Media Playboy News

How Playboy Magazine's #NakedIsNormal U-turn on nude models performed on social media

Author

By John McCarthy | Media editor

February 16, 2017 | 5 min read

Adult magazine Playboy made a very public retreat on its bold editorial decision to purge nude models from its pages – the announcement that the publication will “rediscover” how to best integrate nude models was, perhaps unsurprisingly, embraced more willingly by male social media users.

Male vs Female Playboy

Playboy's nude model return proved divisive - but was positively recieved

Amid declining returns, boasting a circulation just over a tenth what it was during the magazine’s golden years in the 1970s, founder Hugh Hefner’s son Cooper, a recently installed chief creative officer, announced the publication’s return to the fold as a purveyor of naked models a full year after it dropped the practice.

Hefner insisted: “I’ll be the first to admit the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake. Nudity was never the problem, because nudity isn’t a problem. Today, we’re taking our identity back and rediscovering who we are.”

The announcement was forged with the #NakedIsNormal hashtag, and social media analytics company Brandwatch has provided The Drum with exclusive data outlining the public response.

The brand accumulated 15,600 mentions on social media for a full day after the announcement on Monday 13 February. Mentions were up 108% on the previous day.

Sentiment towards the brand rose as high as 56.4% on Monday. Interestingly, the was a divergence in how the genders responded to the news. Men were largely positive, 59.7% of all categorised mentions. Women lagged behind with 48% positivity.

Gender divide Playboy

The brand looked to normalise the nudity which forms the core component of its product with the hashtag #NakedIsNormal. It was used more than 1,300 times in conversation gaining more than 6.8 million impressions.

Notably on the 14th sentiment rose as high as 73.3%, at least indicating a degree of success delivering the message to engaged social media users.

Warren Johnson, founder and chief executive of W Communications, said: "I appear to have become a Playboy talking head, commenting only 17 months ago on its lack of boobs, and now have been asked about its titillating reinvention. So, let me quote myself: 'the Playboy brand is utterly cool'. A pornography brand without any pornography is like foreplay with no climax.

"As Gordon Gekko might have said, 'boobs are good', but the Internet has ruined the ‘excitement’ of seeing naked ladies. Playboy’s biggest problem isn’t actually public perceptions of female nudity, so #NakedIsNormal just feels like a great PR trick played twice in under two years.

"From a business point of view, to recapture its relevance the magazine needs to find a way to cut through the million different ways of celebrating the female form seen in mediums like art, photography and cinema. Playboy needs to rev up its swagger by creating iconic images for female celebrities to show off their bodies in agenda setting ways.

"Playboy should have been the place that Kim Kardashian chose to ‘break the internet’ with her infamous derriere and where Beyonce announced her pregnancy. For the magazine to succeed, it has to be the go-to brand for producing cultural moments for celebrities looking to provoke the right kind of nude controversy. Perhaps a Vanity fair with boobs?”

Below is the announcement post.

Media Playboy News

More from Media

View all

Trending

Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +