June 30, 2006

Advertising needs a real male role model

Most of today’s papers carry Campaign’s story about the rise of male wimpdom in British advertising. To summarise, men in advertising are emasculated wimps and there’s far too much oestrogen in the admosphere. The Times’ article is as good as any other, and all the arguments are in there, which I see no point in repeating.
There is something I’d like to add to the debate, the principal issue being: how can advertisers create masculine role models that the average male consumer can aspire to?
Marlboro man may be macho, but he’s outdated (and dead), as would be any imagery involving men chomping on something meaty or chocolatey. Men can’t swig beer or drive manfully (it’s against the ad rules), and they certainly can’t show their knobs, even in rear profile despite full front and back nudity being de rigeur with the female form.
So what’s the answer? I rule out myself as role model for the simple reason that I am an impossible standard for men to aspire to. Women adore my hairy back, ability to fling poo and cross a room without touching the floor, as well as my mostly vegetarian diet (sometimes I eat cats). I can even pick my nose with my toes. And yet for some reason, the average urk ad watcher will laugh whenever chimps appear in ads.
Well, there is a human equivalent, and it’s the inspiring fellow in the title pic. My secretary ensures that my board meetings do not clash when he’s on the telly. LazyTown is the best programme on the box and advertisers should take note of the manly Sportacus, who has nothing but good points:

  • Sportacus is not afraid to wear a sock on his head.
  • Sportacus is not obsessed with cleanliness (he even wears the same clothes he’s had on all day when he goes to bed).
  • Sportacus can make rubbish disappear (watch him take one bite out of an apple and fling it over his shoulder into hyperspace).
  • Sportacus eats lots of fruit and is as acrobatic as a monkey.
  • Sportacus is adored by all the females in town.
OK, the last one is a bit dodgy because the main female character is pubescent, so maybe there ought to be a grown-up version where Sportacus paints the town red, knock’s up the mayor’s wife, and vomits over Robbie Rotten. Now that really would be worth seeing.

Footnote: Dave informs me that LazyTown is made in Iceland. This may go some way towards explaining yesterday’s survey

Tags: Advertising industry, Human behaviour, Surveys

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