Playboy South Africa scored a couple of big hits this week. Not only did the magazine take over from Huisgenoot as the most talked about magazine on Facebook, but its ad – called Hair through the Ages – has already had over 726 000 hits on YouTube.
While the ad might, or might not, be screened on television in South Africa, as a viral online campaign it has certainly hit the spot.
It’s the first time the local edition of the international magazine has made an ad. “The timing is important as we are at a critical juncture, switching towards the future namely digital publishing as primary medium and with print, the old authentic product, becoming a collectible, high value item,” says editor Charl du Plessis.
“The popularity of this campaign, along with other pointers showing the appetite for Playboy in the more private digital space (eg, we just overtook Huisgenoot early this morning as the most talked about magazine in SA on Facebook) make us confident that in the future of publishing, namely digital and direct to consumer, Playboy will be an important player and a great medium for advertisers,” he says.
The ad, made by Y&R and Egg Films, is listed as the number one ad of the week on WELOVEAD.com as a result of getting the most number of hits this week.
“Y&R assist us in developing concepts addressing the misconceptions about Playboy in the SA market,” says Du Plessis. “They worked with Jason at Egg Films in tailoring his original idea towards this strategic communication purpose.”
But they had no idea how successful it would be. “You cannot plan virality. We just put it out to the usual PR channels between ourselves and Y&R and from there it ran its own course,” Du Plessis says.
Playboy South Africa is currently selling around 13 000. But they continue to battle with distribution. “Conceptually, we have made peace with the fact that despite the massive demand for Playboy, both as a men’s magazine and as a brand that appeals to both genders, there is no sense beating ourselves to death trying to convince conservative retailers to stock Playboy,” says Du Plessis.
And that, he says, is why they’re directing their efforts straight to the consumer “in a space that works for them and us. Eventually, we will move to a print-to-order model only, I.e., reading the printed Playboy magazine, a different yet as exciting experience as reading Playboy on other digital platforms, only if you sign up for it as a premium product”.
Du Plessis the magazine is “collectible” for many years and they intend treating the hard copy with its centerfold “with that kind of respect and associated value. You will not find a Playboy lying around at your dentist office, being flipped through by 13 people and with us trying to convince advertisers that they had an engaged audience”.
A quick visit to the magazine’s website reveals that Brett Murray’s The Spear is featured with President Zuma fully exposed. Playboy, says Du Plessis, has an age 18 age restriction.
“Playboy has fought for freedom of speech for many years. We understood that part of taking the pressure off City Press was the proliferation of the material on the Internet and were happy to post it. Playboy, in many of its international battles for freedom of speech, never backed off in the way City Press ended doing, but then again, they likely wanted their bread buttered on both sides,” he explains.
“We have an 18+ age restriction from the same agency who reckoned The Spear needed to be classified. Boy, we thought there were bigger issues in this country. Perhaps if we gave kids textbooks in time they would learn how to read what the liberal values in our Constitution require from each citizen ito tolerance? But then again, let’s not make the mistake to assume ‘liber-‘ means the same in ‘liberation movement’ as it means in ‘liberal values’.”
Highlights of your July issue? “Plenty. Interview with Gary Player. 20 Questions with Sasha Baron Cohen. Very, very funny. Australian supermodel on cover and possible our most attractive cover yet. And then, 50 pages of extra digital content and everybody who buys print edition finds a voucher inside that entitles them to 3 months of free digital reading too. “
The team who worked on Hair through the Ages: Directed by Jason Fialkov at Egg Films. Advertising Agency: Y&R, South Africa Chief Creative Officer: Graham Lang Executive Creative Director: Rui Alves Copywriter: Sherinne Winderley Art Director: Ivor Forrestor.