'What sort of man reads Playboy?' – How Hugh Hefner pitched ad space in his magazine

For nearly two decades, Playboy's editor tried to convince everyone that they were reading it for the articles

Playboy, Hugh Hefner,


While Playboy magazine has undergone a major editorial overhaul, finally removing the nude women from its pages that made it famous, between 1958 and 1974, those women were not seen as running counter to the discerning gentleman’s tastes. In order to convince high-end products to advertise on its pages, Playboy ran a number of ads asking ‘What sort of man reads playboy?’, which today look like a series of deluded and delighted figures of white privilege.

At the height of its publishing success, Playboy had a circulation of more than 7m copies per month, with 25% of all college-going men seeking out a copy every month, according to The New Yorker

These days, the calls-to-action for advertisers are a kitsch reminder of how Playboy wanted to convince everyone looking through its pages – probably even the readers too – that they were not just interested in the naked women splashed across the centrefold. Instead, these were fashion-conscious, liquid, sport-loving men ready to soak up the finer things in life.

At least, that’s what Hugh Hefner would have had you believe. Check out the images in the gallery below (click on the enlarge icon at the top right to read the captions):