The words-and-related-photo on the iconic cover of Playboy’s first issue in December 1953 are impossible to miss: “Marilyn Monroe Nude.”marilynpb

The text-and-related-photo on the second sell-out, collector’s issue of Playboy in December 1998 is also simple-and-direct: “Katarina Witt Nude.”

Playboy pioneered the reality of that very special woman, providing the world with the gift of her beautiful unadorned body, for millions of admirers.

Since the beginning of time nude women have been portrayed in statues, paintings, photos, and in recent decades in digital still-and-video formats for consumers. Playboy took this trend and became a legendary first-mover, trend-setter.

The magazine provided intimate looks at iconic women: Monroe, Witt, Cindy Crawford, Ellie MacPherson, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Barbi Benton, Stella Stevens, Bo Derek, Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and many, many others.

Men (and maybe a few women) wanted to see these celebrities, nude. They were grateful. Playboy -provided the up-to-that-moment-forbidden-peek-at-that-very-special woman. And similar to National Geographic; Playboy took you to places you would never get to in your lifetime.

And with these provocative peeks came widespread criticism and controversy, correctly charging Playboy with objectifying women … as if that had never happened before. “You read it for the articles, right?” Don’t forget the recipes.

And now that tradition is coming to an end.

Does the 62-year era of the Girl Next Door need to end this way?

Is The Cure Worse Than the Disease?

Just as Johannes Gutenberg’s 1439 printing press served as the destructive 15th Century communications technology, the same is true with the Internet is the 1990s. The 600-year era of the expensive-and-cumbersome printing press has come to an end.gutenberg

The directly related list of casualties is growing: Newsweek, Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and others.

Time Magazine is anorexic. Its days are most likely numbered, but should the news magazine give up its decades-long coverage of the White House in response to the digital threat? From this day forward, Time will no longer present stories about the executive branch because in three-or-less clicks readers can easily find stories and photos of Barack Obama.

This kind of bite-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face response to a new threat is one of those cases in which the cure is worse than the disease. What’s next? Will Baskin-Robbins no longer serve ice cream? Will Ghirardell no longer make chocolate? Will Nike no longer manufacture and market athletic shoes?

The decision by Playboy to abandon nude photography of some of the most beautiful women of the world is the wrong response to the destructive forces of digital publishing. Instead, Playboy will feature scantily clad women, which can be (not-so-safely) viewed at work.

The world already has a Maxim; it doesn’t need another one.

When In Doubt Declare Victory

That battle [for mass access and consumption to porn] has been fought and won. You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so [nudity is] just passé at this juncture.” – Playboy CEO Scott Flanders

One of the most prominent axioms of public relations and marketing is when in doubt, declare victory. Playboy is trying to make lemonade out of its dropping nudity lemon of a decision.shamwowguy

Flanders’ proclamation is nothing more and nothing less than pure spin. Some will fall for it, and most will not.

Does this mean that Playboy will never republish some of these iconic women au naturel even though they have the exclusive rights to do so? Isn’t no nudity just that, no nudity?

And how does dropping nudity solve the digital-inspired issues associated with circulation dropping from 5.6 million in 1975 to 800,000 now? Why should Playboy give-up its hard-fought, first-mover advantage?

Reportedly, Playboy editor Cory Jones convinced 89-year young founder Hugh Hefner that dropping its signature girl next door will solve all that ills for the magazine in the 21st Century.playboybag

Doesn’t the answer come from optimizing the full power of its “rabbit head” brand and making binary code change its friend?

One must wonder whether Playboy will soon join Newsweek and many others in the ash-heap of digital history. Did Hefner just sign his company’s death warrant?

Farewell to the Girl Next Door.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/13/opinions/robbins-playboy-no-more-nudity/

http://www.businessinsider.com/playboy-magazine-will-no-longer-feature-nude-women-in-its-print-edition-2015-10

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/playboys-move-away-nudity-actually-bad-sign

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

http://www.maxim.com/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2016/04/04/playboy-no-nudes/#5952556552cd

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/playboy-magazines-rite-of-passage/article26832781/

 

 

 

 

 

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