"What Sort of Man Reads Playboy?"

Rocky Morris
Speech 2060
1:30-2:30 MWF

"What sort of man reads Playboy? He's a man who turns his leisure time into an

adventure...He's a man with a discriminating eye...He's a man who is smart about his future." Playboy-Aug.,Sept.,Oct. 1996

While flipping through the pages of a once controversial but now globally excepted magazine, one will find an interesting advertisement within the covers of Playboy. There is a full page color advertisement that generally depicts a man and at least one woman. The scene within the ad changes with each issue but it is always fresh and upbeat, such as an outdoor scene, an art gallery, or steps at some college campus. Each ad such as this asks the same question, "What sort of man reads Playboy," then continues on to answer itself. After briefly viewing the ad, the common "JOE" might go on his merry way paying the advertisement no attention, being that his only concern is to find the centerfold. Although he may pay no attention to the ad at first, his subconscious is working its will. Common "Joe's" subconscious is telling him that he needs to subscribe to Playboy or at least buy another issue. More than likely the reader will be influenced by the ad at its face value, the subconscious will not have to interpret it for him. The advertisement is blunt and it draws on direct feedback, the purchase of another issue. Simply put, Playboy uses shameless visual and written appeals in their self advertisements in attempt to sell more magazines by drawing on mens social concepts. In writing this, it is my goal to decipher the meaning and intentions of this ad so that not only the message will be apparent but also Playboys manipulation of its audience.
To every message there is a sender, and in this case it is one of the top ten men's entertainment magazines, Playboy. Service provided from this magazine is visual entertainment for open minded, mature adults. By far, Playboy magazine has been one of Americas forerunners in contributing to this countries social and cultural attitudes. Countless men have turned the pages of this publication; whether it be for the commentaries and articles or for the photography, Playboy has managed to find its way into most mens lives.
What truly separates this magazines from other men's magazines is that it is geared towards the bachelor or single man more so than the married one. This is not to say that the married man doesn't have copies of Playboy lying around the house-- it is only to say there is a better chance that he has canceled his subscription. Playboy has even gone as far as to modify its ways to target certain bachelors within each issue. I have obtained three consecutive issues of Playboy consisting of August 1996-October 1996. Each of the magazines contain the same ad, "What sort of man reads Playboy," but each paints a distinctly different picture. The August 1996 issue contained topics such as sports and sex, and women of the Olympics. It just so happened that the "What sort..." ad contained a picture of a man and a woman gazing down from on top of a rock with rock climbing gear on. The October 1996 issue contained photographs of "The Girls of the Big 12" and articles on sex in college and college sports.
Coincidentally the "What sort..." ad pictured a college student wearing a lettermen jacket,
sitting on some steps (which appeared to be at a university) typing into his laptop. Leaning on him was a gorgeous woman giving him a "wanting look." Along with the full page picture there is also a printed message. Recreation and outdoor-sports enthusiasts were a few of the choice words used in the rock climbing ad while the laptop ad talked about higher education and male college readers. After having been around awhile, Playboy has learned to play the ropes. The interest related topics (Girls of the Big 12) get the interest related audience (college men) who view the interest related ads (college student ad). By now you should be able to see the relationship going on between Playboys self advertisement and what topics and photographs are covered in each issue.