In Advertising, Shirtless Hunks Are the Half-Naked Hot Chicks


The new Diet Dr. Pepper ad features Ford model Josh Button doing his best shirtless hunk Zoolander and being really really really really good looking.

(Let’s nitpick for a sec: Does he look as good as he does in his Hugo Boss ads? Doesn’t he have a tattoo? Where is it? Sigh.)

In January, Diet Coke revealed a new shirtless hunk commerical starring shirtless hunk Andrew Cooper — an update of their 1994 ad starring shirtless hunk Lucky Vanous.

In April, Kraft started running Zesty Italian ads starring a shirtless hunk who doesn’t really understand how to cook but looks good anyway.

These commercials come after Isaiah Mustafa — 2010’s Old Spice Man Your Man Could Smell Like — took the shirtless hunk pitch to a whole new level, ending up on Ellen and the Today show.

As USA Today reports:

It’s become culturally cool to feature hunky guys in ads, something even Kraft is doing with its Zesty line of salad dressing. After all, women still do most of the shopping — and advertisers are targeting them with these racy TV spots. It’s all about getting folks to first notice the ad from among all the media clutter, and then share the ad via social media.
“The idea is not to associate hot men with the brand but, rather, to get female viewers to watch,” says brand guru David Aaker.

Apparently getting women to watch is as easy as having a bronzed man take his shirt off. Lady-fantasies are so hot right now.

Speaking of fantasy — in that Liquid Plumr “double impact” commercial, the woman is literally fantasizing, and the ad is so overtly sexual that the actors don’t even have to say the words “double penetration.” One guy nuzzles a melon. Subtle!

It’s worth noting that all of these ads have a certain winky sense of humor about them; instead of the plain-old straightforward objectification you usually find in ads with half-naked women, these guys, and the tone of the commercials, are very jokey. Unlike, say, the Carl’s Jr. ads in which women put meat in their mouths, the new shirtless hunk ads are not set up like softcore porn.

(And even one shirtless hunk ad — for Southern Comfort — features a non-tradional hunk: Instead of young and chiseled, the dude is older, with a paunch. Would we ever see a woman in a version of that ad?)

Does the rise of the shirtless hunk as pitchman mean that women are no longer the first choice for objectification in advertising? Ummmm… no. Not yet. There are still plenty of non-essential examples of women used as props, and we’re still seeing ads equating vodka to dicks and taking cues from porn.

At least the Svedka breast-bot has been retired.

[AdFreak, USA Today]

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