sex sells

Playboy's Safe-for-Work Website: Is It?

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 21, 2010 01:30 PM

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,,,, and "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 is do not talk about 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!


agbitchy United States says:

"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,,,, and "Sophistication" clearly has too many syllables for the new Playboy."

It's funny that you're hasty to call other websites "low-end" when Brand Channel is simply just a cheap, "low end" rip off of All Things Digital, Business Insider, and all the other contrived blogs out there dedicated to the umbrella term of "branding."

July 21, 2010 01:48 PM #

Shirley Brady, Editor, Brandchannel United States says:

You're entitled to your view, of course, and I'll let Abe defend his view of those sites he mentions, but I will point out that neither All Things Digital nor Business Insider, both great sites, are dedicated to branding. Thanks for reading and posting a comment.

July 21, 2010 02:29 PM #

Herb Skelton Thailand says:

Excellent response to agbitchy. The person needs an enema. Neither is the article "hastey" nor "low-end". It is a point-of-view on an average site that easily forgettable (10 seconds later it flatlines). I think he/she should lay off the Twinkies.

July 22, 2010 06:45 AM #

A Sauer United States says:

Thanks for the comment. I would ask, if you don't think those sites are, when it comes to any measure of sophistication, "low end," how exactly would you define them? With text-lite posts of videos like "Rednecks Half-Car" and recurring features like "Links that will make your butt explode," I'm curious to know how you would characterize those publications.

With regard to brandchannel, we're all allowed our opinions. I would however point out that Business Insider sees itself fit to link to a great majority of brandchannel's original content as a service to its readers, which we greatly appreciate.

July 21, 2010 05:30 PM #

Comments are closed

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