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​So Few Great Ads

Countess Mara National Ad Campaign
Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger campaigns are classics—still visually powerful but hardly innovative. Kenneth Cole still scores points for some clever copy lines. Countess Mara generated buzz with their recent tailgating ad, part of a series of photos (of real guys, by real guys) that’s running in The New York Times Magazine. Joe Boxer for Kmart gets points for featuring four guys in pajama bottoms with exposed beer bellies: realistic, somewhat amusing and certainly memorable.
But let’s face it: most menswear ads these days are strictly aspirational, featuring beautiful but boring-looking guys (often with facial hair, a lame attempt to appear cool) in boring-looking suits. Why so few ads with wit or humor? An image from a recent Isaia print campaign showing a baby peeing on his well-dressed young dad was actually censored by U.S. retailers for showing the infant’s private parts. (The revised version hid the offending parts.) If we can’t get beyond this puritanical nonsense, how will we ever create ads that are compelling, or at the very least, memorable? With all the talent in our industry, we can do better!

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