What Sort Of Man Shares Playboy? (He Friends His Mom On Facebook)

Playboy relaunched its website on Wednesday, and one thing’s for sure. This isn’t your grandpappy’s gentleman’s magazine. 

Well, obviously. It’s on the Internet—as opposed to a moldy box in the garage or hastily stuffed under your mattress where you shamefully hope Mom doesn’t find it. As such, Playboy.com is ready for its Facebook close-up, fully clothed and safe-for-work (or SFW, as the kids say). Just in case you want to share its family-friendly content on any social network where Mom might see it. 

Cory Jones, Playboy’s senior VP of digital content, aptly explained to AdAge the new site’s savvy social media strategy. To wit: “Everyone’s mom is on Facebook.”

Indeed.

“We’re having some kind of moment in American sexual culture,” Rick Schindler, culture critic and author of “Fandemonium,” told ReadWrite. “Would Don Draper of Mad Men share Playboy with his mom? I guess, given she was a hooker.”

This, however, is a new millennium. Take, for example, Playboy’s feminist friendly “Should You Catcall Her?” that went went viral this week, a fun and funny flowchart which informs readers there are really only two circumstances in which such behavior is OK. (SPOILER ALERT: One of them is if she’s actually a cat.) Lots of people and media outlets shared it; if anyone’s mother took offense, she kept it to herself.

That’s the way things are now on Playboy.com. When you click on a Facebook link to some some fascinating Playboy article, whether one of its branded 20Q (20 questions) celebrity interviews or its growing collection of “sharable” inforgraphics,  there’s little to no chance of stumbling upon scantily clad women.

(Here, for example, is a link to the Playboy 20Q with Idris Elba of The Wire and Mandela fame, which you should feel perfectly comfortable with clicking on while at work, even if you work in one of those free-range call-center office-pen dealies so popular now.)

Notably, the lack of lady skin doesn’t include the site’s sponsored listicle for Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, featuring a scantily clad and provocatively posed Jessica Alba. (Of course, this is the same Sin City posters your kid can see when you open the newspaper.)

“What we’re going to be doing is, if you go to a Playboy.com link that’s not around girls, there won’t be girls around the page,” Jones told AdAge. It’s the obvious next step in Playboy’s savvy social media strategy to ingratiate itself with the ladies, who share on Facebook just the eensiest bit more than the gents, according to the Pew Research Internet Center.

The 60-year-old printed Playboy magazine is still very much alive with naked ladies, and still accounts for most of the empire’s income, AdAge reported. The new digital strategy for its 20-year-old website, however, is aimed at upping the social sharing most media outlets increasingly value. “The editorial mantra for content is to ask ourselves, ‘Would you send this to a friend?'” Jones said. 

More importantly, would you send this to your mom?

Lead image by Joel Kramer

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