Tag Archive: Katarina Witt


The words-and-related-photo on the iconic cover of Playboy’s first issue in December 1953 are impossible to miss: “Marilyn Monroe Nude.”marilynpb

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.gutenberg

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 Flanders

One 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.shamwowguy

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.playboybag

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=0

http://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-2015-10

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/playboys-move-away-nudity-actually-bad-sign

https://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/#5952556552cd

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/playboy-magazines-rite-of-passage/article26832781/

 

 

 

 

 

“The ‘Carmen’ we are going to see is a flirtatious one.” – ABC analyst Dick Button commenting immediately before Katarina Witt’s 1988 Olympic Gold Medal long program

wittgold “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 Witt

Rarely 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.

wittpb 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 Springsteen

When 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.

wittdiplomat 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_Button

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/25840.Sherry_Argov

http://en.katarina-witt.de/

http://www.katarina-witt-stiftung.de/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katarina_Witt

https://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+After

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVbVTwzn06c

http://www.askmen.com/top_10/celebrity/top-10-athletes-in-playboy_4.html

https://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=0BDI2ZPqSP0

Is “clueless” male, redundant?

How about “disrespectful” man?

And to top it off, I have been labeled an “attention seeker.”

All of the above occurred in just one week as a result of a post that I wrote a little more than one year ago: The Trouble with Widowers.

These are just some of the joys of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Presumably, legions of women upset with widowers went to the web. They found my blog. They wrote to me. I wrote to them. The Internet bots recorded it all. My Trouble with Widowers blog is listed in the first and second positions on Google.

Can we do that again?

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Life is so short.

And yet there is so much that one has to read for work, for school, for personal improvement.

And then there are the relatively few-in-comparison precious items that one actually wants to read.

A blogger needs to keep these essential truths in mind when composing a post. A blog is the most discretionary of all reads. No one makes you read her or his blog. If your blog is lame, no one will read it. If your blog is boring, the reader will simply stop reading after a few paragraphs. If your blog is predictable, then why keep on reading?

After posting 201 blogs…some obviously better than others…there are lessons that come from blogging, which allows me to offer my humble commentary to an imperfect world.

Many immediately start thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and how to entice the “bots” to visit their pages…and one should contemplate these strategies. It is all so binary code or digital ones-and-zeroes.

Having said that, some of the lessons that emanate from blogging are actually analog in nature. Some of these do not originate in digital high-tech environments, but instead they are taught in conventional Journalism school. These include catchy headlines, inverted pyramids, the use of familiar (e.g., celebrity) names, breaking news stories, controversial debate points and even subjects that pertain to matters below the waist line…that would be sex for those of you living in Springtucky.

Headlines Matter: Just as in conventional magazine and newspaper journalism, a catchy headline will draw the eye and entice the reader to take a gander at the first few paragraphs. Besides The Trouble with Widowers, my other heavily read blog posts include: Competing Against the Dead, Men and Their Schlanges, Magnanimous in Victory; Gracious in Defeat, Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility; It’s Not You; It’s Me; Taxing the Fab Four; Exiling the Stones; and A Smile on the Lips Before a Tear in the Eyes.

Leads Matter: Not every blog has to start out with the classic inverted pyramid, outlining the what, when, where, who, why and how of the story in rapid order. After all a blog is not a hard-news story, more of a feature or “thumb sucker” for those in the profession. Having said that, the reader should not be left wondering for long what the subject is about. Get to the point.

My blog about Lindsay Lohan, Hugh Hefner and $1 million to pose au naturel (Lindsay, not Hugh) did not take long for the reader to comprehend: The Decision to Pose for Playboy. I am still amazed by how many are still searching for information about skating superstar Katarina Witt’s sold-out 1998 nude spread in Playboy.

Tags Matter: What do blog readers care about? How about Katarina Witt and the word, “nude?” So far, I have posted more than 1,750 different tags to entice eyeballs and search engines. An Oregon football fan cares about Uncle Phil, Phil Knight, Nike, Autzen Stadium, Chip Kelly, Rose Bowl etc. Write your blog with tags in mind and review it to make sure you are fully taking advantage of what tags can do for your personal brand, SEO, individual visits and page views.

Stakeholders Matter: The number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, LinkedIn groups all equate to higher SEO. Every blog should be shared on these sites. Search engines are important, but they are far from the only way to drum up attention to your blog and better Google placement.

Credibility Matters: The lawyers call it “standing.” Do you have the bona-fides to write about a given subject? Why should anyone listen to you? I teach public relations at a Top 10 journalism school. I know a thing or two about communications, but virtually nothing about math and science. I write to my strengths and avoid my obvious weaknesses.

Respect Matters: One cannot be a successful blogger without being provocative. That is different from being notorious. As a former press secretary, I am not afraid of mixing it up. At the same time, I try to be respectful of others and want the same. I have thick skin to a point. Let’s dispense with name calling, slurs or foul language. The key is to be offensive without being offensive.

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All of the above do not require an advanced geek degree in writing algorithms for Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google (all tags for this blog). The knowledge of effective journalistic writing and persuasive public relations all come in mighty handy in writing an effective blog.

Who said that analog skills are dead?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_bots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

https://www.google.com/search?q=Search%20Engine%20Marketing&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&gs_rn=9&gs_ri=psy-ab&gs_mss=The%20Trouble%20with%20Wid&pq=search%20engine%20marketing&cp=25&gs_id=ma&xhr=t&q=The%20Trouble%20with%20Widowers&es_nrs=true&pf=p&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&oq=The+Trouble+with+Widowers&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45512109,d.cGE&fp=b3ed9e4baad5b678&biw=1680&bih=946

From 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.

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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 analog 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.

wittpb1

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=all

http://www.nndb.com/lists/272/000091996/

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9170927-president-reagans-daughter-patti-davis-poses-nude-at-58-photo

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/271833/20111223/lindsay-lohan-pictorial-leaked-playboy-photos-want.htm

http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2013-07-12/danica-patrick-nude-photos-swimsuit-pose-si-espn-go-daddy

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nascar-from-the-marbles/danica-patrick-won-t-appear-nude-espn-body-034511628.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1702957-danica-patrick-declined-to-pose-in-the-2013-espn-body-issue

http://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-14/news/ls-376_1_parallel-universe

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/living/marissa-mayers-vogue-photo-women/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/mayer-vogue-nasdaq-yhoo/

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