Playboy Sign Near Marfa, Texas Stirs Up Controversy Among West Texas Residents
A 40-foot tall neon Playboy bunny erected just outside the high desert town of Marfa, Texas, has stirred controversy among West Texas residents, with some calling the sign a work of art and others declaring it an eyesore and a marketing ploy.
The Texas Department of Transportation has ordered that Playboy’s roadside artwork, called “Playboy Marfa,” be removed on the grounds that Playboy did not have a Texas license for outdoor advertising, never submitted a specific permit application for the sign, and that, furthermore, the location did not qualify for a permit, according to a statement the agency released to ABC News.
Marfa Mayor Dan Dunlap said it was not surprising that Playboy would try to promote its brand in a town long known as an art mecca, adding that perhaps Playboy was trying to create a new image for itself. Playboy’s website does refer to the company’s trying to “reimagine the iconic brand.”
“The exploitation of Playboy to try to tag on to Marfa seems to irritate a lot of people,” said Dunlap. “The Texas Department of Transportation is treading a thin line here. They decided it’s advertising, versus artwork, therefore, it falls into the category of signage.”