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Brandon Quinn From the Bargain Bin

Brandon Quinn From the Bargain Bin

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Hey there! Thanks for dropping by (Almost) DailyBrett Blog! Take a look around and grab the RSS feed to stay updated. See you around!The words-and-related-photo on the iconic cover of Playboy’s first issue in December 1953 are impossible to miss: “Marilyn Monroe Nude.”The text-and-related-photo on the second sell-out, collector’s issue of Playboy in December 1998 is also simple-and-direct: “Katarina Witt Nude.”Playboy pioneered the reality of that very special woman, providing the world with the gift of her beautiful unadorned body, for millions of admirers.Since the beginning of time nude women have been portrayed in statues, paintings, photos, and in recent decades in digital still-and-video formats for consumers. Playboy took this trend and became a legendary first-mover, trend-setter.The magazine provided intimate looks at iconic women: Monroe, Witt, Cindy Crawford, Ellie MacPherson, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Barbi Benton, Stella Stevens, Bo Derek, Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and many, many others.Men (and maybe a few women) wanted to see these celebrities, nude. They were grateful. Playboy -provided the up-to-that-moment-forbidden-peek-at-that-very-special woman. And similar to National Geographic; Playboy took you to places you would never get to in your lifetime.And with these provocative peeks came widespread criticism and controversy, correctly charging Playboy with objectifying women … as if that had never happened before. “You read it for the articles, right?” Don’t forget the recipes.And now that tradition is coming to an end.Does the 62-year era of the Girl Next Door need to end this way?Is The Cure Worse Than the Disease?Just as Johannes Gutenberg’s 1439 printing press served as the destructive 15th Century communications technology, the same is true with the Internet is the 1990s. The 600-year era of the expensive-and-cumbersome printing press has come to an end.The directly related list of casualties is growing: Newsweek, Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and others.Time Magazine is anorexic. Its days are most likely numbered, but should the news magazine give up its decades-long coverage of the White House in response to the digital threat? From this day forward, Time will no longer present stories about the executive branch because in three-or-less clicks readers can easily find stories and photos of Barack Obama.This kind of bite-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face response to a new threat is one of those cases in which the cure is worse than the disease. What’s next? Will Baskin-Robbins no longer serve ice cream? Will Ghirardell no longer make chocolate? Will Nike no longer manufacture and market athletic shoes?The decision by Playboy to abandon nude photography of some of the most beautiful women of the world is the wrong response to the destructive forces of digital publishing. Instead, Playboy will feature scantily clad women, which can be (not-so-safely) viewed at work.The world already has a Maxim; it doesn’t need another one.When In Doubt Declare Victory“That battle [for mass access and consumption to porn] has been fought and won. You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so [nudity is] just passé at this juncture.” – Playboy CEO Scott FlandersOne of the most prominent axioms of public relations and marketing is when in doubt, declare victory. Playboy is trying to make lemonade out of its dropping nudity lemon of a decision.Flanders’ proclamation is nothing more and nothing less than pure spin. Some will fall for it, and most will not.Does this mean that Playboy will never republish some of these iconic women au naturel even though they have the exclusive rights to do so? Isn’t no nudity just that, no nudity?And how does dropping nudity solve the digital-inspired issues associated with circulation dropping from 5.6 million in 1975 to 800,000 now? Why should Playboy give-up its hard-fought, first-mover advantage?Reportedly, Playboy editor Cory Jones convinced 89-year young founder Hugh Hefner that dropping its signature girl next door will solve all that ills for the magazine in the 21st Century.Doesn’t the answer come from optimizing the full power of its “rabbit head” brand and making binary code change its friend?One must wonder whether Playboy will soon join Newsweek and many others in the ash-heap of digital history. Did Hefner just sign his company’s death warrant?Farewell to the Girl Next Door.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html?