The Ultimate Male Consumer

Male grooming seems to be growing a pair. I recently wrote about a rather ballsy TV ad for Below the Belt antiperspirant gel – for testicles. Here’s another, viral ad for the same brand, the butch Scottish voiceover perhaps playing naughtily on Gerard Butler’s hairy grooming forays. It’s exciting to see that at last, male grooming is getting up close and personal. And also that now possibly the most important but hitherto most overlooked male consumer of all is stepping out of the shadows and finally being […]

Balls on the Box: Male Grooming’s Groping For New Markets

by Mark Simpson All these nicely-presented years on from the birth of the metrosexual – he turned 22 this month – and my prediction that he represented the future of masculinity, out and proud male vanity shows no sign of getting bored with itself, or running out of cash to splash. ‘Male grooming’ is still booming: it’s a fine-smelling, thoroughly-moisturised market estimated to top £14.8bn globally this year. But now that almost every post-pubescent male shares his bathroom with a buff puff there is a danger […]

‘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 […]

I’d F*ck Me: Mirror Man-Love

 WARNING: hipsters and gay bears may want to watch this ad backwards. I’m rather taken with this refreshingly direct ad currently airing on MTV for a Philips Norelco product that promises to ‘shave, style and groom’. And also you’d be forgiven for thinking, suck your cock. A young man approaches the mirror, face and chest hidden by unruly red hair. He reaches for his versatile buzzing buddy. After tackling his face fuzz, he despatches his chest rug, then his abs fur. As he ‘manscapes’ himself […]

Winsome, Losesome, Mansome

It’s always tricky as a writer talking to a researcher for a TV or film documentary. On the one hand you want your ideas to be taken seriously and the historical record to be as accurate as possible. And of course we all like attention. Especially from a visual medium we probably don’t belong in. On the other hand, you don’t want to give everything away for nowt. But you can hardly blame researchers for trying. For every ‘expert’ who appears on-screen in a doc, […]

Scrape Me With a Strigil! The Grooming Guru interviews Mark Simpson

The Grooming Guru, alias Lee Kynaston, interviews Simpson about how Top Gun made a generation of young men ‘gay’ and why the Romans knew a thing or two about exfoliation. A snippet: GG: Many commentators complain that men are ‘becoming more like women’ with their grooming/beauty regimes. What would you say to this? MS: I think it’s more a case of men no longer tying one hand behind their backs when it comes to the increasingly important business – both in private and public life […]