That's a departure from the old Playboy.com. It did not offer
nudity -- that's over at a separate, subscription-only site -- but
still filled its home page pretty much exclusively with scantily
clad women. The shift also better reflects Playboy's monthly print
magazine, which only features girls on 12% of its pages, according
to Mr. Mastrangelo.
When Ad Age previewed the new site on Wednesday, a sidebar on
the home page listing the 10 most popular stories only included one
that featured women in provocative poses. The top story -- a list
of the 100 best toys of the 1990s -- encapsulates the aim of the
new site, which isn't so different from today's top socially driven
publishers, such as BuzzFeed.
"The editorial mantra for content is to ask ourselves, 'Would
you send this to a friend?'" said Cory Jones, senior VP-digital
content at Playboy.
That may be a harder question for Playboy's readers to answer
than BuzzFeed's. Even though Playboy.com has always been nude-free,
Mr. Jones acknowledged the common perception that the site is
synonymous with skin. The new site is meant to correct that
reputation in order to make people more comfortable sharing links
to the site on Facebook.
"What we're going to be doing is if you go to a Playboy.com link
that's not around girls, there won't be girls around the page," Mr.
Jones said. Given that "everyone's mom is on Facebook," he said,
that shift means you can feel comfortable sharing content knowing
that your mom can clicks without getting inundated in photos of
Social is a bigger priority for Playboy's new site than mobile,
which accounts for 60% of the Playboy.com's monthly traffic. The
site is responsively designed so that content automatically resizes
to fit a smartphone, tablet or desktop screen, but that's "the
price of entry these days," said Phillip Morelock, Playboy's senior
VP-chief product officer for digital media. "We developed
everything on the site for social," Mr. Morelock said. "We're
focused on Facebook now because that's where our largest audience
As of Wednesday, Playboy counted 15.6 million Facebook fans,
881,000 Twitter followers, 1 million YouTube subscribers, 1.4
million Instagram followers and 62,400 Vine followers.
More than 60 millions pieces of Playboy.com content makes it
into people's Facebook feeds each month, and roughly half of the
site's audience encountered its content through a social share, Mr.
The emphasis on more socially acceptable content may help
Playboy attract more advertisers looking to reach its target
audience of guys who are "in their late 20s and single but dating
and got a promotion so he's got a little money in his pocket he's
looking to spend, trying to climb the corporate ladder but also
trying to have fun," as Mr. Jones put it. Dimension Films, Bud
Light and Hornitos have signed on as the new site's first big
"What Playboy does for some brands is build credibility in
utilizing a natural approach to sexiness in the entertainment
business," said Bladimiar Norman, Dimension Films' senior
VP-marketing. "Take a look at what Playboy has done over the last
couple years. They've tried to transition the brand into more of a