_r=0http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/13/opinions/robbins-playboy-no-more-nudity/http://www.businessinsider.com/playboy-magazine-will-no-longer-feature-nude-women-in-its-print-edition-2015-10http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/playboys-move-away-nudity-actually-bad-signhttps://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/http://www.maxim.com/http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2016/04/04/playboy-no-nudes/#5952556552cdhttp://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/playboy-magazines-rite-of-passage/article26832781/     “The University of Google is where I got my degree from.” – Anti-Vaccine Activist and Blonde Celebrity Jenny McCarthy“Even for scientists, the scientific method is a hard discipline. Like the rest of us, they’re vulnerable to what they call ‘confirmation bias’ – the tendency to look for and see only evidence that confirms what they already believe.” – Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post, writing for National GeographicThere have been a lot of –isms in global history … most of them were/are not good, even though a few of them are more than okay (e.g., Buddhism).It seems like there is a relatively new –ism that is building in intensity in the First World: Foodism.And with Foodism come its adherents/zealots: The Foodinistas.It’s not hard to find this rapidly replicating species as its high-rent habitat keeps expanding from shade-growing, free-trade coffee with soy stands to gluten-free bakeries to vegan & veggie restaurants to über-expensive, organic Whole Foods.And the frenzy does not stop there. How about the continued ban toward adding natural mineral fluoride in the water of Portland, Oregon? How about those who adamantly refuse to vaccinate their children against whooping-cough, measles and other diseases? And let’s not forget what columnist Charles Krauthammer has labeled, the narcissistic pursuit of the home-birth “experience”?Like the devotees of other –isms of history, the Foodinistas are almost religious in their devotion to their cause(s), even though they are usually secular in their orientation. They are armed with their increasingly wireless Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines. Literally in nano-seconds with their personal “filter bubbles” they can find what they are looking for and conveniently ignore all the rest.If you care to spend time with them (if you must), you will find bright, highly educated, well-compensated Foodinistas, inhabiting aware enclaves such as San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Alameda Counties (e.g., California examples), who are more than happy to proclaim the overwhelming virtues of their shade grown, gluten-free, pro-GMO labeling, anti-vaccination, pro home-birth, anti-vaccination, veggie/vegan existence.First-World Starvation?Foodinistas are hungry; they are always hungry, which means food is always top of mind. Is there any wonder why humor is not in great supply with this crowd? A growling stomach and a good time don’t typically go hand-in-hand.Even though we live in the richest country on the planet, the one that has more than its fair share of food choices in its supermarkets and restaurants, there are ever-more that Foodinistas will not eat as opposed to what they will actually consume. And as time goes on and more pseudo-science articles are posted online, their acceptable food groups shrink even further as they grow more “mature.”Some will chop veggies for two, three, four hours or longer in order to prepare a vegan feast (hold the honey, honey; it belongs to the bees). Guess what? The process is repeated for the next meal and the next and the next and …In an extreme case, a Foodinista will break the vegan fast for a (gasp!) vegetarian meal on Fridays, only on Fridays. There is no alteration of this pattern permitted. The Swallows of Capistrano wish they could be this predictable.A gluten-free prince or princess will challenge everything that is being served including white and red wine. What do grapes have to do with the gluten in grains?And what are some of the places that require labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs)? How about China, Russia and Vermont? Maybe Vladimir Putin will next annex Ben and Jerry’s?Is increasingly legal, taxed, regulated medicinal marijuana gluten free? Almost DailyBrett can see the coming Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) roll-out for gluten-free weed.Pass the coconut oil“The people who believe that vaccines cause autism, often well-educated and affluent — are undermining ‘herd immunity’ to such diseases as whooping-cough and measles.” — Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post, writing for National GeographicIs it just Jimmy Fallon, little ole me and a few others who see that this Foodism religion taking on even more Kool-Aid drinking zealots?And what are the consequences of the behavior of Foodinistas? It ranges from forcing even more to listen to one more narcissistic epic tale of triumph over gluten and Porterhouses to the unnecessary spread of measles and other diseases. Have these folks ever weighed the impact of their behavior on their own personal brand and reputation? The most important public relations are personal public relations.One would think that we have enough to worry about including the record $18 trillion+ and climbing federal deficit, ISIS atrocities, rampant obesity, whether the majority of Millennials will be able to buy a home anytime in their lifetimes, and if way too many Baby Boomers will live years/decades longer than their retirement funds. There are others who are obsessed with food: They live in the Third World.Almost DailyBrett will humbly argue there are real issues that deserve our attention, not whether a scone is gluten free or not or whether it is safe to engage in have-a-blast vegetarianism on any day other than Friday.Something tells me that fun and Foodism are two F-bombs that don’t go well