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.
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!)