Playboy magazine – famous for its nude celebrity spreads since 1953 – has decided to cover-up.
US bosses have decided that its struggling print edition can’t compete with online for nudity and it will now feature models wearing lingerie or bikinis as a minimum.
The move is set to have been endorsed by Playboy founder, the 89 year old Mr Hefner.
The magazine’s CEO Scott Flanders argues that Playboy has become a victim of its own success. He says it pioneered sexuality for men way back in the 50s and 60s and has now been surpassed online.
Playboy’s website stopped running nude models in August last year and the move to more clothes will aid the brands social media platforms.
“That battle has been fought and won,” Flanders said. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
The magazine is currently under license in 35 countries around the globe – which is the brand’s real earner – while the Australian edition closed some 15 years ago.
The current US edition sells about 800,000 monthly and will most likely compete with the younger Sports Illustrated market. Playboy in the US has reported that its average reader is aged 30.
Playboy concedes it has one of the most recognisable brands on the planet in its “bunny logo”, however its actual magazine has been in strife – circulation and advertising-wise – for some time.
But whether a less-raunchy edition can save the brand and attract younger readers is yet to be seen. That territory has all been tried in the US by the likes of FHM, Maxim and Stuff, all of which have closed.
“Don’t get me wrong,” said the magazine’s content manager Cory Jones of the decision to dispense with nudity, “12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.”