PLAYBOY South Africa editor Charl de Plessis is determined that the bunny is here to stay. Doomsday prophets, he says, predicted the magazine would die by issue three. Issue six hits the shelves next week.
“PLAYBOY connects with its audience across 360 degrees, which is where publishing has shifted. We are seeing healthy, and in some areas, massive growth in the areas where our audience connects with the world’s foremost men’s magazine brand,” he says.
Du Plessis says the “ripples” caused by the resignation of launch editor Peter Piegl, and the relocation to Cape Town of the editorial team have “settled down”. He believes there is a “marked momentum and optimism in the activities of a very passionate team”.
It’s the social media space that is now causing the ripples. “PLAYBOY has attracted close to 300 000 Facebook impressions in July and has already overtaken some well-established men’s magazine titles with our number of Facebook fans. We anticipate that at the current growth rate, PLAYBOY will be the biggest player in the men’s lifestyle magazine digital space before end of year,” says De Plessis.
He says PLAYBOY USA, with five million Facebook fans, exponentially dwarfs all other men’s titles in that market. “PLAYBOY US team in Chicago is very supportive in helping PLAYBOY SA pave the way,” Du Plessis says. “Digital subscriptions kicked off in August and we are very happy with the growth. We are also using social media platforms to allow our audience closer access to the PLAYBOY experience, and recently invited Facebook fan groups to audition for a photo shoot. Within 15 minutes, it was oversubscribed. Our Playmate fan clubs and twitter followers feed into our traffic and add further momentum.”
PLAYBOY apparel will launch in Spring with ranges to be distributed through a shop-within-a-shop concept at a nationwide retailer. And PLAYBOY will take prime spot on the hottest ticket in town, offering a PLAYBOY VIP front stage area at the Coldplay concerts in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“Our optimism about this brand and its future in South Africa has everything to do with PLAYBOY’s perfect fit with the South African national character. At heart, we are a rebellious nation who enjoys shaping our own lives and pushing the boundaries. We are non-conformists – as a nation and as individuals,” says managing editor, Tanya Goodman.
“And to boot, we are mightily proud of the number of women who are actively part of the PLAYBOY team. Among other, our cover shoot for this month with Christina Storm involved only women, from start to end, and will likely be our best cover since launch.”