Nightline Goes Down the Playboy Rabbit Hole

"Swapping nudity for negligee."

If someone wearing a pair of Nike sneakers chooses to pull up the radically revamped U.S. edition of Playboy magazine on their iPhone, they are not just continuing a tradition begun by dad and grandpa. They are also at the brand crossroads of the world.

As Playboy CEO Scott Flanders reminded last night during a very entertaining Nightline report, the Playboy logo is one of the three most recognizable company integers in the world. That puts the rebranding of the U.S. website and magazine in a larger context than most other print-legacy rescue missions.

Halfway through the piece, Pamela Anderson, who was on the cover of the final fully nude January-February issue, gives reporter Nick Watt a great quote: “I think the girl next door doesn’t exist anymore. She’s taking selfies and pictures down her shirt.” Nightline then killer-cuts to a photo shoot of March 2016 cover girl Sarah McDaniel, doing exactly the latter.

Playboy editorial director Jason Buhrmester walked Watt through the magazine’s Beverly Hills offices and confirmed at one point that columnist James Franco is entirely reliable, currently three-ahead on the deadline front. Watt also spoke with Playboy photo director Rebecca Black, the aforementioned McDaniel and the final fully nude U.S. centerfold Dani Mathers.

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