“Erotica is just a bait that allows you to talk to a huge number of readers about really important thing”. Rules for Success and Life of Playboy Enterprises Founder Hugh Hefner
“Life is too short to live someone else’s dream”, Hugh Hefner decided somehow and began to create his own. This dream will firmly secure for him the title of not only a great provocateur, but also a successful businessman. He will not only leave his invaluable mark on world pop culture – he will manage to create a real empire worth $ 500 million, based on the secret fantasies of readers.
A PLACE UNDER THE SUN
Hugh Hefner was born into a Puritan family in Chicago. He studied a lot and worked late into the night helping around the house. From entertainment the boy had only a TV, and even then God-fearing parents did not allow to watch it, considering TV a sinful deed.
Hefner tried to realize himself at school – he took an active part in the publication of the school newspaper, wrote good texts, drew cartoons and illustrations. Teachers predicted a great future in journalism for him. But the war began. However, even in the army, he managed to write articles and send them to various editorial offices, draw cartoons for army newspapers.
Hugh Hefner quit his job and began looking for his place in the sun. In Shaft magazine, he was entrusted with the “Student of the Month” column. “Sex is the driving force of the planet. We should use it to the maximum, and not see it as an enemy”, Hugh Hefner decided then.
He managed to work as the director of promotion of newspapers at the publishing corporation Development Corporation, in the advertising department of Esquire magazine, and as the head of the children’s publication distribution department. But the thought of his own magazine, unlike the others, already warmed him. It is desirable to have possibility to print photographs of those beautiful girls that soldiers love to hang by their beds so much.
However, Hugh Hefner conceived a magazine with a lot of meaning, not just a “publication with girls”. He even made one attempt, but postponed it until better times – he didn’t have enough money.
Hugh Hefner had only $ 600 to launch a new project. He asked investors for another $ 8000, the amount of $ 1000 was lent to him by his parents. On December 1, 1953, the world saw the first issue of Playboy magazine.
Hefner played with the name and logo for a long time. First, I wanted to time the new magazine for a bachelor party and call it Stag Party. But something similar has already happened on the market. The rabbit idea came about by itself.
“Playboy has never been an erotic magazine. I didn’t conceive it that way. I tried to show sex as part of a healthy lifestyle. Then Penthouse and Hustler confused all the cards for me. Before it appeared, Playboy was perceived as a more complex men’s magazine”, Hugh once recalled.
The first cover was decorated by the unknown actress Jeane Mortenson, soon – one of the most famous Hollywood divas named Marilyn Monroe. By the way, she did not pose for the first Playboy. This photo Hugh Hefner borrowed from the erotic calendar for 1949.
“Playboy’s philosophy is that life is a celebration, – Hugh Hefner immediately decided. – Life should be lived with style. Both a wealthy person and someone who earns little money are capable of this. The only question is attitude”.
EMPIRE OF RABBITS
Hefner did not consider himself a good businessman. He said: “As long as I have the money to do what I want, the rules of building a business do not interest me. The magazine has always been the center of my life, but there was also life itself. And business as a business is not so important for me”.
However, he had a very good sense of what the readers needed, so Playboy’s circulation grew rapidly. Not only beautiful girls, but also the sorrows of the black population, religious strife, the Vietnam War, drug trafficking and other social problems. Many authors of the magazine began their political careers from its pages.
“I never thought of Playboy as a sex magazine. For me, it has always been a publication about a lifestyle in which sex is only one of its constituent parts”, said the founder.
The publication actively encouraged young authors and published the first stories by Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Vladimir Nabokov and Stanislav Lem. The first interviews appeared on its pages not only with the stars of show business, but also with prominent politicians.
Hefner had a good feel for the market and began posting photos of ordinary girls “from the street” in the magazine. And also chose among them the girl of the number, month and year. It is needless to say that the affairs of these beauties went uphill sharply.
Many famous actresses and models were also delighted to appear on the glossy cover of Playboy. Among them are Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren, Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford and more.
The Playboy Enterprises Corporation formed by itself and very quickly began to grow its own casinos and nightclubs, its own video productions and studios. When Christie Hefner continued her father’s business in the 80s, her own television channel also appeared.
“Is there anything more important in the world than sex? Of course there is: love and friendship. Sex, like money, is only important when you don’t have it. Because of prejudice and fiction about me, people often get me wrong. Because I have sex, wealth and beautiful women in my life, those who look at me act like “American psychopaths”.
Because we are all, in fact, Puritans: we love sex, but we are ashamed of it and everything connected with it. That is why, in fact, I created Playboy”, — said Hugh Hefner. He believed that erotica is only “a bait that allows you to talk with a huge number of readers about really important things”.
“I would like to think that I will be remembered as a person who had a positive impact on the sociosexual values of my time. And in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined a better life”, — he will say in the last days of his life. The founder of the men’s magazine Playboy has passed away at the age of 91.