Christie Hefner, the current CEO of Playboy Enterprises, is hardly a shrinking violet. But, sometimes, even the best CEO can use a little media training. In a series of new videos for the site Big Think, she spouts off about the Playboy brand, her father's sense of perspective and the future of online porn that made us wonder, frankly, how she managed to be a relatively successful CEO with such blinders on (or whether she's an even better bullshit artist than her dad).
The first entry, entitled Christie Hefner on the Difference Between Playboy and Porn, Hefner doesn't talk so much about why Playboy isn't porn, but about how it is a lifestyle. She says:
I think what Playboy aspired to from the beginning was to represent the good life, and part of that was the attraction between men and women and the romantic part of life.
See, while it's true that mutual attraction is important, there isn't a lot of mutuality about wanking to pictures of naked women that will likely never sleep with you.
Hefner also talks about why it's important to make sure your branding is coming across the way you want it to.
So I think the lesson is to actually understand what you believe your brand mission is and then to be true to that in terms of how the consumers see it. And that's a combination of your own standards and some regular research into whether the consumers are perceiving your brand the way you want them to.
Do you think Hefner's looked into what the Playboy brand is selling folks these days? I don't know how "sexy" union suits connote the good life, but then, perhaps I'm jaded.
In Christie Hefner on Playboy's Next Online Play, she talks about re-launching Playboy's online presence based on all these new and exciting things like social networking, widgets, personalization and video content. She says "I think the days of the walled garden approach are in the past." Actually, they were in the past a couple of years ago, but it did kind of made us pity her tech people, who have likely been pushing for these changes for years.
It was, however, in the segment Christie Hefner on Management vs. Leadership when she talks about her father, that we became just a little concerned about how far removed from reality Hefner might be:
I think more than anything else he has been instrumental in developing just a sense of perspective and balance. So, as hard-driving as he is — and I think that there are no entrepreneurs that are successful who are not hard-driving — and I think he would admit he gave up basically having and raising a family to make Playboy the success that it is. At the same time, I think he has the right kind of perspective on life as to what the truly important things are, and that's probably the best lesson that you can give, particularly to your children.
Umm, let me get this straight. Christie Hefner has been running the company for 20 years while her father slept with countless women on her payroll who are much younger than her (something he undoubtedly did instead of raising her, his daughter, when she was a youngster), reportedly kicking his 18-year-old son out of the house so he didn't have to share his female roommates, and doing goodness knows what about the other 2 children he has with his wife (they're not divorced) who he separated from in 1999, but he knows what's important in life and communicates that to his kids? Good to know someone out there has some perspective.
Christie Hefner On The Difference Between Playboy And Porn [Big Think]
Christie Hefner On Playboy's Next Online Play [Big Think]
Christie Hefner On Management vs. Leadership [Big Think]
Related: Naked Ambition [Radar]