Playboy Magazine was once a magnet for hot-blooded males, but largely fell from grace after the internet took its market over. Since then, its owner Playboy Enterprises Inc. (now re-owned by founder Hugh Heffner) has been trying to morph itself into something more respectable, on the back of its instantly recognizable rabbit logo.
The company has never sold its iconic porno magazine in China, but has been supplying clothing there for 20 years. It did attempt to open glitzy clubs complete with hostesses in bunny costumes in Macau a few years back, but these simply failed to gain sufficient traction.
New Rabbit on the Block is Handong United
Playboy has teamed up with Chinese company Handong that agreed to manufacture and distribute its branded clothing and accessories to 400 additional Chinese stores. “We are enhancing our portfolio with long-term, brand-enhancing partners,” president of Playboy Global Licensing Matt Nordby told CNN Money.
This seems a wise move, as Playboy is already achieving $500 million clothing turnover in China annually, amounting to approximately 33% of its take home pay. However it has not chosen an easy route, because Chinese consumers are moving away from foreign branded goods. This trend has more than a little to do with counterfeited products, and Playboy may have its work cut out to identify with the ‘good boys’ in the Chinese mind.
What’s on Offer from Playboy in China?
The company intends focusing on Playboy bunny luggage, belts, wallets and casual wear, so clearly does not intend to shake off its man cave image. It has one big advantage to play with. According to Wall Street Journal quoting market research company Penn Schoen Berland, its brand has 97% recognition with Chinese consumers and that’s as good as it gets.