There are a few logos as iconic as the bow-tie-adorned silhouette rabbit that graced thousands of Playboy covers over the years. The logo has become a symbol of extroverted male culture, but not many know the real reason the late Hugh Hefner chose it.
Many people assume that the instantly recognizable bunny was chosen because of rabbits’ quick and effective breeding in the wild. However, this isn’t exactly what Hefner had in mind when choosing the logo for his wildly popular men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine.
Hefner revealed to LOOK Magazine journalist Oriana Fallaci back in 1967 why he chose a rabbit to represent Playboy, and his explanation may surprise you.
Even if you’ve never laid eyes on an issue of the provocative magazine, the iconic Playboy logo is unavoidable. The jaunty bunny has been featured on numerous products and merchandise and continues to be a major source of income for the company.
The logo was designed by art director Art Paul for the second issue of the best-selling magazine. Initially, the dapper bunny was created as an endnote, but it was later adopted as the official logo and has appeared ever since.
Hefner explained why he chose the rabbit to represent the magazine to Oriana Fallaci when he was interviewed in the January 10, 1967, issue of LOOK Magazine in a feature entitled, Hugh Hefner: ‘I am the center of the world’.
“The rabbit, the bunny, in America has a sexual meaning; and I chose it because it’s a fresh animal, shy, vivacious, jumping — sexy,” Hefner revealed. “First it smells you then it escapes, then it comes back, and you feel like caressing it, playing with it.”
“A girl resembles a bunny,” Hefner further explained. “Joyful, joking. Consider the girl we made popular: the Playmate of the Month. She is never sophisticated, a girl you cannot really have. She is a young, healthy, simple girl — the girl next door.”
Hefner went on to describe how the women featured on Playboy are distinct from those displayed on other men’s adult entertainment magazines, particularly the disposition they exhibit.
“We are not interested in the mysterious, difficult woman, the femme fatale, who wears elegant underwear, with lace, and she’s sad, and somehow mentally filthy,” stated Hefner. “The Playboy girl has no lace, no underwear, she is naked, well washed with soap and water, and she is happy.”
While the bunny may have been chosen due to its “humorous sexual connotation,” Hefner also felt that the animal represented the women gracing the pages of the best-selling magazine. Unlike competitors, Hefner was more interested in showing women who were happy rather than damaged.