There’s a Hefner back at Playboy and so are the nudes
The Short Version
About this time a year ago, a couple of very stupid people were in charge of Playboy® magazine and somehow managed to convince founder Hugh Hefner and the suits in the front office that doing away with the magazine’s legendary nudes would be good for business. As we predicted at the time, the fools are gone and neither are with the company any longer. Now, Cooper Hefner, Hef’s son, is in control of the brand and guess what: the nudes are back with the March/April issue.
A little bit of background
We wrote about this matter extensively last year when the decision was first announced. There was no question in our minds at the time that the decision was foolish and would devalue the brand. We were fairly certain that this was the death knell for the magazine. Our articles, in order, were:
- Anything But Passé
- Lighting Matters
- Abandoning The Revolution
- A Shadow Of Former Glory
- Relevant Culture
- A Heart For Sex
- Losing The Girl Next Door
We tried to make the case from every conceivable angle, and maybe a couple that were inconceivable, that they were making a mistake. Do you think they listened? Of course, not. But then, the idiots who were in charge back then, Scott Flanders and Cory Jones, both have a well-established record of not listening and driving organizations into the ground. Can we really be surprised that they did exactly the same thing with the legendary Playboy brand? No, we shouldn’t be.
Where we are now
Flanders et. al., didn’t last long. Rizvi Traverse, the investment company that owns a majority saw the bottom line immediately plummet even deeper into the red and gave the whole bunch the boot. They installed Ben Kohn, manager of the firm’s Los Angeles office, as interim CEO and then proceeded to replace pretty much every other editorial and executive position in the company. Once that was done and all the details of the continuing failure were considered, they came to an important conclusion: bring back the nudes.
Who best to do that? A Hefner, of course. This time, it’s Hugh’s son, Cooper, who is taking on the responsibility. They started last year putting together a whole new layout and are finally ready to make the new cover public:
— Playboy (@Playboy) February 13, 2017
At the same time, Cooper tweeted this:
— Cooper Hefner (@cooperhefner) February 13, 2017
This is a good move. This is the move they should have made a year ago. I fail to understand why it took them so long to figure this out, but what’s important is that they’re making the correction now. Hopefully, it’s not too late.
Of course, even this move doesn’t guarantee the magazine’s success. While I fully expect the current issue to fly off newsstands with no problem, it will take more than a gimmick to keep people buying the magazine month after month. Not only will they need articles that are current and not self-serving, but they’ll also need to tie the print version more closely to their online offerings and coordinate the two with extreme precision. Condé Nast would be a good example for them to follow.
The road to success may be more trying and full of risks now than it ever was when Hef was in charge of Playboy. At least they are starting off in the right direction.