Playboy & Disney: Two sides of the same coin?

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The Playboy Club – London

Over the years I’ve found that casinos in the UK are going through a transition period that our friends overseas are already at the forefront of.  This was supposed to be an easy visit to see the work of Paul Mellia who is one of the most exciting modern day artists that there is.  His works are being displayed as part of “Art At The Playboy” in Ka-Pow! – A Hero’s Exhibition.  This exhibition is free to go and see and will be on show through till May 7th.  After being toured around this iconic location by Lucy Sharp – Public Relations Manager, learning more about the Playboy brand and the passion that the team at this club have… It made me change my thinking… and this post.

The Playboy Club – Part 1 – Playboy & Disney: Two sides of the same coin?

Art At Playboy - Ka Pow!
Art At Playboy – Ka Pow!

Those who know me well will know that I love Super Heroes, that’s what drew me toward Ka-Pow (pun totally intended).

I’m also a huge advocate of Social Media and a massive Disney geek.  Upon talking with Lucy at the club, we got to speaking about the rich history that the Playboy brand has, how it has empowered its team members and how standards, attention to detail and guest service is paramount.  I thought of the words of Walt Disney – “Make everyone’s dream come true; believe in your people, your guests, your partners; dare to make a difference; then just do it!”  I came to the conclusion that, oddly, Playboy and Disney are very much alike.  Not in the finished product aspect of what they do of course, but certainly in their core standards, the investment in their team and the dedication to their guests.  In London’s Playboy Club there is magic and attention to detail for those who care to look for it.  Pick up the phone in the white telephone booth and you’ll be welcomed to the club by ‘Heff’ himself.  Walt and the Disney Imagineers are fans of hiding “hidden Mickeys” around the parks.  Take a close look around The Playboy Club, hidden Bunnies are there to be found, for those who care to look.

"The Hef" at Playboy London's Launch
“The Hef” at Playboy London’s Launch

Walt Disney created a playground for the family to enjoy.  The areas of his parks all tell a story.  Hugh Hefner likewise created a brand where adults could have their ‘Playtime’.  The Playboy Club and the wonderful brands that it houses, all have stories to tell – From “The Maestro” – Salvatore Calabrese, mixing cocktails for royalty, Hollywood’s elite and now visitors to his opulent cocktail bar – open daily to the public from 6pm… All the way to the retro-cool of the main club area and it’s homage to the club’s past and the original Playboy Club London that was just a few doors away from this current location.  This new incarnation of the club has stayed true to Playboy’s classic style of the 60s, but somehow manages to keep changing, evolving and have a modern edge.  Disney was once asked when his parks would be finished.  Walt went on to say that his parks would never be finished, they would continue to grow and change with the times.  The same is very true for this Park Lane club.  Its events team are always working hard to make sure things never get stale.  In fact, “Art At The Playboy Club” is a nod to Hugh Hefner’s love of art and culture, and aims to give it’s guests a taste of this all year round.

The Maestro - Salvatore Calabrese
The Maestro – Salvatore Calabrese

Lucy and her team have built up a roster of notable names from the world of art and you’ll be able to sample and even buy pieces from The Playboy Club.  Let’s not forget that this is a casino.  But the brand and the team are working hard to change people’s perceptions of the UK casino industry.  They do this by staying true to the values that have made this brand what it is, but also know that the guest experience is of the highest importance.  From the moment I walked through the doors and was greeted with a smile, I felt comfortable and totally welcome.  Casinos don’t often purvey that feeling and can seem to be rather cold and soulless places.

Playboy Club London has a heartbeat and has all the tools to be the best guest experience on Mayfair.  This is down to a team that believe in the brand, Bunnies that have earned their ears, people who are real ambassadors for what this brand and venue stand for and a place where food, drink, gaming and a sense of fun are the order of the day.

Ka Pow! Available to see until 7th May
Ka Pow! Available to see until 7th May

My next post will look at Ka Pow! and the man behind it. I’ll also be posting on the upcoming “Art At The Playboy” events with a few sneak peeks.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a look at the very unique areas and people that make up London’s Playboy Club –

Salvatore At Playboy


The Players Lounge and Casino

The Dining Room with Executive Chef Judy Joo (UK Iron Chef)

And The Bunnies of The Playboy Club London

See!  It doesn’t seem out of place to mention Disney and Playboy in the same sentence after all.  Learning from these brands could change the guest experience for the better in ANY guest related business model.

Playboy Club London's Bunnies - A huge part of the customer experience success story
Playboy Club London’s Bunnies – A huge part of the customer experience success story

“When we consider a project, we really study it–not just the surface idea, but everything about it. And when we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right. And we work hard to do the best possible job.” – Walt Disney

“Follow your own particular dreams. We are handed a life by peers, parents and society, you can do that or follow your own dreams. Life is short, be a dreamer but be a practical person.” – Hugh Hefner

Get social with The Playboy Club

Twitter: Tweet The Playboy Club

Facebook: “LIKE” The Playboy Club

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