After more than 60 years of displaying nude images in their magazines, Playboy seems set to sign off in style next month as they move into the next stage of their development. For their final ‘hurrah’ in the top shelf stakes, what better celebrity could they turn to than Pamela Anderson. The former “Baywatch” star is set to appear on the front cover of the January / February edition.

Who else could it be?

Since 1989, the now 48-year-old Anderson has adorned the cover of the infamous publication thirteen times previously, more than any other celebrity.

Hence the first choice for the milestone-making issue was straightforward for Playboy executives. Yet with the feelings of two teenage sons to consider now, Anderson had to check with them first before agreeing.

Toning down the nudity

For decades Playboy has been instantly associated with barely clad women, as fantasy images of famous (and not so famous) celebs have adorned their pages and left little to the imagination. But now it seems that they have decided that they will tone down their presentation in future, at least as far as nudity is concerned.

In October 2015 it was announced by Playboy that the magazine will no longer include full nudity from the March 2016 edition. It is understood that the decision reflected their inability to compete with the pornographic and nude imagery that was already freely available on the internet.

However, there is also the suggestion that the move may benefit them from a revenue stream point of view in such as India and China, through an improvement in the brand’s image in those countries.

Stars have adorned Playboy’s pages

High profile stars such as Madonna, Cindy Crawford and Kim Kardashian have all agreed to appear nude in past Playboy issues.

Many have done it simply for the vast sums paid out to bolster their flagging bank accounts. Others have quite clearly shed their clothes in an attempt to resurrect their careers, either in modelling terms or elsewhere in the media spotlight.

Redesign required

In something of a redesign of the format and content, it is expected that in future issues of Playboy there will still be a ‘Playmate of the Month’ and pictures of women.

However, these images will be accompanied by appropriate ratings to dissuade children from viewing them.

Launched in 1953

Billed as an American men’s entertainment and lifestyle magazine, Playboy was launched way back in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and some associates of his in Chicago. With the need to engage its target audience rapidly, what better first subject could they have included as their initial centerfold than the rising female screen star of the time, Marilyn Monroe. In 1953 her blossoming career was just about to hit the heights, with appearances in films such as “Niagara”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “How to Marry a Millionaire” bolstering her profile.

‘Swinging Sixties’ and beyond

Playboy’s monthly output rapidly became synonymous with a form of sexual revolution as the western world moved into the Swinging Sixties’, thanks to its well-advertised imagery featuring nude and semi-nude women.

As its popularity in something of a niche market grew, the Playboy brand expanded and nation-specific editions sprung up to build on the basic product in the USA.

Well-respected authors have contributed

However, it hasn’t neglected the concept of other forms of entertainment completely, with the inclusion of short stories penned by several notable and well-respected writers. Works by Arthur C Clarke, Ian Fleming, P.G. Wodehouse and even the Canadian novelist and environmental activist Margaret Atwood have all appeared amongst its pages over the years.

It remains to be seen whether or not the redesign of its format can resurrect Playboy’s fortunes. A gradual decline in sales over the years has seen circulation plummet from over 5.5 million in the mid-1970s to around 800,000 recently.