Challenge to PLAYBOY's Editors

Peggy Wilkins <>

We have had some discussion of the changes that have become evident since the February PLAYBOY, up through the larger changes in the June issue. From viewing these issues and reading interviews with Jim Kaminsky, it seems that these changes are most evident:

Response to these changes here in this forum has been largely positive, and I think I have made clear where (and why) I have observed improvement. These changes are welcome after what I have come to see as a long period of stagnation in the appearance and content of PLAYBOY. However, are we just trading one formula for another (albeit newer) one? And are these changes too subtle? The following quote from the Media Life article I posted here on May 21 gives me pause to wonder:

    "What I wanted, and what I think we've done, is a gradual process
    where things are changing in each issue. We don't want to churn our

    As of the June issue, which features a redesigned front of the book,
    the makeover is 40 to 50 percent complete, says Kaminsky. Next up is a
    new back-of-the-book service/lifestyle section with coverage of
    fashion, cars and gear.

As I wrote last week, this makes it sound like there is a fairly fixed template in place for what the new editors want to do. While this is a good thing (unplanned changed is often chaotic), it suggests an inflexibility that may not allow for PLAYBOY to come out as good as it could.

I would like to suggest that this is too conservative an approach; PLAYBOY has been stagnant for so long that they have earned the right to make some more radical changes to make people sit up and take notice. They should take maximum advantage of the opportunity at this landmark 50th anniversary to do this—this is most certainly a golden opportunity!

Here are some specific examples of changes I'd like to see to go along with the newer content, whether sooner or later.

I really think that a significant change in the physical format and appearance of the magazine will drive home the point that this is a new, evolved PLAYBOY that is worth taking the time to look at. It announces the changes. Good content in a new package will keep them coming back for more. Make it feel good in the hands, and look good to the eyes.

After these specific suggestions, my challenge to the editors of PLAYBOY are:

  Be bold.  There's no need to handhold your readers as long as you
  respect them.

  Be willing to change and experiment; evolve.  I really miss the old
  days when changes and improvements were happening almost every issue.

  Don't fall into predictable patterns; every month is a new opportunity
  to do better than the last one, and nothing need be set in stone.

Peggy Wilkins
Last modified: Mon Apr 5 01:10:55 CDT 2004