After launching Playboy 64 years ago, Hugh Hefner has given his 25-year-old son, Cooper Hefner, creative control over the company. In an interview with THR, Cooper spoke out about how he plans to revamp the Playboy brand for his generation.
Cooper, as the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, explained that there have been several business mistakes that were damaging to the company's reputation.
"There was a lack of understanding of who we are," says Cooper.
One such move that Cooper disagreed with was when former CEO, Scott Flanders, decided that the magazine was going to forgo nudity in the flagship magazine's pages. The choice was made in an effort to earn more mainstream respectability, but really just ended up "confusing" the Playboy audience.
"Nudity hadn't been the problem — it was how it'd been presented," Cooper says.
Cooper plans to take the brand in a different direction that will speak to the current Playboy demographic. Part of this his plan has been to bring back nudity.
"Creating something that resonates with my generation and the generation that comes after mine is how I'll measure my accomplishments," Cooper says.
Cooper, who studied film production at Chapman University in Orange County, believes that Playboy is about "freedom" at its core.
"Yes, there are lifestyle components to Playboy, but it's really a philosophy about freedom. And right now, as history is repeating itself in real time, I want Playboy to be central to that conversation," he said.
In addition to foregoing nudity in recent years, Cooper spoke of other business blunders made by the company his father started. One of the ventures that Cooper believes was damaging to the Playboy brand was the E! reality series, The Girls Next Door.
"[The show] collected a young audience but didn't do a good job of conveying how Playboy is both playful and sophisticated," he said.
Another issue that Cooper feels "embarrassed" about is that current President Donald Trump has been featured on the cover of the magazine.
"We don't respect the guy," says Cooper. "There's a personal embarrassment because Trump is somebody who has been on our cover."
In recent years, Hugh has retreated from the public spotlight due to health issues.
"It's tough to watch him struggle, but I'm just happy it's physical and not mental," says Cooper.
While he rarely leaves the comfort of his home, Hugh does throw the occasional party still for events such as a celebration of the release of the Amazon docuseries titled American Playboy.0comments
As for Cooper, he does plan to carry on some of the traditions that his father made famous.
"I suit up in my dad's pajamas for our Midsummer Night's Dream party; it's a nice note to the past," he said. "It would be a major mistake — ridiculous — to wear them to the office. I think about the Playboy philosophy constantly, but I have my own point of view. It's what will have to carry me through."