Nov 2nd, 2015, 12:57 PM

Playboy Covers Up

By Jessica Romer
Playboy’s logo is still one of the most globally recognizable logos. Image Credit: Playboy Enterprises
Why Mr. Hugh Hefner is going to stop printing full nudes in Playboy.

With the rise of the all-mighty Internet, print work continues to struggle to find its niche. The famously provocative Playboy is not exempt from this squeeze. After decades of struggle, Hugh Hefner has made the radical decision to eliminate full nudity from his print magazine in an effort to reinstate its cultural relevance. The print magazine will still feature partly-nude women, but it also will return to roots with a stronger journalistic focus.

Playboy’s nudity has lost its lust due to the vast availability of far more risqué images via the internet. Sex isn’t selling magazines when it’s free online.  The Internet is not Playboy’s first adversary during its lifetime, but it has proved to be the fiercest. The rise of competitors, such as Penthouse and VICE, have threatened Playboy's role in the marketplace over the six decades of its existence. As a result, Playboy has continued to reinvent itself to maintain its position. 

Although Playboy’s circulation has been steadily falling, Playboy’s logo is still one of the most globally recognizable logos. Hefner hopes to utilize the fame and notoriety of the brand to launch a new era of the company. Amongst rapidly evolving cultural media consumption practices, Playboy is being forced to conform to the style and preferences of millennials. Millennials spend an average of 18 hours a day consuming media, and the competition is high amongst media outlets to grab those precious hours. 

Last August, Playboy relaunched their website without their flagship nude content and experienced a jump from 4 million to 16 million monthly viewers. This significant increase in readership sparked a “PG-13” rebranding of the magazine to attract more of the coveted millennial patrons.

The magazine is not only trying to become more relatable the millennial lifestyle, but is also targeting where millennials thrive: social media. After removing nudity from its website, Playboy is now allowed to push more content on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, expanding their outreach and relevance. Hefner and Playboy are trying to be cool again, yet millennial’s definition of cool is much different than that of their parents. 

Playboy without nudity is like Destiny’s Child without Beyonce; it’s hard to imagine. Its flagship content will disappear come March, and we’ll just have to wait and see if Playboy will be a survivor.