Target Audience

See Also: Education/Reading/Short Attention Span

There is a recurring issue about PLAYBOY's "target audience". For whom is PLAYBOY produced? In the past it seems it was produced to please Hugh Hefner personally. Now there is a nagging sense that the content is addressed to an imagined audience—one of a particular generation, one that buys and consumes. This notion is at odds with PLAYBOY's original intent.

From: Mark Tomlonson <>, 03 Feb 2003
Subject: Biggest problem

The biggest problem facing PLAYBOY today is a large portion of its target audience can truthfully say "PLAYBOY? Yeah, my Grandfather used to read that." It's not too far from the problem a division of GM faced and was not able to beat. PLAYBOY still seems in large measure to be your father's Oldsmobile.

For my Grandfather the beauties on the "Jackie Gleason Show" were as close as he got to admitting to me he was a sexual being. (Side note: Victoria Valentino was one of those beauties). I could see the value, to be sure, but the fact that my Grandfather was interested pretty much assured that I would never take it seriously.

Part and parcel of this problem is that each generation needs to feel that it invents its own culture. PLAYBOY is trying very hard to follow the latest iteration of cool, but it's been at least 35 years since they led the pack. I'm not sure PLAYBOY could ever become the leader it was. Too much history in a world where the new is worshiped.

From: Dan Stiffler <>, 15 Apr 2003
Subject: changes

The only demographic that I am interested in is the one that cares about "living life to the hilt" with sophistication and urbanity.

From: Alfred Urrutia <>, 11 Nov 2002
Subject: Points & future

Is PLAYBOY doing the right thing (going after the right demographic) and, more for some people who grew up with PLAYBOY, does it matter if that right thing ignores some of those older readers? If PLAYBOY is changed in order to appease people who want it to be more satisfying to them and they aren't the real target of PLAYBOY (like it or not) then they are asking for a new magazine. Imagine back to when you first got into PLAYBOY and just when you were really starting to enjoy it and appreciate it Hefner all of a sudden threw some demographic curveball into it and it veered off into subjects and pictorials that you couldn't give a shit about. That's what the above question is sort of asking for now, for PLAYBOY to change with its older audience, forsaking the main audience it started aiming at. I'd say that's one thing that PLAYBOY absolutely cannot do. Even if it means I enjoy it less because it's not really aimed at my tastes anymore, it must stay consistent to what it's always been.

Peggy Wilkins
Last modified: Mon Apr 5 02:45:05 CDT 2004