“What Sort of Man Reads Playboy?” This Vintage Campaign Asked Potential Advertisers

It’s no secret the magazine industry is struggling, but in 1975 Playboy magazine had a circulation of 5.6 million copies every month. With subscribership skyrocketing (and around 18% of households with a copy of the magazine), the company was eager to show advertisers how lucrative an ad placement in Playboy could be.

Their “What Sort of Man Reads Playboy?” campaign captures the hedonistic spirit of the era, with successful jet-setting men surrounded by adoring women, it sure looked like the magazine’s readers were eager to buy. Lines like “FACT: Playboy is read by 51% of all men under 50 who took four or more foreign trips in the past five years” only drove the point home.

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Times have changed for the men’s magazine. With worldwide circulation down to just 800,000 in 2015, the magazine is taking drastic measures. Most notable? They’re doing away with the very thing that made them famous. Starting with their March 2016 issue, the magazine will no longer feature full frontal nudity. Like many print publications, Playboy CEO Scott Flanders put the blame squarely on the Internet: “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

See more in this series here and here.

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What sort of man reads Playboy 07 July 1971

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