Playboy

Already worth $800m in global retail sales, we find out how the Playboy brand is eyeing up further growth.
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Playboy magazine was founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953 and is one of the best selling monthly men’s titles in the world, based on combined circulation of the US (approx 1.5 million readers) and international editions.

Although it was the initial driving force, it’s not just about the magazine though. Content is also created for distribution via TV networks, websites, mobile platforms and radio, while there has also been a major focus on growing the licensing and merchandising business since a relaunch to market in 1999.

Playboy now works with 108 licensees in over 150 territories with produce available in categories including apparel, lifestyle and gift, home, beauty, collectables and entertainment.

Even though the licensing programme seems pretty comprehensive, Adrianna Chinnici, VP of licensing, and Sarah Haney, VP of global licensing, at Playboy Enterprises, told Licensing.biz that the firm is always open to the possibility of working with new partners.

“Before we enter into a new category or introduce a new product, we must ensure the category makes sense and fits within the world of Playboy. We also work to ensure the product is representative of our positioning and naturally represents the characteristics of the Playboy lifestyle – fun, style and the ‘good life’, all while incorporating our signature twist of Playboy sexy.”

Playboy’s licensed product business generates more than $800 million in global retail sales. As well as merchandise, revenue is also made from location-based entertainment venues and Playboy-branded retail stores. The flagship store is in Las Vegas, with franchise outlets in Auckland, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne.

“These concept stores demonstrate a brand vision of Playboy as access to the ‘good life’. As part of our effort to grow the brand, we continue to explore the possibility of opening additional concept stores in locales where it makes sense for the brand.”

As well as more stores, other expansion plans include moves into Latin America, China, India and South East Asia, while Chinnici and Haney will also be looking to demonstrate the brand’s ability to extend beyond the traditional apparel and accessories categories.

Location-based entertainment venues and creating exclusive lines with key retailers are high on the wish list, along with integrated marketing campaigns. The first of these will be the 50th anniversary of the Playboy Clubs and Bunnies this year, which will see Enterprises launch a targeted retail programme, commemorative products and club events among other activities.

“The licensing business is successful because Playboy is the first American lifestyle brand to internationally translate its rich, unique heritage into consumer products with a sexy, metropolitan attitude. The Playboy brand is our greatest asset because of its powerful messaging and because the Rabbit Head logo is one of the most recognised symbols in the world.

“This strong brand positioning helps us connect with our consumers and offer them unique products they desire. In addition, the brand’s flexibility allows us to create a wide range of products and services, including an expansive licensed product line, which appeal to both men and women around the globe.

“In five years time, we foresee a growth in some of our globally-driven businesses and product lines, including our fragrance and energy drink products. We also anticipate deeper infiltration into some key emerging markets.”

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