The 'Daddy' of the Metrosexual, the Retrosexual, & spawner of the Spornosexual

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Category: advertising (page 10 of 17)

Metrosexy Joey Has a Very Tidy Body

It’s Not a Journey: The Endless Trend of Male Vanity

The next time someone tries to convince me that Pitt is ‘a really great actor, actually’ I’ll just throw my eyes around the room in a casually-but-profoundly dramatic fashion before fixing them on the Fight Club fanboy – and it always is a Fight Club fanboy – and saying: “THERE you ARE!”

I don’t mean to be bitchy, but… Ab Pitt seems to have all the neuroses of a Marilyn Monroe about being thought a dumb blond, but little or none of the talent. It’s not the fact this Big Movie Star has done an ad like this at all, or even the bathetic horror of the script – par to the course in perfume ads – it’s the way he delivers this stinky stuff like it was a Shakespearean soliloquy. We’re laughing at it because we know it will hurt.

Though of course, we’re just jealous. I certainly am. Brad is being so earnest and romantico not because he’s addressing you or me or Angelina Jolie, but his reportedly $7M cheque for the 30 second spot – which I suspect the director has taped to the camera.

At the height of her fame method-actress Marilyn was paid only $100,000 plus 10% of profits for the feature-length classic movie: Some Like It Hot. And I rather doubt she received a fee at all for her own posthumous Chanel No.5 ad.

The real significance of Brad’s ad of course is that Pitt is the first man to advertise the woman’s fragrance Chanel No.5 – which hitherto has been plugged only by leading examples of the ‘fairer sex’. Leading man Brad has stepped into a role previously occupied by leading ladies.

This though is very familiar territory though for Brad. Often described as ‘the most beautiful man in the world’ – i.e. the most objectified – he did after all play both Achilles and Helen in the movie Troy. He has the abs that launched a thousand sit-ups. And this former model’s own movie career was launched by playing a toyboy picked up and ravished by an older Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise (1991), a movie which itself famously reversed the gender roles of the buddy road movie.

Clinching the matter, his hairstyles are discussed almost as much as any actress’ – or even David Beckham’s.

Pitt also played, you may remember, the highly, er, aesthetic leader of a bogus revolt against metrosexuality and consumerism in Fight Club.

Oh, and by the way. Pitt is 48 years old. Which makes him even older than me. But in the Chanel ad, even with his gray beard and (electronically altered?) gravelly voice, Dorian Pitt seems no older than about 27 – the same age he was when we first met him in Thelma & Louise. In fact, he looks like a 27-year-old with a stick-on beard pretending to be 48.

As he puts it himself:

It’s not a journey. Every journey ends. But we go on.”


A survey released just before Brad’s Bad Marilyn moment appears to confirm the continuing, endless trend for men appropriating previously feminine preserves that has been going on since at least the 1990s, and which Pitt, whether he wants to or not, has often exemplified – and encouraged. “The world turns and we turn with it.”

The fashion and beauty spending poll (commissioned by online casino asked 1000 UK men and women how much they spent on clothes and cosmetic products. The findings showed, they said, that ‘men are fast catching up with women’.

  • Women average £2,462 p.a.; men £1,786 (£50 less a month than women).
  • Men and women in London are the most extravagant, and also the closest to one another in expenditure, with women spending c. £2,700 a year; men £2,350, £29 per month less than women.
  • Unsurprisingly, other metropolitan areas such as Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool also showed above-average rates of spending.
  • A man who took part in the survey says: ‘I can remember my dad’s cosmetic shelf consisted of a bar of soap and a bottle of Old Spice but I have a cabinet full of products.’
  • A woman says: ‘I have been shopping with my boyfriend before and on occasions he has been known to spend more than me on hair products. I don’t think men spending more money on clothes and cosmetics is a bad thing. It’s always attractive for someone to take pride on their appearance.’

Again, nothing very new here (and the quotes do sound a tad hackneyed). Just, further evidence that despite the recession the ‘trend’ of metrosexuality has hardened into an epoch – that nevertheless some are still in terrible denial about.

A spokesperson for concluded:

‘It’s becoming increasingly acceptable for men to use cosmetic treatments. Even macho film stars are advertising skin cream, and whilst it would be difficult to imagine a world where guys spent more money on looking good than women do, but who knows where the age of metrosexuality will lead us?’

I imagine when he mentioned ‘macho film stars’ he had in mind Gerard Butler as the bearded face of L’Oreal, not Brad Pitt. But in regard to his last poser, it’s not entirely impossible that for younger people living in metropolitan areas, that world may have already been delivered by metrosexuality. Or very nearly.

