Dreamy Scaffies

Premier Inn appear to have launched a builder-themed gay night. Or a Top Gun-themed builder night. Either way, I’m checking in. This hilarious, very smart new TV ad ‘Scaffolders’ for the budget UK hotel chain is currently airing nationally – not just in Manchester’s gay village. It masterfully deploys the famous Kenny Loggins ‘Highway To the Danger Zone’ MOR track from the classic 1986 Tom Cruise fighter ace movie, along with some of the iconic/camp styles, shots and heavy filters to synthesise an entirely convincing Top Gun-ness. […]

Man Down – Defining Deflated & Liberated Masculinity

by Mark Simpson ‘What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god!… And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?’ – Hamlet There has been a lot of soul-searching about what it means to ‘be a man’ nowadays. Because no one really knows the answer. Defining ‘man’ and ‘masculine’ in a world in which phallic certainties […]

‘A Fresh Clean Smell That Could ONLY Be Masculine!’

Mark Simpson has a sniff around a classic men’s deodorant ad that reveals how far we’ve come – and also how some things never change Back in the 1960s the mass-market ‘grooming’ of men by advertisers wanting to sell them vanity products was only just beginning its warm-up. This rare and pristine copy of a 1968 UK cinema ad for men’s deodorant with the reassuringly martial name ‘Target’ (a brand that seems to have gone missing in the intervening half century) recently posted on the BFI website is […]

Habitual Voyeur

Is it just me? ‘We all look but only some of us see’ is the slightly pretentious tagline for this new ‘Home Alone’ TV ad for the UK household furnishing store Habitat, part of their #HabitatVoyeur campaign. Perhaps I’ve been doing too much ‘voyeuring’ online, but what I see when I look at the beginning of this ad, before the camera pulls back, is an aroused young man enjoying a hard furnishing – the head thrown back, the open mouth, the ecstatic bouncing, the Habitat pillows in […]

Lucozade Ad Warns How Beards Make Everyone Look The Same

Even if they are wearing numbered, different-coloured shirts. Well, can you come up with a better explanation what the rugger-buggery is going on in this slightly creepy latex-laden ad for Lucozade Sport ‘Strictly for the Home Nations Only’? Pegged to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Twickenham and starring big buff bearded England captain Chris Robshaw and chums, I’ve watched it several times and it still makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t follow rugby. Or maybe it’s because I’m not an advertising […]

Pot Noodle’s Billy Elliot Flavoured Ad

  Pot Noodle is an instant ramen-based snack popular with UK kids, students and others with limited cooking facilities or skills – or, arguably, taste – that has a long tradition of jokey, slightly silly ads. The latest one to air on UK TV (‘You can make it’) is probably their funniest – and certainly their sharpest. It begins with a teenage working class northern lad lying on his unmade bed in his untidy room (complete with used tissues on the floor next to the bed) […]

Oeufs Masculin à La Francaise

Apparently, French briefs will turn your ‘oeufs’ into a tasty and nicely-presented h’omelette. Should you be attacked by a smiling, impeccably retro-styled woman with a hammer. This viral ad for men’s underwear by Le Slip Francais is certainly attention – or rather, nut – grabbing. Particularly in when you compare it to the sexed-up advertising of, say, Armani and CK, appealing as they do to male sensuality and desirability, not to mention open-legged, under-dressed male vulnerability. But I’m not sure this message will sell many briefs […]