There’s not much (or anything at all) sexy about social distancing. The six-feet apart rule helps keep COVID-19 at bay, but doesn’t do much when it comes to matters of the bedroom.
Still, Playboy has found a way to inject its brand attitude into the social-distancing conversation with its own efforts to combat the virus and take on its guidelines.
As it turns out, instructions for social distancing and having safe sex are hilariously similar. The media brand’s new PSA plays on the clichés viewers might remember from their high school sex-education classes and pairs them with the steps of social distancing. The result is sensual, not to mention amusing.
What might seem like a NSFW video at first reveals itself to be a helpful how-to guide on how to act during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Wear Protection” is updated to reflect the recommendation of wearing masks in public; “Ask Permission” says to ask about boundaries before stepping closer to individuals; “Limit Social Partners” reminds viewers to stay away from gatherings. “Wash Before and After” instructs on the importance of washing hands; “Communicate” encourages viewers to tell those they’ve come in contact with if they think they’re infected; “Abstain” refers to resisting “natural urges” to leave home and see friends. (A caveat: Playboy says abstinence-first is not its approach to sex ed).
"In addition to the obvious innuendos in the campaign, respecting your partners has always been sexy to us and one of our core values at Playboy," said Playboy Chief Marketing Officer Rachel Webber in a statement. “'Stop the spread' has such an intrinsic link with safe sex practices that by playing within these cultural cues, we were able to find a meaningful way to educate while also entertaining in a uniquely Playboy way."
The campaign, called “Practice Safe Six,” was created by Austin-based creative agency Preacher. The PSA is playing to Playboy’s more than 15 million followers on social, Playboy.com and on Playboy TV, which people can subscribe to through their TV providers.
“The next few months will see a lot of people starting to venture out of their homes, experimenting with new and old routines,” said Maxx Delaney, associate creative director at Preacher in a statement. “These tips are cheeky but they’re true, and if the tone helps keep these precautions top of mind, we may all be safer for it.”
Webber said that even though localities are beginning to lift “shelter-in-place” orders, it will be a while before things are back to normal. "The need for social distancing isn’t going away anytime soon, so as people are starting to venture out, it’s even more important to practice 'safe six' to avoid future outbreaks and keep ourselves and those around us healthy," she said in a statement.
Playboy has also begun selling its own branded face mask that is being advertised along with the “PSA.” Brands like Disney, the NFL, Alice & Olivia and others have brought face masks with their logos to market after the CDC issued its guidance for people to wear cloth masks in public.
Playboy’s masks can bought online for $15.00 in black or white. All four designs feature Playboy’s iconic bunny logo. For every mask sold, Playboy is donating a mask to Special Service for Groups, an organization that serves vulnerable communities. The brand plans to donate at least 1,200 masks regardless.
“Our goal is to provide an alternative for the general public to the medical-grade masks currently in short supply. We hope to help reduce the stress on the supply chain for CDC-compliant medical masks so they can be reserved for healthcare workers,” reads the website. The site also states that the masks should not replace surgical masks.
The campaign is the latest move Playboy has taken to connect with audiences during the pandemic. In April, the 66-year-old brand launched its “Playboy Live” program for Instagram after being forced to shutter its storied print magazine.