(Authors Personal Copy)
After a conservative year, Playboy is returning to its branding established in 1953 by its founder and entrepreneur, Hugh M. Hefner. That means nudity is back.
Cooper Hefner, son of magazine founder Hugh Hefner, announced the move on his Twitter account stating: “I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake.”
From a business perspective, this move is reminiscent of the ill-fated Coca Cola campaign in 1985 to introduce a “New Coke”. When that effort fizzled, the original formula was returned and sales rebounded. In early 2016, Playboy began publishing it’s landmark publication without nudity, while focusing on the depth of its writing staff. That move was revisited by the younger Hefner, who ran his own media company HOB (so named for Hefner Operations & Productions), a subsidiary of Playboy Enterprises.
Also returning will be “The Playboy Philosophy”, a political and cultural column written by Cooper Hefner, nearly 40 years after his father last wrote it for the magazine.
A Heritage Section now looks at the magazine’s past. However, the “Entertainment for Men” subtitle will be removed from the cover. Hefner stated, “Playboy will always be a lifestyle brand focused on men’s interests, but as gender roles continue to evolve in society, so will we.”
The magazine industry as a whole has incurred significant changes over the past decade, with the ramping up of social media online platforms. To that end, Playboy is taking on a significant challenge against the odds by testing a brand with a depth rarely seen in today’s media market.