Why Playboy is Becoming Irrelevant & How Performance Marketing Can Change It As a Brand.


Despite being one of the top men’s brands in the world, Playboy is suddenly more irrelevant than ever.  While commentators have been correct in the last ten years that it was a diminishing brand, 2010 was the year that started to put a nail in the coffin of the once mighty empire of Hugh Heffner. Men in all 50 States used to know the Playmates by name, now most of them aren’t even aware that they still exist. The reasons are simple: Playboy has failed to change its image in the last 10 years and most likely doesn’t have anywhere enough time to fix it.

First of all, some statistics about Playboy that are extremely interesting. Since 2009, Playboy has kept a very consistent  reach, according to Alexa. This is even with a growing population of internet users, who in theory should be more interested in Playboy. However, the second chart says it all. Despite having constantly the same reach of users, they aren’t as interested in the property as they once used to be. The traffic rank has seen a serious drop in visits from their audience – especially in the most important time of the year, right before Christmas. Anyone who knows the season knows that a drop in traffic during this time is a death knell.

Why is this happening to Playboy? It’s simple:

1) Playboy still thinks like a print magazine with pictorials. Let’s be honest in the age of internet porn, no one really cares about seeing a few select girls naked, when a large part of the college co-ed population is naked somewhere on a website. Chart below shows you the reach of PornHub vs. Playboy. It’s like comparing my blog to Google.

2) Girls don’t give a crap about being in Playboy. Very few gals care about being in the magazine and the pay is pretty worthless. Being a Playmate now draws about as much attention as being a member of the Pittsburg Pirates.

3) Hugh still runs the show. Let’s be really honest here, Hugh isn’t exactly a spring chicken and his choice of girls is a bit outdated. Most of them are now selected for their ability to clean dentures and spoon feed Hugh.  I’m friends with a few of them, and while some are quite attractive, many of them are a bit on the “chunky” side. Note the photo of Ashley Hobbes and her double-chin photo.

That is what it comes down to, Hugh hasn’t adjusted for the time. He is still stuck in the 1950’s where Size 10 girls were considered thin, and bleach blonde girls were the hottest things out there.  Times have changed significantly and people like Alessandra Ambrosio now, who would rather be in Victoria’s Secret not Playboy.

However, maybe it’s not too late. As I mentioned, there are some thing that perhaps Playboy can learn to grow its base and learn from our industry.

1) Grow your newsletter base. Before you try to sell me for a $7.00 membership, you need to get me interested. Build a newsletter base with exclusive content only to the newsletter, and use a program like Pop-Up Domination to get those email addresses. Use CPA marketing to get as many people subscribed to that newsletter and provide actual content. I promise you’ll make more money in the long term with advertisers and sponsors than selling cheap memberships to see your gal’s tits.

2) Have a real product. You are still trying to get people to subscribe to your magazine or join your website. That has already been a proven failure. Playboy can be a resource, a service for men that goes beyond photos. If you curious how that might be done, go to IGN.com and take a quick look at why they are 10 times your size. With content that is relevant to modern men, from gaming to sexy girls, you could actually gain an audience that buys products online. With that, you can start affiliate and CPA programs to leverage that audience. Imagine being able to sell tickets to the playboy mansion online to everyone, with an affiliate program attached to it. Imagine having an affiliate program selling men’s shaving products with the playboy logo. The possibilities, once you have an interested audience are endless — plus you can get affiliates to sell these products and drive more traffic to Playboy.com

3) Get Rid of Hugh. Ok, I know I am beating a dead..umm.. horse here, but enough is enough. Yeah, I can only wish that when I am 90 years old I can have a bunch of half-naked girl around me. Still, he doesn’t exactly represent the modern man anymore, and worse than that he is starting to look and act like Grampa Munster. Image is everything and no one wants to think of Depends Diapers when they are looking at Bunnies. Playboy needs a change from the top down in order to become relevant — and to do that, it needs to look into the industry that knows how to produce results immediately: Performance Based Marketing

What's your opinion?