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Chief Consulting Editor's Desk Rajita Chaudhuri Editor s Desk A.Sandeep

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WHO S HE PLAYING THIS TIME?
He came, he saw and he conquered. The king of sophistication, glamour and adult entertainment, Hugh Hefner, always owned the mind of his consumers with Playboy. But the brand today is having trouble standing up to its original brand promise. At 84, can Hefner Play it well all over again?
Hugh was an awkward student who often got rejected by girls at school. Apparently, those experiences drove him to make ³more´ of his life. He created himself as a person who became an epitome of a sophisticated, urban, young bachelor who was always surrounded by beautiful, sultry women. With his silk pajamas, semi±nude models by his side and a martini in his hand, Hefner not only became the original playboy but also influences millions of others by introducing them to the Playboy brand. Born in 1953, the brand Playboy has been globally embraced by young men and women, winning their hearts, minds and much more through its satirical cartoons, sex stories and most watched photos of women. The first issue itself included photos of Marilyn Monroe and authors such as Vladimir Nabokov (The Best of Both Worlds!). One in every 10 men in the age group of 18-34 has read the magazine. With colossal expansion throughout the globe in the 1960s and 1970s, the magazine¶s circulation peaked in 1972 at 7.2 million, just after one year Playboy went public and then launched its licensed products which generated more than $900 million annually in global sales in more than 150 countries and territories at one point. The brand today has an implausible story to tell with revenues touching rock bottom and losses mounting to $200 million. Subscription sales dropped to only $1.5 million from $2.6 million last year; so much so that Hefner¶s daughter Christie Hefner who served as CEO for 20 years stepped down. So is the iconic brand in trouble? Hefner¶s announcement in July to go private with the Playboy magazine having put forth a proposal to purchase all public shares of Playboy Enterprises will leave one totally unambiguous. The 84 year old made the move to ensure security of the company going forward. The company shares peaked in 1999 at about $33 for class A stock

³There is no question the Playboy brand has eroded over the years. This. We envision that following the completion of . Timothy Calkins a marketing strategy and brand management expert at Kellogg School of Management says. writes in her book. Media being a business directly proportional to social trends. says. can the Captain at 84 get it on its feet again? A great admirer of Hefner. the brand could become much more edgy and compete in the world of pornography. in all. the brand could move away from pornography and try to compete as a lifestyle brand. but companies focus on metrics and quantifiable data. along with owning the world famous Penthouse magazine. FriendFinder Networks Inc. We look forward to Mr. No wonder that on the day of Hefner¶s proposal. To make things more challenging for him. Susan Gunelius and author of multiple marketing books. Building brand equity is a long term strategy. So what hit Playboy so hard? Just one movement ± the Internet. That doesn¶t make it less meaningful and useful. Playboy¶s high awareness is a great strength but also the brand¶s biggest issue. First. Third.50 per A share (he controls 70 percent of the company¶s Class A voting shares and 28 percent of the Class B non voting stock). Each path is challenging. slowly losing relevance and gradually declining. and from general mens¶ magazines.while today Hefner¶s offer values the company at $5.. the company¶s stock went up by 34%. Marc Bell. But with the buyback proposal. The girls next door). Hefner and other key members of management being an integral part of the combined companies. Things like brand fall to the wayside. Prof. FriendFinder Networks¶ Chief Executive Officer. bottom line conscious world of business. Playboy¶s business has fallen prey to a game it couldn¶t quite master despite being there on the internet and providing on-demand videos (Playboy T. radio. has proposed to buy Playboy for $210 million. We propose an arrangement where we would partner with Mr. a leading internet-based social networking and multimedia entertainment company operating several of the most heavily visited social networking and adult oriented websites in the world. ended the Playboy monopoly as the biggest adult entertainment provider. Second. The idea of free sexual content being available globally killed the uniqueness of an adult men¶s magazine. When shareholders demand double digit growth year over year. including ³Building Brand Value the Playboy Way´. It¶s an unfortunate reality in the profit driven. Playboy faces competition from other types of pornography. The rabbit logo is one of the most recognized symbols in the world with over a hundred branded merchandise under its belt but the brand is seeing its worst time till date. much more graphic. the brand might continue down its current path. corporate executives typically choose short term tactics to meet those expectations´. Playboy could go several different ways. it is hard to reposition a well known brand´. ³Unfortunately there is no space in accounting software for µBrand¶ to fit in the Asset column.V. Hefner in our efforts to drive shareholder value. much of it trendier and socially acceptable. ³We are very excited about the prospect for the combination of Playboy Enterprises and FriendFinder Networks. Now that will be distressing for the Bunny eared brand.

. Millions would vouch for the brand¶s value but if seat-of-the-pants arithmetic were to be used from the shareholders¶ perspective. Rome was not built in a day and the same goes for Playboy although the second might not be as timeless.the proposed transaction. Ltd.1 2 Next Home | Editorial | About Us | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact Us | Feedback | 4Ps TEAM | 4Ps Calendar | 4Ps Archives 4Ps Business and Marketing is also associated with : IIPM | Arindam Chaudhuri | Business And Economy | The Sunday Indian | The Human Factor | Indian PC Magazine| IIPM 4Ps Quiz | Kkoooljobs | Planman Consulting | Planman Marcom | Planman Stars | Planman Technologies | Planman Financial | Planman Motion Pictures | Planman Media | GIDF | The Daily Indian | IIPM Think Tank | Related Links Copyright © Planman Media Pvt. Will Hugh do that? Fat chance! Get ready for more Playboy saga in the coming months. selling off to Penthouse seems a much better proposition than trying to beat a dead horse. Hefner would retain editorial control of Playboy Magazine and would be entitled to reside in the Playboy Mansion... Share | Go to Page Number .. 2004-2007 All Rights Reserved . We believe our proposal is in best interests of Playboy Enterprises and its minority stockholders and would reinvigorate the company and enhance the legacy´.