Monday, January 30, 2006

Korean Playboys

Many in Korea had a good laugh last week at finding out a few men turned out compete for the "Playboy 2006 Korea Model Contest". However I ask many of your to consider this, is this a sign for things to come for the Playboy franchise in Asia?

I refer to this recent International Herald Tribune article on the release of a new Playboy magazine in India which will not carry the typical bunnies:

In a little-noticed milestone for the world of adult entertainment, Playboy said in December that it would seek to do in India what it had never done before: publish a magazine with its usual fare - except for its name and its nudes. The Indian version of Playboy would be Hugh Hefner meets Henry Ford: You can have any bunny you want, so long as she's clothed.  

"This is quite a departure for us," Christie Hefner, Playboy Enterprises' chief executive, told reporters in December. 

What will the Indian Playboy look like? Ms. "Hef" offers a clue:

Christie Hefner has said the Indian version of the magazine "would be an extension of Playboy that would be focused around the lifestyle, pop culture, celebrity, fashion, sports and interview elements of Playboy." But the magazine would not be "classic Playboy," she warned. "It would not have nudity," she said, "and I don't think it would be called Playboy."

What gets me about the article is this observation and quote in the article:

Among the opportunities India offers Playboy is a chance to return to its gentlemanly roots. India is not only on the brink of a sexual revolution, it is also overflowing with ambition, as a small but burgeoning class of young, urban, world-traveling men, wielding disposable income, seeks to clamber its way toward upper-crust bearing and savvy.  

"Upwardly mobile. Reasonably affluent. He would be a sort of midlevel executive upwards, a man who probably already drives a car," said N. Radhakrishnan, editor of Man's World, the Indian publication that would be a competitor to a watered-down Playboy. 

Now compare that to this statement in the Korean article:

The sponsor said that they have returned the applications of the five men, speculating that they may have interpreted the word "playboy" literally and thought it would be a contest for "playful men."

Is playboy due for re-branding in Korea on par with there Indian counterpart? Will other countries in Asia follow? It seems like there may be a market for a new "Playboy".


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