together.http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/science-doubters/barnes-photographyhttp://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-05-27/news/9605270029_1_midwife-first-child-childbirthhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/08/25/why-liberal-americans-are-turning-against-gmo-labeling/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble  “The ‘Carmen’ we are going to see is a flirtatious one.” – ABC yst Dick Button commenting immediately before Katarina Witt’s 1988 Olympic Gold Medal long program “Bitch (noun): A woman who won’t bang her head against the wall obsessing over someone else’s opinion – be it a man or anyone else in her life … She doesn’t try to live up to anyone else’s standards – only her own.” – Sherry Argov, author of Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl – A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship.Not for a nanosecond is Almost DailyBrett suggesting Katarina Witt is the B-word. Having made this point, there is no doubt that “Kati” as she is known in das Vaterland is as Mizz Argov would define: (A) Babe-In-Total-Control-of-Herself.To put it more succinctly, Witt is the total package: Olympic Champion, Entrepreneur, Philanthroper, National Renewal Icon, Diplomat and Sex Symbol.And this unique combination may explain daily fascination with her by so many, especially her Playboy au naturel photo session even though it was 16 years ago (e.g., December 1998 issue).Why do we remain so interested in her all these years after she last competed in the Olympic Games? The Katarina Witt brand is a great case study of personal public relations, reputation management and her contribution to Germany’s enhanced national image.A Story That Has Legs“Who cares what I think about them (Playboy photos)? It’s time to see what other people think?” – Katarina WittRarely does a day go by and the words “Katarina Witt,” “Katarina Witt Playboy” or “Katarina Witt Nude,” “Kati Witt,” “Kati Playboy” or some variation of the same theme are not entered into the Almost DailyBrett search engine. Yes, these repeated searches (even after the conclusion of the Sochi games) are at best anecdotal, but they must be relevant.More than two years ago, Almost DailyBrett wrote about “The Decision to Pose for Playboy.” This good decision/bad personal public relations decision piece was a direct response to the $1 million directed to Lindsay Lohan to bare it all. The story recounted the most recognizable women to pose nude in this iconic publication including Pam Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Cindy Crawford, Amanda Beard, Farrah Fawcett, Nancy Sinatra, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Ursula Andress, Elle Macpherson and of course, Marilyn Monroe and Katarina. After all of these years, the original issues debuting Marilyn and Katarina are the only two to sell out. Marilyn is legendary. Katarina may not (yet) be legendary unless you are among those who contend she is the greatest figure skater of all time, including winning Olympic Gold in 1984 (Sarajevo) and 1988 (Calgary).Katarina will turn 49 this coming December, and yet there is this almost two-decade fascination with her decision to take off her clothes for Playboy. Considering the literally hundreds of women who have made a similar pose decision for Playboy photographers, we cannot dismiss this 16-years later interest in Katarina as merely, “Boys will be Boys.”There is something besides pulchritude here, something called persona, intelligence, class and charisma. Are men really interested in these traits?The Most Important Public Relations are Personal Public Relations“Glory days well they’ll pass you by. Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye.  Glory days, glory days” — Bruce SpringsteenWhen Witt made the “who cares” about her photos statement at the conclusion of her 10-page pictorial/commentary was she taking a “damn the torpedoes” stance or making the ultimate expression of confidence, thus contributing to her timeless appeal?As mentioned before in Almost DailyBrett, Witt’s pose or no pose decision came when she was 33 and her biological clock was ticking in a sense that waiting too much longer to say “ja” would be too late oder zu spät.There is also the consequential fact that she made this choice nearly a decade after Germany’s reunification. ESPN’s 30-for-30 recounted how some criticized her as being a main propaganda tool for the draconian Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR. This was the same evil police state that kept a secret Stasi file on her and lived in dreaded fear that she would defect to the West.In the end she didn’t defect, and she and other talented women (e.g., Angela Merkel, Steffi Graf) have softened the image of Germany as it transitions from the specter of the Holocaust to Normalcy, anchored as the strongest economy in the center of Europe. The majority of great athletes fade into the fabric of society once the cheering stops. Some have tried to make comebacks (including Witt) with less than stellar results; Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali come immediately to mind.Instead of becoming irrelevant, only to be remembered in Winter Olympics flashbacks ever four years, Katarina is assisting the less fortunate in society through her foundation (Katarina Witt Stiftung) that she began