A Partier’s Guide to the Playboy Bash

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I took a job at Playboy for the articles. No, I mean it. I remember first learning about Playboy’s groundbreaking writing in journalism classes at IU. Jack Kerouac, Roald Dahl, Norman Mailer, Shel Silverstein, and Indy’s own Kurt Vonnegut contributed pieces in the magazine’s heyday of the 1950s.

As a Playboy marketing manager, I had nothing to do with that editorial greatness. But I did have a hand in Playboy’s Annual Super Bowl Bash, the magazine’s biggest party of the year. I started the job only two weeks before Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix, in 2008. The memory of the event’s pre- and post-buzz left an indelible mark on my memory (for better or worse), and here’s what I can share so you can best prepare for Playboy’s Super Bowl XLVI bash on Friday, Feb. 3, at the Bud Light Hotel (that’s the Hampton Inn on Meridian Street to us). Get ready for:

Logo central: This event is Playboy’s biggest moneymaker, replete with advertising sponsorships. Expect to be hit over the head with logos from beer and spirits companies, a car company, and maybe even the USST (US Smokeless Tobacco). Plenty of Playboy-branded schwag will be for sale. The fun part? I used to work with with a very well-known body painter, Mark Frazier, who positioned advertisers’ logos on the chests of “Cyber Girls.” So maybe you won’t mind the logos so much.

Corporate vibe: The party is private, but a handful of passes are sold through corporate-entertainment channels, usually for around $1,500 to $2,000. Many of these tickets fall into the hands of male executives. Sure, you can pose for a photo with a celebrity or beautiful Playmates or Cyber Girls—but most likely you’ll be standing in line with a bunch of suits.

Pole dancing! … But not with Playmates: In 2008, Playboy did it up. They brought in 10 semi-trucks filled with sound equipment, furniture, and lighting to dress up the 52,000-square-foot space. There’s no denying Hef and Co. throw million-dollar parties. But if you happen to see dancing poles set up, don’t expect the Playmates to give you a little show. They have very strict guidelines on how they can behave while in, err, “uniform.” The poles are there for the lay people (careful not to hurt yourself).

Beautiful (but young) women: To help balance the mostly male crowd at Super Bowl XLII, Playboy bussed in coeds from the University of Arizona. In pictures of them stepping off the bus, these young ladies were dolled up in very short cocktail dresses and super-high stilettos. Where will this year’s batch be imported from? Any bets?

Celebs, for sure: Famous faces in years past included the likes of Tiki Barber, Snoop Dogg, Alyssa Milano, Milo Ventimiglia, Audrina Partridge, Lauren Conrad, Taye Diggs, and Johnny Knoxville. Lil’ Jon, Kyle Boller, Too Short, Scott Erickson, Jermaine Dupri, Danica Patrick, and Carson Palmer have also been seen. B-list, perhaps, but fun, nonetheless.

Times may have changed over at Playboy, with circulation far less than it used to be, but I’ll ask you to conjure the high-flying, stylish vibe of the magazine’s past to make this Super Bowl party one for the ages. Embrace the glitz and the commerce, feast your eyes, and, well, bottoms up!

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