LOS ANGELES — How do publishers get readers engaged in an ever-shifting media landscape? Pop-ups seem to be the answer everywhere else, and now Playboy is delving into the space with Friday’s launch of the Playhouse.
The temporary space, running through the weekend, is open to anyone over age 21. It offers an event schedule that includes panels featuring Playboy photographers or speakers tackling cannabis, in addition to a DJ set by Samantha Ronson on Friday and whiskey tastings. A small pop-up shop will include products from fashion brands such as Joyrich and Missguided, with an assortment that includes apparel, accessories, stationery and some home decor. This marks the first time Playboy is dabbling with the Playhouse concept, something it hopes to bring to other markets in the future.
“This is a new concept for us. Really, the goal is to engage with people today and, whereas, previously a magazine was a one-way conversation, we want to create an experience and want to enable people to step into the pages of the magazine and create a two-way dialogue,” said chief marketing officer Rachel Webber.
Webber joined the media company about five months ago, most recently from National Geographic.
The Playhouse is about pulling in people who share a similar mind-set “who believe in the mission,” Webber said when asked if the Playhouse could help drive new subscribers to the magazine.
Webber said the Playhouse continues a string of in-real-life events Playboy has offered people throughout the decades, including its clubs and jazz festivals. The Playhouse, she said, is just the latest iteration evolving such concepts for the marketplace.
“The ambition is we want to continue to invest in this amazing content that exists in a print format and how do we engage with people today?” Webber said. “We want people to really experience that. The concept was we don’t need to do straight-up parties. We want to actually enable people to experience Playboy.”
The idea is to continue launching the Playhouse in other markets.
“It’s not meant to be a one-off,” Webber said. “It’s going to be an ongoing conversation. Right now we put out our magazine quarterly and the intention is we’ll have accompanying Playhouse experiences that allow for all the of the conversations that we’re having within our quarterly, all the artwork come to life in experiences in different cities.”