in 2005 to support physically challenged children and teens, providing them with courage to face the challenges of life.Witt as the founder of privately held WITHWITT Sports & Entertainment GmbH also participated earlier this month in the women entrepreneurial “We Own It Summit” in Philadelphia and addressed the need for women to pursue their dreams and start their own companies.Almost DailyBrett could provide more examples of Katarina’s present contributions, but perhaps the most important points are that she is not living in her championship past. She has always maintained a healthy confidence in herself and she is giving back to the society that has made her famous.For Katarina there is always a future or Zukunft and a reason to be confident, optimistic and happy.Ihre Schale ist immer halb voll.  Yep, her cup is always half full.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57R7aAY5QiM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Buttonhttps://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/25840.Sherry_Argovhttp://en.katarina-witt.de/http://www.katarina-witt-stiftung.de/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katarina_Witthttps://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/http://www.zimbio.com/Katarina+Witt/articles/3K9PQoiROZ3/Katarina+Witt+Playboy+Images+Still+Hot+Afterhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVbVTwzn06chttp://www.askmen.com/top_10/celebrity/top-10-athletes-in-playboy_4.htmlhttps://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/feminizing-the-fatherland/http://frontrow.espn.go.com/2013/08/co-directors-of-new-nine-for-ix-film-the-diplomat-fascinated-by-charismatic-katarina-witt/https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/germany-from-holocaust-to-normalcy/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BDI2ZPqSP0The Wolf of Wall Street now holds the cinematic record for the most uses of the F-bomb in a non-documentary film.Congratulations?How long will it be before some other director beats Martin Scorsese’s “record” for the use of the world’s most prevalent four-letter word?Do we really give a f… about this word anymore?Little did I realize that yours truly along with his new bride and one and only biological daughter witnessed history being made with 506 F-bombs on Xmas Day. Kind of makes you feel all tingly for the Holidays.—Reportedly, Scorsese had to exercise restraint in the use of sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence in order to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.Whew! That was close.So why did I indulge in this three-hour film, and drag along my loved ones (and apologize afterwards) on Christmas Day? Good question.The first is that I am a Wall Street junkie (equities and mutual funds; not the cocaine and ludes that seem to pop up in between tons of flesh in this film). I have written and lectured repeatedly about the synergy between fiduciary responsibility and corporate social responsibility, IPOs, SEC disclosure compliance and many other Wall Street-related strategic communications issues.The film revolves around the book, The Wolf of Wall Street, about the Internet Bubble era of stock-pimpster (e.g., Steve Madden IPO), fraud-master, money-laundering, Jordan Belfort, and his stock brokerage, Stratton Oakmont.In the end, Belfort ignored all the warning signs and a possible settlement with the SEC, broke a plea bargain with the FBI, and ended up in a federal pen in Nevada and paid $110.4 million in fines. Today, he is a motivational speaker.—Couldn’t Scorsese have told us this story without pouring-it-on in the form of yet another clip of drug ingestion and gratuitous nudity? Leaving the theatre, I was wondering whether The Wolf of Wall Street was a good film or a bad film. I knew that it could have been better, particularly with Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Reiner and Margot Robbie lending their names and talents to the movie.Please don’t discount my comments by concluding that the author of Almost DailyBrett is a prude. After all, the blog earlier bared its soul commenting on the Playboy pose or no-pose decision from a reputation management point of view. My conclusion? It all depends.Almost DailyBrett earlier examined Bill Maher’s lovely use of the vulgar C-word to describe former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and the New York Times’ decision to use the F-word in a recent news story.All of these examples, and Scorsese’s new film, bring up the question of the coarsening of society. Have we become immune to profane language? Will the F-word eventually serve as an adjective modifying every noun? Will we get to the point that the F-bomb is reduced to a cliché?Should we thank Hollywood for our present cultural state of affairs?