'Manly' Brands Have No Idea How to Talk to Men


Bros? Have you noticed more and more ads these days speaking your bro-language?

That's because the early aughts Banana Republic-wearing manscaped Metrosexual is dead. It's time, yet again, to MAN UP, to let your body hair grow, to reaffirm your Bromitment.

(Like rape culture enabler Axe, Brut is a Unilever product.)

Brut's latest online ads (one of which is above) call on you dudes to release your dormant inner man, and once out, splash some stinky man juice on him (which is actually now only 33% strength, because that's all the juice you younger pantywaists can handle).

It's a continuation of a campaign (by Sigma Group), launched with the manliest 15 seconds ever shot, commercially.

But, when I look at Brut's ads of the last 20 years, I get confused about my man-self.

'Manly' Brands Have No Idea How to Talk to Men

The above print ads are from 2000 (by Lowe/Lintas). Note the all-caps tagline (click image): INSIDE EVERY MAN IS A GUY. (The kickoff ad was the middle one. That third ad is something special, eh?)

So: is there one more step that I'm missing, today, when I "let out" my man? Is there still a guy inside him, and is this "guy" tougher than my just released inner man?

'Manly' Brands Have No Idea How to Talk to Men

Wait. Hold your hormones.

The above Brut magazine ad is from 1993. With the help of the stinky man juice, did this "boxer" let his inner man—who was "back"—out? Did he used to be a "guy"? Or was there a guy still inside him, and did the "man" beat the shit out of him on his way back out?

'Manly' Brands Have No Idea How to Talk to Men

Lastly, let's go all the way back to the 1960s, when Brut, then owned by Fabergé (as in, EGGS, how unmanly), first came to market. If I have any doubts about myself? You're the confused dickheads here. I mean look at those illustrations, those guys/men are oozing metrosexuality.

Thing is, Brut had it figured out all along, they just didn't know it.

'Manly' Brands Have No Idea How to Talk to Men

DISCLOSURE: I do not wear a "fragrance" because I like my own musk, and have found, through experience, that everybody else does, too.

Next up: Viagra.

These are two of the spots from Viagra's new campaign: "THIS IS THE AGE OF VIAGRA." The latest three 2014 spots aren't on YouTube, but you can watch them here on Viagra's website.


Cialis ads of course always feature a man and woman because of their stupid bathtub sign-off. Viagra's past ads have featured couples, but not this go-round because...

THIS IS THE AGE OF KNOWING WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF...THIS IS THE AGE OF KNOWING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE...THIS IS THE AGE OF KNOWING HOW TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN—all copy lines from the ads, both V/Oed and supered in ALL CAPS because, men? THIS IS THE AGE OF BEING BANGED OVER THE HEAD WITH BULLSHIT COPYWRITING.

Despite their rugged good looks, these men/guys appear to be loners, ex-felons (rapists?) even.
Maybe THIS IS THE AGE OF SILENT MASTURBATION.

Lastly, here's the latest Dockers ad, #STOPDADPANTS:

The spot stars NFL coach and former quarterback Jim Harbaugh's hot, horrible-acting wife. Dockers are of course as dad-pantsy as a man can get, so who the fuck do they think they're kidding?


This campaign follows up their much lambasted WEAR THE PANTS effort.

'Manly' Brands Have No Idea How to Talk to Men

"BEHOLD THE SECOND DAWN OF MAN." Yes, somebody at ad agency DraftFCB San Francisco actually wrote that line, and the marketing manager at Dockers approved it. Also part of this inartful targeting of the ALPHA MALE was a direct mail campaign where Dockers sent outALPHA KHAKIS in whiskey-like packages directly to consumers. Alpha. Khakis.


Here's the TV spot from the campaign, which laughable equates Dockers-wearing "men" to "supermen". Dockers is so proud of the commercial, it's nowhere to be found on their YouTube page.

See? It's not just women that ad agencies have no idea how to talk to. Although when targeting men, agencies have at least reached a consensus that ONLY ALL CAPS WILL DO.

This piece originally appeared on Copyranter. Republished with permission. Mark Copyranter was an NYC advertising copywriter for 20 years. Now, he's The Best Fucking Ad Critic In The World™. Follow him on Twitter: @copyranter.