These days, working out is often at least as important a way of ‘looking good’ for males as fashionable clothes and cosmetics – but isn’t covered in the survey. In fact, many men invest more heavily in their bodies than in their wardrobe – which tends to be rather skimpy…. And generally it seems men are more into working on their bodies to ‘look good’ than women are.

So if you were to factor in average spends on gym membership, fitness equipment, and particularly sports supplements such as creatine and protein drinks (a booming market), the gap between men and women’s average spend on ‘vanity’ might shrink again. Currently the gap between male and female spending on ‘looking good’ is reportedly only £29/month in London. That’s less than most monthly gym memberships.

£29 also happens to be about the price of a yearly subscription to the best-selling men’s magazine, Men’s Health. The November UK issue of which carries the results of another survey, this one studying MH readers’ favourite subject: themselves.

One of the questions asked readers who had their ideal body. The answers were:

  • Tom Hardy 42%.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo 32%.
  • David Beckham 26%.

Somewhere David Beckham is crying into his low-carb lunch. Interesting to note though that Brad Pitt doesn’t make the list at all, when once he would probably have dominated it – after all, Men’s Health has built a global empire out of modern man’s yen to have abs – and thus be worthy of love. And abs didn’t exist, remember, until Brad Pitt invented them in the 1990s.

Perhaps though Brad is relieved to be out of the running. Or maybe he’s relieved and heartbroken.

Tom Hardy, the Brit Brando with the voluptuous pecs and the pouty lips, seems to have won the hearts of Men’s Health readers. I don’t blame them. And I suspect Tom’ doesn’t either. Probably they were seduced by his body in Warrior and his motto in Inception: “Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling”. Actually, in a better world that would be the motto of Men’s Health magazine.

Interesting that a third would want a body like Ronaldo’s – despite Ronaldo’s official designation in the UK as Most Hated Footballer. It rather confirms my suspicion that us Brits are just jealous of him.

It does seem a little odd though that there are only three men in the whole world whose bodies Men’s Health readers want/aspire to – and nearly half of them want just one body in particular. (There’s no indication of whether they were given a multiple choice or just came up with the names themselves.)

Other findings include:

  • 37% of MH readers spend 4-6 hours in the gym a week – while 30% spend more than six hours there.
  • 46% want to improve their abs. 42% their upper body, and 12% lower body.

Chicken legs, in other words, are de rigeur with MH readers.


Tip: Lee Kynaston

Metrosexual Smoothie

Burger King have come a long way from their ‘manthem’ anti-metro backlash days of the mid Noughties in which they literally sang the praises of fatty food.

Now their ads star the ultimate metrosexual smoothie, David Beckham, who is given the kind of soft-focus, mouth-watering treatment in this ad that used to be reserved for their ‘man-food’ Whoppers. Beckham is the ‘exciting thing’ happening at Burger King.

And he really does have a very appetising, seductive smile. Even his terrible acting is appealing. There is also something charmingly submissive about the way he pleads for his order. No wonder the female server is transfixed.

Like BK’s new menu, which includes freshly-made low-calorie fruit smoothies, chicken strips and ‘snack-wraps’ – or what might once have been called ‘girl-food’ – Beckham is part of a push to rebrand BK, whose sales have been plummeting. Even back in the Noughties, ‘manthem’ was an attempt to make a manly virtue out of BK’s accelerating obsolescence. Clearly even that approach isn’t working any more.

The ad rams home the rebranding of BK by playing up the omnisexual appeal of the metrosexual pin-up. The middle-aged male manager also finds himself captivated by Becks’ beauty midway through saying ‘I am sorry David we make them fresh every time with… fruit.’ It’s unclear whether the manager is actually a ‘fruit’ himself or just another straight man who finds himself strangely drawn by Beckham’s beguiling looks. Probably the latter as he seems genuinely surprised by his own response.

Beckham the equal opps narcissist isn’t phased of course and replies, with an indulgent smile: ‘No problem, John’.

The only part that mystifies me is why anyone, male or female, straight or gay, would fantasise that the be-jeaned and denim-shirted Becks before them was actually dressed as a 1960s undertaker.

Tip: Natty Soltesz


Manly Strap-Ons May Contain Traces of Man Nuts

I’ve only just seen this Australian viral ad for Maxibon ice-cream from last year, and have to say that’s some manwich.

It’s as if they decided to satirise the intensely annoying – and self-defeating – MANly strap-on theme of a lot of very bad recent men’s advertising by taking it to the ultimate Desperate Danni absurdity. They really take the pistachio out of machismo.

Though in America it would probably be taken entirely seriously, and Maxibon would be bankrupted by thousands of lawsuits from distressed men who failed to develop chindominals.

