trends: shirtless pitch men?

Old Spice didn’t start the idea that skin helps sell a product, but they certainly left a great impression in our minds with their tv and on-the-fly internet spots featuring Isaiah Mustafa. The ads generated much acclaim, countless spoofs and while I’m sure their new spot with NFL Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis may bring back the guys*, most are calling for the return of Isaiah.

Based on these recent ads from Stayfree, however, it looks like we’re in for a nice reversal on the scantily clad female advertising idea for a while. Likely drawing inspiration from Porn for Women**, the ads feature sensitive men cooking, cleaning and… building toys for underprivileged children. They also resemble the “personalized video dates” of the 70s and 80s brilliantly spoofed in Amazon Women on the Moon:

There are dates with Brad, Ryan and Trevor and each man seems to have an odd obsession with moisture, thinness and/or absorbency combined with an overwhelming need to remove their shirts! Based on the presentation, I suspect these are designed for internet-only viewing so probably won’t be seen on TV, and as you can’t subscribe to the YouTube channel, it may just be in testing for now. It wouldn’t be the first time unofficial or test spots have made it to the net and gone viral all on their own.

The above spots inspired me to take a walk down memory lane back to two years ago when the Canada-based skin care product Reversa produced a viral site called Beware of Side Effects warning women of what might happen after using their products–it’s nowhere near as horrific as it sounds. The following clip is what happens if you want the visiting Policeman to make–of all things–a latté:

If you have the patience for a flash-based site and looped music, you can see them all in context, but the individual videos have been posted to YouTube for the Chef, Plumber, Fireman, Gardener and Policeman. The tagline on the videos leading to the website is “Learn how to attract younger men.” so it was clearly tapping into the Cougar ideal, already pretty prevalent at the time. I don’t know what the Canadian equivalent of the Superbowl ad is, but I’m betting you wouldn’t have seen these airing on that either.

I for one welcome these half-naked pitchmen as they are not only fun to look at, but they really put the “Sex sells” adage to the test. Sex sells, sure, but can sex sell… menstruation products? We shall see! :mrgreen:

* I’m sure most men didn’t necessarily appreciate being marketed to by ads that begin, “Hello, ladies.”

** This cartoon from xkcd, however, shows that while those books may be cute for the coffee table, they’re missing one very important element essential to their title.

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