Playboy To Stop Publishing Nudes, Will Officially Become Irrelevant

In a shocking announcement the former publishing giant has revealed that it will cease publishing nude images in its long-running magazine. What does this mean for their future?

There are certain laws that will never be broken when it comes to the branding and marketing of popular corporations. Certain visual associations exist that are so clear in people’s minds that it would be suicide for a company to make changes to them.

Disney will never give Mickey Mouse ear reduction surgery, Homer Simpson will never lose weight, and Tony Stark will never shave his fiercely tweezed goatee.

In an unprecedentedly incredible turn of events, however, one company has announced it will abandon the branding that has become the absolute cornerstone of it’s empire.

Playboy models are putting their clothes back on.

According to a story in the Boston Globe Tuesday morning, the long-running men’s magazine will begin to cease publishing nude images of women beginning in March.

The magazine will continue to feature women in provocative poses and, while they will be clothed, I’m sure they won’t be wearing parkas and overalls.

The change is being lauded as a progressive step for the company, but one has to wonder whether or not this change would still have been made if Playboy’s numbers weren’t looking so dismal.

In 1975, Playboy had a circulation of nearly 6 million. In 2015 that number has dropped to 800,000. The reason for the drop is clear: in the past 40 years pornography has become just a click or a tap away.

The Internet has made the acquisition of naked images a laughably easy task. Seventies' kids had to sneak Playboys from older males and — ahem — peruse them in secret.

But today’s porn-consumers carry touch screen portals to a never-ending flood of graphic images around everywhere they go. It is almost unfathomable that anyone in 2015 would still embrace an awkward exchange at a gas station register to see a naked woman when Apple has put an entire cadre of them in our pockets.

This is a seismic shift for Playboy, and no matter what corporate speak their executives choose to spout the move points to desperation rather than progressivism.

Playboy has recognized that they cannot compete with online pornography and are attempting to create a differentiated value in their brand by clothing their models.

Most likely they are hoping that by removing the stigma of nudity they will be able to attract more casual readers, not just those willing to embrace the embarrassment of purchasing their product.

The decision is a death knell for an industry that many are surprised to have lasted this long. In the short term, Playboy will get some press and probably experience a slight uptick in sales come March.

But in the end this is a company that makes horse buggies and the first Model T’s have run into town (shout-out to Aaron Sorkin). 

The days are more than likely numbered for the former publishing giant. 

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