In China, Playboy always has been known ... for bath products
Naked women? In China, the Playboy brand stands for quality bath soap.
The announcement that Playboy magazine will stop publishing images of nude women, while perhaps a bombshell to middle-aged men in America, means little too much of the world where the brand had different franchise products and connotations.
China's got a strong Playboy brand without Hugh Hefner's parties, centerfolds or, OK, those long, in-depth question-and-answer articles.
"In China, Playboy is better known for its line of bath products," says New York Times reporter Ravi Somaiya. "Forty percent of their sales come from China, despite the fact that no magazine is published there. It gives you an idea of how strong the brand is."
On their website, Playboy wrote:
"Last year we re-launched Playboy.com as a safe-for-work site and discovered something about our readers and our identity: The Bunny transcends nudity. Tens of millions of readers come to our non-nude website and app every month for, yes, photos of beautiful women, but also for articles and videos from our humor, sex and culture, style, nightlife, entertainment and video game sections. We are, and always have been, “entertainment for men” – with award-winning journalism and fiction to boot. Playboy is a cultural arbiter of beauty, taste, opinion, humor and style."
Somaiya says the move puts them more in line with other magazines like Adult and Louie.
"They're more neutral in which genders they appeal to and they celebrate all forms of decadence," he says.
That might be something Hef can hop around.