Playboy is putting influencers at the center of its new business model
PLBY Group Inc, owner of Playboy, wound down its iconic print publication in 2020 – and now the 69-year-old brand is looking to influencers to future-proof its business model.
In December Playboy launched its Centerfold platform, a rival to OnlyFans that hosts creators and influencers and allows them to monetize through subscriptions and pay-per-view content. Playboy then tapped none other than global popstar Cardi B to be Centerfold’s creative director.
Playboy invests in Centerfold
Playboy’s ambition is to monetize the platform and boost sales of its branded direct-to-consumer (DTC) products. Now post-rebrand, Playboy has made its influencer ambitions clear by hiring Loren Piretra as vice-president of creator and influencer marketing to lead its Centerfold strategy. The former Twitch global head of creator and influencer marketing joins in June ready to grow the platform.
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Piretra said of her appointment: “Working with this legendary brand, whose influence has made an undeniable cultural and societal impact over nearly seven decades, has me energized to build on strategies that reflect the revolutionary spirit embodied by the Playboy brand.”
Centerfold is Playboy’s long-term strategy to drive audiences across the Playboy group. “Centerfold has the potential to drive organic customer acquisition and serve as a massive top of the funnel for PLBY Group’s ecosystem of products and services,” according to Playboy’s investor deck.
The influencer network will also act as a talent pool for Playboy and its e-commerce brands Honey Birdette, Yandy and Lovers.
As part of the PLBY Group diversification strategy, it will be growing its DTC fashion and sexual wellness consumer products; digital subscriptions; physical and virtual events; spirits and hospitality; web3 and blockchain; and physical and digital gaming.
Along with Centerfold, growing its DTC business is Playboy’s second key objective for 2022. Playboy started accelerating its e-commerce and retail business in 2021 and managed to grow 131% year-on-year by the year-end, but it has plans to grow this further with a rebrand of its Yandy and Lovers lingerie business and a push into beauty from its Playboy asset.
Apparel collaborations are also being leveraged to drive gen Z brand awareness and engagement.
Elsewhere, Playboy has made its first foray into the web3 space by releasing NTF art, which made the business $12m revenue in 2021. Plans are in place to integrate blockchain tech into Playboy digital products and expand its NFT portfolio.