Finally, something for those guys who say they read Playboy for the articles: a chance to prove it.
Playboy Enterprises Inc. launched a website Tuesday that it swears will be safe to browse while at work, eliminating the need for men to throw themselves over their computer screen when the boss walks by.
TheSmokingJacket.com will contain none of the nudity that makes Playboy.com NSFW – not suitable for work. Instead, it’ll rely on humor to reach Playboy’s target audience, men 25 to 34 years old, when they are most likely to be in front of a computer screen.
“A lot of our audience logs on (to Playboy.com) after work and we saw that we were missing a golden opportunity to reach guys when they’re online the most: when they’re sitting at their desk, not working, sending e-mails to their friends,” said Jimmy Jellinek, Playboy’s editorial director.
The site, named after one of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s favorite pieces of clothing (silkpajamas.com was taken), won’t include the long interviews or in-depth articles found in Playboy.
Instead, it’s meant to be decidedly un-serious. Or, in the parlance of its audience, ROFL – rolling on the floor, laughing. And cool, “basically a juke box of cool,” said Jellinek.
Among the original content visitors to the site will see is a list of signs that show a man has given up trying to attract women. They include wearing Velcro sneakers and pants with elastic waistbands – clothing Hef wouldn’t be caught dead in, if he thought of wearing anything but his trademark jammies.
The site will dip into the Playboy archives with photographs like those from the 1983 Playmate Playoffs, in which bathing suit-clad women competed in games such as a tug-of-war. There will be links to the kinds of things people are already e-mailing their friends, from funny moments on television shows such as “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” to a Korean Parliament brawl that’s been a big Web hit recently.
“It’s all about social currency,” Jellinek said. “You want to be the first guy of your friends to send the funny joke, the crazy video … You can be the coolest guy among your friends if you’re the first person to circulate this information among them.”
“The ideal is to be … the go-to site for those who are bored at work,” said Matt Gibbs, the lead producer of the site.
Because “Playboy” is just the kind of word that has companies putting up firewalls to keep their workers’ minds on their jobs, the only thing in the name that suggests Playboy is behind the site are the bunny ears inside the ‘o’ in “TheSmokingJacket.”
The site will be updated continually in the hopes that men will return to it throughout the work day.
Tim Hwang, who runs ROFLCon, an annual conference on the Internet culture, said it makes sense for Playboy to create a site for those who may not read the magazine or look at Playboy.com.
“They’re trying to craft another pillar for their business” he said. “This is a kind of effort away from their core audience to see if they can broaden their appeal.”
Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey said Playboy.com gets about 6 million unique visitors a month, and Jellinek said he will be pleased if TheSmokingJacket.com receives 1 million unique visitors a month.
“The Playboy brand doesn’t do small,” he said. “Everything we do has to be big, has to be successful, has to be cool.”