but they are arguably more smutty and slutty than other magazines, including PLAYBOY, who based on this cover, dont have one sexual connotation or reference, yet people like you still think its smut? What a weird world, sorry town/country we live in!

    Don’t get me started on Good Housekeeping which is a magazine that was formed out of inequality and the women needing a ‘book’ on how to keep her house tidy for her man! Sexist , discriminatory and disgusting that a person of your views and calibre would even consider reading or condoning!

    The editor HIMSELF seems to have commented above and you dont even have the decency to comment/reply. He is, it seems, the most proactive editor i have seen online with commenting to your blog post! It’s not like you news 24 or something, yet he has found the time and you can’t even respond.

    You need to take a look at yourself as a person and the stuff you produce before you get so judgmental!

    Pots and Kettle come to mind and you an insult to women!

  5. Blaga Miteva August 19, 2011 at 15:17 #

    I came across this post after your May Playboy cover take-down, and I’m really miffed about the poor representation of Tshego Seakgoe. I know the girl on a personal level and know how beautiful she is first hand so seeing her on the May Playboy cover was very unsettling. I compared that same cover with Miss McGregor’s cover and Miss Arnold’s and i am disgusted by the analysis. These covers were classy and somewhat sophisticated and the ladies looked genuinely beautiful. Miss Seakgoe’s cover on the other hand looked trashy, hookerish and just plain wrong.

    The rest of the photo shoot which is displayed (at least some of it) on her Facebook fanpage is the worst attempt at photography I have ever witnessed!!! All focal points are off (most draw the eye straight to her vagina) and the photographer seems to have an unhealthy obsession with feet. I have no photography experience but I have seen enough FHM and Cosmo photo shoots to know what a good shoot looks like, and my dear friend was swindled out of her beauty and class.

    I’m not even going to comment on the atrocious photoshop job, as i feel all covers have been photoshopped beyond recognition, but I am trying hard to figure out what happened in that May Cover selection meeting?

    Thank you for providing the opportunity to vent. I feel better now.

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