Rebranding Playboy


When design student Alex Cornell was given the assignment to reinvigorate a dying brand, he first thought of a clothing line from his middle school years. And then a spark. Why not reboot Playboy, once the pulse of American maleness?

The joke, you see, is some people claim to read Playboy for the articles, which no one today believes … but back in the 1960s it was true. Alex writes, “Playboy was once regarded as a sophisticated and classy magazine for the modern gentleman. It attracted all of the best writers and was a beacon of style and culture … I imagined a Playboy comprised solely of articles, devoid of nudity (or images of any kind) — something that people would have no choice but to read.”

Alex’s blog post provides a brilliant narration of his thought process, at first a fox eating the classic Playboy bunny, then deemed too violent, the fox becomes an iconic replacement to bunny ears and bow tie. His most interesting analysis is how the audience moved on, awash in a world filled with laddie magazines and Internet porn … and how some brands like Playboy must thus move themselves if they don’t want to drown in a competitive tide. As Dirk Singer at London’s Cow notes, will someone now please give Alex a job?

3 thoughts on “Rebranding Playboy

  1. Even with the best writers, no one read it. The writers were just an excuse to look at the pix. Alex’s story is pretty cool but replacing the iconic rabbit, come on.

  2. I agree. Rebranding Playboy as a classy brand makes sense theoretically. But for it to work, it would have to have some serious market research to justify the re-positioning. And I’m not in love with his final logo, although it is beautifully designed. If you look through his thought process, he made a gorgeous looking version of the Playboy Bunny that fit his final brand image. He could have used that in the final instead of having the Fox consume the iconic Bunny. Because, the Bunny is iconic; it would be a mistake to replace it.

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