Sigh. Here we go.
Page count: 128 pages including Front, Back, Inside Front and Inside Back Cover
Split: 24 pages of advertising
Notes: The page count is actually more than 128 as some ads are not part of the pagination while some are; note a special execution of a 3 page fold out (6 pages back to back)
Playboy Philippines aims to target a slightly older demographic. The advertisers for the first issue include: Bench Body, Oris, Sofitel, Marlboro, Johnnie Walker, Motor Image (SUbaru), Lacoste Footwear, ALEXIS (watches), Rudy Project, Tabaqueria, Hamilton, and Linden Suites just to name a few.
They seem to have their target market in order with the ads. I obviously can’t tell which of these ads were paid for in cash or via x-deals but knowing how foreign franchises cost (the cheapest I know is USD $1,000.00 per issue) it isn’t cheap. No worries I guess. They have the money given the number of ads for the first ish even if the cash-kind split is estimated to be 60%-40%. N.B. These numbers are not exact figures. I have no way of knowing the exact circulation, ad rates and other details. I’m just assuming.
The front cover features a half body Priscilla Meirelles reminiscent of a very 1970’s cover execution. I’m not sure if this was intentional as part of the editorial guideline but the front cover concept is very weak. I agree with Alvin that the cover lines are as half baked and unimaginative as the cover itself. They should take some lessons from Esquire, or heck, Playboy US!
There are notable names in the editorial staff including Vince Sales, Alfred Yuson, Susan Lara and friend Butch Dalisay. Good people. Great writers. As any editorial process goes, contributors may be involved in the conceptualization of the magazine. I feel a disconnect between the writer and the magazine. I can read Butch Dalisay’s work and wish they were in another publication, like Rogue or MANUAL for instance. I don’t feel Playboy’s influence on the contributors. I don’t feel the pride. Again, don’t get me wrong – the articles, at least those written by sina Butch are a good read.
All in all, the first issue of Playboy Philippines stereotypes the male consumer reducing him to his vital parts: cars, sex, gadgets, interviews and politics. Fine by me if Playboy came into the local market five years ago to issue that statement.
But don’t you get that feeling that you’ve heard this all before? For the life of me, I really don’t want to hear any more top 10 reasons how to get a woman in bed. Judging from the first issue, there is nothing remarkable about Playboy’s content. The investigative journalism articles seem more like “excuses” to be intelligent rather than a highlight by itself. The ability to be remarkable changes, and it changes often. Maybe five years ago this would have been something, but the industry is too saturated with these types of men’s magazines – Playboy doesn’t seem to be a cut above the rest. It lacks something. It lacks soul.
To be fair, this is issue one of Playboy. A magazine revamp is usually more visible after the third issue as it takes about 90 days for circulation to “liquidate” and editorial to absorb and internalize feedback. I think the moment of truth for Playboy comes not now, but after they’ve released a few more issues. The high cost of maintaining a franchise and paying good writers may be a financial burden in the long run. They need to do something remarkable. A hint: they can start by improving their photography. For crying out loud we have some of the best photographers in Asia living here in the Philippines! Oh wait, no more budget? Well it sure seems like it given the quality of the photos. They’re so circa 2003, comparable to the old layout of Toyz for the Boyz.
And another thing – they should change the illustration and art pegs. They look cheap and too comic-like. I highly doubt it appeals to the market.
Brain fart: My former editor had this to say about these “men’s magazines” — if you’re going to sell your soul to this kind of market, then you might as well go all the way. If not, then you’re not only damned, but you’re broke and miserable too.
If I had my way with the investment money and the staff I would rather franchise a local version of Sports Illustrated. Now THAT would click.
Update: Just found out from a source on a rumor — Hugh Hefner ordered the pullout of the first issue from newsstands.