points & future

Peggy Wilkins mozart@lib.uchicago.edu
Sat, 09 Nov 2002 23:14:08 -0600

>>>>> "RB" == RBinPerson  <RBinPerson@aol.com> writes:

    RB> I agree with her points, but one significant one was left out.
    RB> Playboy is SEXY.  Playboy is about sex.

A wonderful point, Raymond!  I suppose I didn't emphasize this one
because it is less significant for me, but this definitely should be
added to the list.  And indeed, the sexual outlook of Playboy was an
early attracting factor, even for me, and even if it didn't continue
being the main thing!

    RB> Now I move on to the future.
    RB> While Playboy's marketing demographics most certainly target the
    RB> male between the ages of 18 and 30, perhaps they should think about
    RB> what they can do to cater to us older guys too.  Sometimes when I look
    RB> at Playboy (especially since 1990), I feel like an old man.  The girls
    RB> are young enough to be my daughters.  The fashions and lifestyle stuff
    RB> caters to college age guys.  I wouldn't mind pictorials of older women
    RB> every once in a while.  They've done it before, but not often enough.
    RB> Why they ever stopped the Playmate Revisited pictorials, I'll never
    RB> understand.  These were great and appealed to us over-40 crowd who
    RB> find the Playmates we knew as younger men even sexier now!

the potential problem I see with this is that Playboy has already lost
a lot of those "older" readers, for whatever reason.  (Actually, I
think that would be a very interesting question to investigate.)  Past
circulation figures (7 million at its height -- amazing!) speak to
this; where did those readers go?  Does Playboy lose its impact for
men as they age?  Would it really be feasible to put forth a concerted
effort to get some of those readers back?  It also doesn't bode well
for the future to cater to a bunch of older readers when Playboy's
long term survival is dependent on getting new readers.  The faithful
oldies like us will steadily disappear; at the most extreme, we will
eventually die.  They need to continually refresh their reader base,
even if only at a slow pace, just to maintain current circulation.

However, I suspect that you and I are not the only readers who would
like to see the occasional older woman featured!  I was quite
impressed with the average age of the recent Women of Enron pictorial:
most were over 30, some were near 40.  Of course they could go beyond
that, and they occasionally do, though only very rarely.  I wonder if
they know already what reaction these features get from most of their
readers.  That's something else I'd really like to know!

I know as well that Special Editions has repeatedly thought about
producing an "older women" issue.  I would love to see that happen,
and it would be very interesting to see how it goes over; though I
have no idea how much of an overlap of audience there is for the
magazine and the SE's.  The SE's specialize in variety, though, so
maybe it would be particularly appropriate to be explored there.

    RB> Playboy should not be afraid to take chances.  It seems in recent
    RB> years the publication has played it safe in keeping to an established
    RB> format and form.

I am glad to see we are definitely on the same page here, cf my recent
message on layout and design.  How do others feel about this?  More
importantly, how do the editors feel about this?

    RB> While I'm not advocating Playboy to become the next
    RB> Maxim or FHM, Playboy could experiment with visual styles and
    RB> editorial content.  What do I mean by this?  THIS IS THE NEXT TOPIC
    RB> FOR DISCUSSION!  :) :) In other words, how could Playboy experiment in
    RB> order to break out of what might be perceived today as "old
    RB> fashioned?"

Yes!  A very good question.  And not just "might" be perceived as old
fashioned; I think it definitely is perceived that way.
Peggy Wilkins                                         mozart@uchicago.edu
Marilyn on the Web                 http://glamournet.com/legends/Marilyn/
Admin, Playboy Mailing List            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PML1