—What is the Almost DailyBrett take on the obsessive use of the F-bomb to the point it is almost di rigueur in our society?There is no doubt that Jordan Belfort would never be confused with Mother Teresa. He obviously used the F-word, and was addicted to/obsessed with drugs, sex and money. Can that point be made without dropping 506 F-bombs in 179 minutes or an average of 2.8268156424 uses of the F-word each minute or one every 20 seconds?One would hope so.My former boss, Governor George Deukmejian, remembered fondly debating Democratic leader and future San Francisco Mayor George Moscone on the floor of the California State Senate. Being the minority leader, George Deukmejian, was on the wrong end of the final vote more times than naught. Still when the debate was over, the two Georges were friends and no F-bombs were dropped.Contentiousness is not new to our society and undoubtedly will persist. Consider the fatal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. How about the Free States and the Slave States that led to the Civil War? Next year we will commemorate the start of The War to End All Wars. Everyone has got along swimmingly since the end of World War I in 1918.Besides leaving massive debts to our children and their children, will we as the fading Baby Boomer Generation bequest to them a coarse-and-vile society? Is there a way that we can put the brakes on, at least slowing down, the animosity, vitriol and the degradation of societal discourse?At a minimum, let’s hope we don’t see a Christmas movie with 507 F-bombs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Belforthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street_%282013_film%29http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1719590/wolf-of-wall-street-margot-robbie-nudity.jhtmlhttp://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/2013/12/martin-scorseses-wolf-wall-street-review-excessive-movie-about-excesshttps://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-f-bomb-r-i-p/https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/is-the-c-word-the-equivalent-of-the-n-word/https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/Maybe the Heisman Trophy is not good enough for Matt Barkley?Ditto for winning the National Championship and being the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?Considering his works and deeds on-and-off the field (are there holes in his hands and feet?), maybe he should be canonized as a saint?You say that someone must be deceased before he or she can be canonized? Details, details.My point here is that the slovenly and slobbering media coverage has been uniformly glowing to the point it is already way beyond the point of being over the top. Does Barkley walk on water? Does he change water into wine? Does he part the friggin’ Red Sea?There are … count em … 2.38 million Google results about Matt Barkley. He is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Lindy’s chronicled Saint Matt leading 15 of his teammates heading off to Haiti last May to help the needy. He is a devout Christian. He passed up NFL riches this year to come back and save USC for one more year. Who needs Mother Teresa?Playboy described him as the “Golden boy.” Mater Dei Matt would probably ask: “Playboy? What is Playboy?”… He really doesn’t want to know.As I attempt to rationalize the 24/7/365 ESPN coverage of Matt Barkley with some sort of semblance of sanity, please understand that I actually graduated from USC with a degree in Broadcasting Journalism way back in the prior century, 1978. I have a very soft place in my heart for the Trojans, “Conquest,” the Song Girls and Traveler.At the same time, I am free of the Southland’s polluted inversion layer which seems to cause people stuck on LA freeways to expect nothing less than annual national championships and Heisman Trophies.As a public relations instructor, Master’s degree recipient and two-decade-plus football season ticket holder at the humbler University of Oregon, I have seen Barkley play live three times against the Ducks. Last year, Barkley torched Oregon for four touchdowns and one pick and 323-yards as the Trojans hung on 38-35 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.The previous year, Barkley’s stats were not so divine. He threw one touchdown and two picks (269 yards) against Oregon as the Ducks won 53-32, prompting Trojan fans to take early flight from the Los Angeles Mausoleum.In Barkley’s first visit to Autzen in 2009, Barkley threw two touchdowns and one pick for 187 yards in a 47-20 frightening Halloween night loss to Oregon.If you are scoring at home, these results translate into a career 1-2 record (7 TDs and 5 Picks) for Barkley vs. Oregon. He has the opportunity on November 3 back at the LA Mausoleum to even the score. And yet, there is this unprecedented Matt Barkley hyperventilation and histrionics emanating from the foaming-at-the-mouth sports media.Let’s assume the awarding of the Heisman Trophy, the National Championship and the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft are all administrative acts as it applies to the over-celebrated Matt Barkley. What’s the logical next step?Only one “person” has ever ascended into heaven and as the Good Book says; he was the son of God. Is Barkley the second son of God? That may be even too much for Matt Barkley.How about the second Assumption? The Blessed Mary was assumed into heaven where she now hangs out with Ronald Reagan, Vince Lombardi and Steve Jobs. Why shouldn’t Barkley be the first male to be assumed into the heavens? He could get to know St. Peter on a first name basis.Besides injecting some humor into Barkleymania, there is a reality here that he should remember: The media is the opposite of the Marine drill sergeant at Camp Pendleton. The Marines beat you down and then build you up as a Marine. The media can build you up as they have done Matt Barkley, but they would rather tear you down and spit you out.Ask Tiger Woods, if you don’t believe me.Always be on your guard, Mr. Barkley. Always be on your guard…even if you are assumed into heaven. There are critics everywhere, even there.