Playboy Perks Up Detroit Airport

The men’s magazine turned an airport hangar into a stylish terminal for its party on the night before the Super Bowl.

February 8, 2006, 12:00 AM EST

Playboy entertained guests the night before the Super Bowl in an airport hangar in Detroit.

The evening before the big game, arrivals took on a whole new meaning at Playboy magazine’s Super Bowl celebration, where a tented red carpet adjoined an overhauled hangar at Detroit City Airport. More than 1,600 guests—Kanye West, Jim Belushi, Isaiah Washington, Usher, and Joan Jett, to name a few—made their way to the magazine’s lavish bash, which filled 26,000 square feet of space.

The magazine’s division vice president of creative services and special projects, Donna Tavoso, started scouting for venues last April. “We looked at 30 to 35 venues. We had focused on downtown, but due to traffic concerns, [we decided] to move a little further and open up our horizons.” While many of the big bowl parties took over central Detroit, the mag took over the airport, which is about 20 minutes from the stadium downtown.

The party’s theme was the Eight Mile High Club—a play on the mile-high club and Detroit’s Eight Mile Road, made famous in a song by Eminem. Another witty touch: the invitations resembled passports. Tavoso worked with Fresh Wata—a Las Vegas-based event production firm—to come up with the decor concept, which included a nod to the Bunny Jet, Hugh Hefner’s former private plane. (Last year in Jacksonville, Florida, the magazine’s party featured a re-creation of the Playboy Mansion grotto.)

This party had a more suggestive take on an airport lounge, with beds in cabanas lining the dance floor. And just like a real advertisement-filled airport, the Playboy terminal integrated sponsors into the event. A newsstand stocked issues of the magazine, as well as racks of sponsor postcards with sayings like “Wish You Were Here” (“People left with bags of postcards,” Tavoso cheerily noted), coolers of Miller Lite beer, Cuervo and Ginger T-shirts—even deli sandwiches.

Playmates—in requisite bunny outfits—strolled through the event in rich blue costumes designed especially for the party (part Playboy bunny, part flight attendant) and served pretzels and peanuts in Volkswagen GTI-logoed bags from airline serving carts. In fact, a GTI was parked on the red carpet for celebrity guests to sign (the car was then auctioned off to benefit the Kanye West Foundation and Athletes Helping Kids).

Mark Mavrigian

Photos: Courtesy of Playboy

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