Not content with the vast array of questionable products already out there bearing the Playboy brand, the media company is launching a new web venture named The Smoking Jacket (for founder Hugh Hefner's favorite attire). As Hef says in his welcome video, "It's Playboy's new safe for work website. Next to the mansion, it's the best hangout on the planet."
Meanwhile, a press release from Playboy's editorial director promoting the site's launch reads, "Cube dwellers and office drones alike shall rejoice at this fun, sexy, satirical antidote to the drudgery of the workday." Congratulations, Playboy! For years, everyone's been talking about how the brand was turning into Maxim. Now, the transformation from Playboy to AnnoyingFratBoy seems complete.
Somewhere, Norman Mailer is rolling in his grave. Why?
First, let's take a step back. Just how this online brand extension is particularly "Playboy" or considered an on-brand savvy digital move by Playboy execs is unclear.
Initial surfing around the site, which thinks it's funny (it's not), reveals few differences from a host of similar low-end male-oriented endeavors such as Manofest.com, MadMan.com, BroBible.com, DoubleViking.com, and Guyism.com. "Sophistication" clearly has too many syllables for the new Playboy.
No, Playboy's new website seems to be a simple attempt to cash in on the pageview goldrush for sophomoric YouTube videos of anthropomorphized cats, a guy having his "nads" waxed, and, *groan*, the least Playboy thing to ever happen to men, Bros Icing Bros. (All those links are "safe for work"… according to Playboy, anyway.)
Also, just some practical advice for Playboy's editorial team: To paraphrase Tyler Durden, the first rule of TheSmokingJacket.com is do not talk about TheSmokingJacket.com. The second rule? Do. Not. Talk. About. The Smoking Jacket dot com.
A website that intends to whittle away the productive hours of "office drones" at the expense of employers, might not want to send out press releases stating that objective. Especially since Internet filtering software used by businesses is on a constant lookout for URLs to add to the blocked list.
Also not the smartest idea: Referring to your potential readers as "drones." As the battle royale for Playboy's future gears up, we genuinely cannot wait to see what Playboy does with its brand next!