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonizationhttp://www.motherteresa.org/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Jesushttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Maryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Barkleyhttp://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/15/sports/la-sp-0816-usc-football-20120816From a personal public relations, marketing and branding standpoint, would I advise somebody’s daughter to pose au naturel for Playboy?My answer is the ultimate of cop-outs: It all depends.The most important public relations are personal public relations. Once a reputation and brand is tarnished, there will never be total redemption (e.g., Tiger Woods). This is not to suggest that posing for Playboy is necessarily unwise or potentially career limiting; some may conclude that is the case and others may have an all-together different opinion.Before baring my opinions on this topic that once again came to the public’s attention as a result of Lindsay Lohan doing her best sans clothes impersonation of Marilyn Monroe complete with the red velvet background, one needs to be reminded that just a fraction of those that have the temerity to pose nude before millions of eyeballs are ever afforded the “opportunity.”Besides having the requisite ornamental value, there usually must be a compelling business reason for the editors of Playboy to want devote a half-dozen or more glossy pages to a certain damsel. There is a literal media industry obsessed with fame (e.g., TMZ) and if the world has the desire to see what a particular, intriguing celebrity looks naked that draws lots attention, which translates into increasingly hard-to-attract advertising dollars. Reportedly, Lohan was paid $1 million under the condition that she pose 100 percent nude. There are 7.8 million Google results related to Lohan’s Playboy shoot and counting. The January/February issue (at least in major locales) with Lohan on the cover is a total sellout, which should bring a smile to Hugh Hefner’s 85-year old mug.So in the wake of her entertainment stardom, not to mention the DUIs, rehabs, shop-lifting and ankle bracelets, Lohan’s decision to pose even drew the interest of the Gray Lady, the New York Times. “You could argue that Playboy is actually a step in the right direction — toward what passes for class and decorum these days — and that she will now join the likes of Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and Katarina Witt, all of whom posed for Playboy without any damage to their reputations whatsoever,” wrote Charles McGrath.In assessing this question, one should consider the permanency of the pose/no pose decision. There is no debate that we live in a digital-is-eternal world in an attention society. A celebrity’s (or wanna-be celebrity’s) published nudity (both og with staples and digital through key strokes) will follow her to the grave and in fact beyond the grave (e.g. Farrah Fawcett).In some cases, the decision to pose nude is made with an eye toward launching a career (i.e., Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson) and in other cases the decision is made to resurrect interest or at least a memory (i.e. Witt, Fawcett). And in these cases, the decision from a personal PR, marketing and branding consideration was the right decision … but it doesn’t appear to work for everyone.Nancy Sinatra’s decision to pose at 54 came too late in her career; her best days were clearly behind her. Fawcett was 48 and 50 for the two times she took off her clothes for Playboy’s photographers, putting her on the cusp of being too … mature for this decision.Model Cindy Crawford recounted how advisors were aghast by her consideration of posing nude for famous photographer Herb Ritts’ camera a second time at 32-years-old in 1998. Reflecting on the stated opposition of her camp, Crawford said: “That provoked me and made me want to push their buttons a little. People have to compartmentalize me. They can’t deal with a woman who has a serious career taking off her clothes and being sexy.”For race car driver/Go Daddy spokeswoman Danica Patrick the pose nude/not pose nude question has not been settled in her mind, and whatever she ultimately decides it must help build and enhance her personal “brand.”“Artistically, I think it would be really fun,” the 31-year-old Patrick said according to the Sporting News. “But it’s not things that I need to do to push the issue with my brand. There’s already enough stuff that I do that pushes that, so I’d rather stay in my full comfort zone than go that far.“I’m not saying there never will be a day. When I speak to them and they ask me each time, I say, ‘Don’t stop asking. I don’t know. I might change my mind one year and it might be something that parallels something else I’m doing or where I’m at.’”Lohan’s pictorial in Playboy may or may not have totally sold out. There is no doubt that the Playboy appearances of two women resulted in their respective editions becoming collector’s items: Monroe and Olympic figure skating champion Witt.Like Crawford before her, Witt had a similar pose/no pose decision to make. “I’m sure that some of my skating audience, when they hear I’ve taken off my clothes for Playboy, will be shocked. They may be uncomfortable with it, or they might ask, ‘Why?’ I don’t know what to say, except that I was ready to do this.” She was also 33 in 1998, possibly prompting her to ask herself, if not now, when … and is later possibly too late?Olympic swimmer Beard was always being asked if she would pose for Playboy. “I talked to my agent, to my dad, I talked to my boyfriend, and finally it was like, You know what? It’s flattering that they want me to be in such an iconic magazine. It’s a huge honor, and I’m not going to have this body much longer. I’m going to go for it.”And still there were nervous moments for Beard: “I’m used to being in not much clothing (yep, she is a swimmer), but I’m always in some clothing.” She had fun posing in the nude, and used the experience to try to get into the heads of her competition.“What was most interesting is the reaction in the swimming community and the people I swim against,” Beard said. “The more I can distract them from my swimming, the better. Or maybe they won’t see me as much of a threat, and then bam out of nowhere … Another little mind game to play with them.”Fawcett also reflected upon her fans and their impressions as part of her decision-making process. “Fans hand me posters, pictures, T-shirts to sign, and they talk about having fantasies about me. I decided, if they’re going to have fantasies, I’ll give them what I think they should have. As much as I wanted this, it wasn’t easy.”In some cases, the decision to pose may revolve around money, (e.g. ,Lohan), notoriety (e.g., Kim Kardashian), break out the shadow of famous relatives (e.g., Lizzy Jagger) or to send a message to an ex-husband (e.g., Jeannie Buss).From a personal brand-building/enhancing standpoint, the decision to pose worked well for the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Katarina Witt and certainly Marilyn Monroe. For others including Nancy Sinatra and quite possibly, Farrah Fawcett and Patti Davis, it was a mistake. And for even others, such as Tea Party fave Sarah Palin or sideline reporter Erin Andrews in the wake of the despicable stalker video of her, the decision to pose would most likely be curtains or at least eye-opening setbacks to lucrative careers.Relatively new Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer raised more than a few eyebrows with her horizontal spread for Vogue. A horizontal pose for Playboy by telegenic Mayer would more than stir up Yahoo!’s NASDAQ ticker symbol.Of course, times and mores change. Monroe was reportedly questioned by authorities what was on when she posed for Playboy. She replied: “The radio.” These days no one would care what music was playing when Lohan stepped out of her bathrobe.Did they airbrush her ankle bracelets along with her tattoos?http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/sunday-review/lindsay-lohan-in-playboy-overexposed.html?pagewanted=allhttp://www.nndb.com/lists/272/000091996/http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9170927-president-reagans-daughter-patti-davis-poses-nude-at-58-photohttp://www.ibtimes.com/articles/271833/20111223/lindsay-lohan-pictorial-leaked-playboy-photos-want.htmhttp://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2013-07-12/danica-patrick-nude-photos-swimsuit-pose-si-espn-go-daddyhttp://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nascar-from-the-marbles/danica-patrick-won-t-appear-nude-espn-body-034511628.htmlhttp://bleacherreport.com/articles/1702957-danica-patrick-declined-to-pose-in-the-2013-espn-body-issuehttp://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-14/news/ls-376_1_parallel-universehttp://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/living/marissa-mayers-vogue-photo-women/https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/mayer-vogue-nasdaq-yhoo/Has there ever been a country in the planet’s existence that has ever been so thoroughly and negatively stereotyped based upon only 12 years of its history?Consider the national brand of Germany and its 82 million residents. What does the mere mention of the country’s name trigger in the minds of most people? The Nazis, Hitler, Goose-stepping, Blitzkrieg, Luftwaffe, Panzers, Gestapo, Sieg Hail, Holocaust, Lugers, Monocles, the Bunker etc.This deeply ingrained stereotype (e.g. Wilhelm Klink and Sergeant “I know nothing” Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes) comes immediately to mind and will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. However, there may be four answers to at least soften the country’s perception problem: time, normalcy, products and most of all, famous women who have or who are softening the nation’s image.As Pulitzer Prize writer and journalist William L. Shirer wrote in his best seller The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich he personally detested totalitarian dictatorships and came to loathe Nazi Germany as he lived through it and “watched its ugly assault upon the human spirit.” That was from 1933-1945 or 66-78 years ago.Since then, Germany was conquered, occupied, divided and then reunified. Das Land in der Mitte (The nation in the middle of Europe) has become the central economic engine of the European Union (EU). Many are openly wondering whether Germany will bail out Greece, and if they do, will they