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Playboy Searches for an Editor

How many editors does it take to replace one editorial director?

At Playboy magazine, it takes three.

In an unusual horse race for the key editor role under founder and Editor in Chief Hugh Hefner, three veteran Playboy editors have been tapped to run the day-to-day operations for the foreseeable future.

One is likely to eventually emerge as the replacement for James Kaminsky, the high-profile former Maxim editor who was removed as Playboy executive editor last week after an apparent falling out with Hefner.

Kaminsky, who had been on the job for less than two years, orchestrated one of the more dramatic redesigns of the magazine in its 50-year history before clashing with Hefner. In the shake-up, he was given a new role as vice president of special projects at Playboy Enterprises.

Insiders speculate that the magazine’s executives, notably Hefner, feel more comfortable staying in-house for Kaminsky’s successor.

Stephen Randall, an executive editor; Leopold Froehlich, an assistant managing editor; and New York-based Christopher Napolitano, features editor, are running the magazine with Hefner, a spokesman for Playboy said Thursday.

“It’s in flux,” said Playboy spokesman Bill Farley, who declined to speculate how long the arrangement will continue or whether one of the three will emerge as the sole replacement.

Insiders said Napolitano, who has been with the magazine for roughly 10 years, might have the inside track.

“He’s seen as a sharp editor, and he’s already in New York,” said one source, who added that he would be a good spokesman for the Playboy brand as well.

Under Kaminsky, who replaced Playboy’s longtime editor Arthur Kretchmer, much of the magazine’s editorial operations were moved to New York from Chicago.

Kaminsky’s changes to the magazine, including shorter stories and younger-skewing new sections covering DVDs and video games, have brought in new advertisers.

But Kaminsky and Hefner may have clashed about the long-term direction of the magazine. Now it appears Hefner has put in place three editors who are more familiar with Playboy’s historic editorial position.

Still, insiders said that despite the internal differences between Hefner and Kaminsky, the new management is expected to “stay the course” in terms of the editorial direction.

The magazine has suffered at the hands of several “laddie magazines,” such as Maxim, which feature scantily clad women and stories geared to young men.

Maxim and others have stolen share and ad pages from Playboy and other magazines that have long dominated the men’s category.

Joffrey makes a splash: Thanks to what marketing executives say is a “significant” grant from Boeing Co., the Joffrey Ballet is getting one of its more significant branding overhauls in a push to expand its audience.

The grant and the campaign, which kicks off next week, follows Boeing’s decision to give a grant that goes toward motivating people to buy tickets rather than a traditional grant that goes right to the operating fund.

So the Joffrey, which garnered national interest last year when featured in Robert Altman’s film “The Company,” is refocusing its marketing budget to better target potential customers.

“Joffrey is an amazing brand, and many Chicagoans don’t realize it’s in the market,” said Joffrey marketing director Hope Wolman, who is overseeing the redesign.

“The idea is to demonstrate that this is no longer your father’s ballet. We have to make sure every dollar we spend sells a ticket.”

New ads are slated to break in the coming weeks on radio and outdoor boards on buses and Metra. A significant direct-mail campaign is also in the works.

Faulkner exits Burnett: Mark Faulkner, one of Burnett’s most celebrated executive creative directors–known for his work on the award-winning Altoids campaign–has left.

In a statement, Faulkner said: “After 18 years with Leo Burnett, I’ve decided to leave the agency to do something else. At this point, I’m exploring many different options.”

FCB chief pick looms: Look for Foote, Cone & Belding Chicago to move quickly in replacing former chief Dana Anderson. Insiders said an announcement on promotions of co-managing directors Mark Modesto and Mark Pacchini could come Monday. Both executives oversee the global S.C. Johnson account, one of FCB’s most important pieces of business.

Anderson left the agency this week to become president and CEO of DDB Chicago.

 

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