Henry Finally Throws in the Towel

Much-loved British heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper died this week. Unborn in 1963, the year he nearly defeated Cassius Clay (the Brits love near-winners much more than winners), I remember him for the curious Brut TV commercials he did in the 1970s that helped usher in the world of male product aisles in supermarkets and spornographic advertising we know today. ‘Enery’s ‘omely features and working class man’s man status, along with the ironic play on Brut/brute, guaranteed that there was nothing poofy about men using cologne […]

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 […]

Old Spice New Sporno

Old Spice are running an eye-wateringly spornographic wrestling TV ad for their Red Zone Hydrowash in the US.  It features two buffed, cut, metro-wrestlers with really great hair and skin grappling on the mat.  The ‘bottom’, held in a neck lock, comments, between fighting for air, on the ‘top’s ‘soft skin’ and how it’s ‘supple’.  ‘So?’ replies the top, slightly baffled but carrying on choking. ‘It’s… nice’ the lad eventually manages to sputter, before the ref blows the whistle.  ‘THERE’S NO SHAME IN SOFT SKIN,’ announces a reassuringly butch coach-like, ironic but […]