then be asked to do the same for Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or add any other ailing EU country here.As vexing as these questions are, they also signal that Germany may be increasingly regarded as a normal country. This is not to suggest the concentration camps, the ovens, the mass graves and the Holocaust should ever be forgotten; all should be permanently remembered to prevent this horrifically sad chapter of human history from ever repeating itself.Why do I care about this subject? Personally, I have been studying the German language since 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and with it, the end of European branch of Communism. An authentic piece of the wall sits within inches of my mouse pad as I write this commentary. Just this week I received word that I will receive the Zertifikät Deutsch from the Goethe Institut, signaling at least a basic conversational proficiency in the German language. The question is should I openly celebrate?On more occasions than I could possibly count, colleagues and associates express surprise when they hear that I am studying German. It doesn’t take long for the 12 years of the Third Reich to come into the conversation (not that I raise it). I even experienced one of my colleagues suggesting that I banish Shirer’s award-winning best seller from my home book shelf because it includes a Swastika on the side cover…Gee, I didn’t put that emblem there…Maybe, I should just be at peace with my interest in learning a second language and let people think what they want to think? Germany does not have the same luxury. So how is Germany rebuilding its reputation and enhancing its brand, even though the damage from the Nazi years will never be totally mitigated?● Time. The World War II generation is dying out. With each passing day, there are fewer people who have first-hand experience with the War in Europe and its aftermath. The Prussian guns have been silenced and an enduring democracy has emerged from the ashes of war.● Normalcy. As discussed already, all eyes are on Germany as the solution for the European economic crisis. Germany has been sending its military out of the country…not as invaders and occupiers…but as peacekeepers (e.g. Bosnia) or to assist in the War on Terrorism (e.g. Afghanistan).● Products, brand names and reputations. BMW, Daimler-Benz, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Bayer, Siemens, SAP, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bank, Becks, Bitburger, Spaten and more are all regarded as world-class competitors in their respective automotive, pharmaceutical, technology, banking and brewing segments. German craftsmanship and quality engineering are legendary.● The influence of prominent women. One of the quickest ways to soften an image and maybe to start the job of repairing a brand are women who do not threaten and command respect. Three German Frauen come immediately to mind in ascending order: Steffi Graf, Katharina Witt and most of all, Angela Merkel.Graf, 42, (born, Mannheim, Baden Württemberg) won 22 Grand Slam tennis titles (second most ever) including the only calendar year Grand Slam (Australian, French, Wimbledon and US). Fräulein Forehand played a classy brand of tennis and earned the respect throughout the tennis world. She is married to former male tennis star Andre Agassi and they are raising two children.Witt, 45 (born, Staaken in former East Germany) won two Olympic Gold medals in figure skating in Sarajevo (1984) and Calgary (1988). She won the figure skating World Championships four times. She raised a few eyebrows with her nude portfolio in Playboy in 1998 becoming only the second personality to ever sell-out an entire editorial run of the magazine; the other is none other than Marilyn Monroe. She is regarded as one of the best figure skaters of all time.Merkel, 56, (born, Hamburg but grew up in East Germany) is the nation’s Chancellor and first female head of state in the various iterations of Germany that goes back to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire in 962. Merkel is the head of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (party) and is the second woman to ever chair the G-8. She has positioned herself as a pragmatist and centrist in domestic and foreign affairs. She was welcomed to the White House with an official state dinner earlier this month.Just like the rubble that piled up in Berlin took years to clear out after the shooting stopped in 1945, the rebuilding process for Germany’s brand is well underway. Will the Nazi past and with it Vergangenheitsverdrossenheit (angst about history) ever go completely away? The answer is nein. However, time, normalcy, engineering prowess and the influence of some key women (and men too) are maybe the keys to reassessing Germany’s reputation and steadily building its national brand equity.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steffi_Grafhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katarina_Witthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Merkelhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/06/07/watch-live-welcoming-chancellor-merkel-germany-white-house-official-visithttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogan’s_Heroeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany





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