Twinsome Devils and the Narcissus Complex

Mark Simpson paints a portrait of a clonosexual world of Dorians (Arena Hommes Plus, Winter 2008, collected in Metrosexy) Most ads these days aren’t worth a first glance. But earlier this year D&G Time launched a heavily-rotated global campaign directed by Hype Williams that was definitely worth a second. If you looked hard enough, you could see right into the mirrored heart of the 21st Century – a ‘new’ century that is now nearly a decade old. Not since the Levis ‘male striptease’ ads of the […]

How Eighties Advertising Made Everyone Gay

by Mark Simpson (GT Magazine, November 2008) Why, I wonder, are gays – or at least the busybody, button-holing, milk-monitor types – so keen on ads being nice to them and telling the world it’s OK to be homo? Especially when this strategy frequently leaves them with mayo on their faces? Stonewall’s apoplexy over the pulling of the Heinz ‘gay kiss’ ad earlier this year is a messy case-in-point. Excuse me, but it wasn’t a gay kiss, it was a joke: Heinz’s sandwich spread is […]

Becks Does Freddie (Doing Becks)

How much bigger can the cotton-clad packages in men’s underwear ads get, I wonder, before they are literally shoved down our throats? And if they are, will any of us be so impolite as to gag? Even though good quality cotton is so absorbent? Above is Beck’s latest sporno for Emporio Armani underwear, due to air in early 2008. Below is fellow-footballer Freddie Ljunberg’s 2006 Calvin Klein campaign. Do these chaps live together? I mean, they seem to share the same type of fancy underwear, […]

Skinstorm in a Teacup

This Eurostar ad used to ‘lure’, as the Daily Mail headline put it, Belgians to London has kicked up more of a stink in the UK than a blocked urinal in a boozer at chucking out time. Apparently some wrinkly-nosed types over here think it’s ‘offensive’. I happen not to find pissing skinheads as ‘alluring’ as the Daily Mail seems to: it’s not really my cup of peculiar – but I rather like this ad. Of course it’s meant to be slightly provocative, but it’s […]

Ultimate Underwear: C-IN2’s Prison Parade

  Here’s the latest ‘arresting’ ad from hip men’s designer underwear label, C-IN2.  Shot by Steven Klein, it’s currently airing on billboards on the streets of Melbourne where kids and nuns and navvies can see it. And why not? There’s really nothing I can say about this or what it says about contemporary masculinity and metrosexuality that isn’t completely explicit in the ‘captivating’ image itself. OK, so there’s one thing I have to point out: It seems the model prisoner closest to the camera hasn’t mastered the gay porn star technique […]

C’est so Sporno

This scrum-my ad is part of a ‘C’est so Paris’ poster campaign due to be unleashed on London shortly to attract Londoners to Paris. Booking my Eurostar tickets now…. Apparently, this ad is supposed to show that Paris is ‘the capital of humour’. It’s a funny ad – but it’s really another example of how sporno is going seriously mainstream. It will definitely get noticed. It may even cause traffic accidents. I’m sure there will be underwear mishaps. I only have one objection: the fake […]