Tip: DAKrolak

Men’s Tits, Women’s Balls & Gavin Henson’s Tarty Body

This jokey Canadian ad is aimed, I believe, at encouraging women to regularly check their breasts for strange lumps. Though it seems to have been side-tracked by, er, checking out strange lumps. Albeit perfectly-formed and waxed ones. 

For my charity money the blond, buffed, fashion-bearded presenter’s best asset isn’t his chest but his man-humps — which he, along with the other tarty men in the ad, kindly shoves in the camera during the credits, while disco dancing.

I suppose women are very grateful for this kind of eager self-sacrifice on the part of men, but I’m not entirely sure what the gentle sex is supposed to do with all those plucked, pushy, insatiable bottoms.

To be honest, I’m not even sure what I’d do.

Is a bevvy of men flaunting tits and ass the best way to educate women about looking after their own bodies? It may come as a shock, but I’m probably not best qualified to answer that question. I would imagine though that this infomercial has been circulated on the interweb rather more than more conventional efforts. But then, maybe it’s being circulated by men like me, who can’t recall the last time they examined a pair of breasts that didn’t come shrink-wrapped from Sainsburys.

One thing’s indubitable, however: this ‘inverted’ ad is more evidence if it were needed of the way that in the 21st century men’s tits have not just rivalled but replaced women’s as the touchstone of ‘sexy’ in mainstream pop culture, even when the audience for them is other men.

Speaking of tits, the apparently endless UK version of reality TV series The Bachelor starring metrosexy Welsh rugger bugger Gavin Henson reached its final climax this week on C5. Though I’ve no idea which lucky lass Gav plumped for in the end as I only made it through the first couple of shows. I have a pathological fear of commitment. And crazy ladies with a famous, rich, orange man in their sights.

Ostensibly a reality TV show in which a series of foxy women try ensnare a celebrity playboy who will then treat them like a princess, The Bachelor is, as everyone knows, quite the opposite — or inverse — of how it presents itself.

No matter how many times they make the eligible bachelor say sincerely, solemnly and unblinkingly into the camera, “I am looking for the special woman I will marry and spend the rest of my life with” we can’t help scoffing, loudly. Even when they say it in an adorable, slow-talking Welsh accent. We know that everyone on the show, Mr Henson especially, have gone on telly to spend their life with you and me.

Likewise, despite the traditional pretense of the ‘pretty ladies’ with their ‘stunning’ outfits paraded like cattle in front of the ‘man of the world’, Henson is unquestionably the show’s eye-candy. Or ‘object’ as the feminists would have it (if they could ever bring themselves to admit that men are objectified too — by both women and especially by themselves).

Gav’s the Prince and the Princess of The Bachelor. And, it has to be said, the worst actress out of a brace of very bad ones.

Pink of lip, white of eye and tooth and with a much prettier complexion than most of the ladies, his body, which only seems to be actually clothed after sunset — and then in tailored shirts and suits that advertise his flaring back, his beefy arms, his swelling chest, his voluptuous, shelf-like arse even more — simply has no competition. All must worship it. And do.

It is an astonishing, captivating ‘object’ (much more so than the one in the Canadian ad), which Henson has clearly devoted thousands and thousands of intimate hours to nurturing, feeding, watering, sculpting, shaving, tanning and moisturising. This, finally, is a love story we can all believe in. What’s more, unlike most male bodies on display these days, his also has a actual function. He’s a professional athlete.

Little wonder then that Gav and his body is the relentless focus of the camera’s gaze. Every time he strips off the camera zooms in and grazes along his taut, polished skin, practically licking the Armani body lotion off him. Just as it did last  year when he appeared on the BBC’s Saturday night ‘family show’ Strictly Come Dancing — a reality vehicle targeting the older viewer which also objectifies men but presents it within the faux traditional ‘sexist’ format of ballroom dancing where men ‘lead’ – the eye. Sportsmen appearing on the show have to go topless every week or go home.

OK, having worked myself into a frenzy talking about Gav’s pneumatic body I’ve just taken a quick peek at the final episode of The Bachelor online, and it seems Gav chose as the winner and his ‘girlfriend’ (whatever that actually means in the context of reality TV) a female model – with a Roman nose remarkably similar to his. Whose first, delicate, coy, halting words on seeing him clad immaculately in designer black tie in Episode One,  were: “GO ON!! SHOW US YOUR MUSCLES THEN!!!”

Before doing what everyone else wants to do to Gav, and what Gav seems to want everyone to do — grabbing his bicep and copping a really good feel.

And this is the show that the Guardian recently moaned was ‘demeaning to women’.

Like ballsy ladies, gender reversal is everywhere these days. Below is a UK viral ad raising awareness for testicular cancer, which uses the same ‘inversion’ as the Canadian breast cancer ad, but to rather different effect. Check out the lumps on her….

Tip: DAKrolak

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