Only from Europe.

Selling men’s underwear is always a tricky business. Because a lot of men are self-aware (in not completely insecure) they don’t like the fact that most underwear boxes feature hulking muscly men with their bits pointed out at your from the front of the package! My good friend Charlie once remarked “they should put anything else on the packaging”.

Men Don't Want to Look at Naked Men
Men Don’t Want to Look at Naked Men

Well, an agency called &Co from Denmark has taken it all the way to other end of the spectrum and has releases some pretty steamy ads for jbs underwear featuring mostly naked women arousing themselves with the samples. Check em out (NSFW)

•• Photos Here »

Men Don’t Want to Look at Naked Men — That’s their strapline and motivation. It’s pretty evident in their TV ads. Their previous campaign was also quite sexy, although not quite as sexual. These are a bit tacky, if you ask me.

So let’s examine what’s happening here: First, there is a shock value. Even by European standards, these photos are pretty scandalous. Even Maxim and those other mags don’t show this much skin. These guys are going to get letters, news coverage, and other sorts of attention. People will be waiting with bated breath to see their television ads and the brand awareness will go through the roof! Blokes will buy these shorts in record numbers, and if you question them, they won’t have a good reason. “Just for fun”, they’ll say. It’s the Axe effect. (The Lynx effect for our European friends).

But the second thing to consider, and one that perhaps they’ve overlooked, is that most men’s underwear is purchased by women! Women are the main shoppers in every part of the world — they are the outfitters of all members of their family, including their man. While the accepted homoerotic photography may make some fellas uneasy, it’s safe to say that women don’t mind. At the risk of making a gross generalisation, I’d say that women enjoy those images because they envision their man wearing those shorts. These sexy photos go completely against that! Women will be put off by the brand for the sole reason that it gets a reaction from the man. You couldn’t quite call it jealousy, but it has the same biological roots where woman want to protect themselves from competition. Since these ads (and perhaps the packaging to follow) are not aimed at women, the majority of shoppers will overlook this product.

I really should do some more research. Has this happened before on the men’s side? I remember when Victoria’s Secret came out of no where riding the tidal wave of scandal brought on from all those nipples. Nowadays, master retouchers take care of that. But in that case most of the shoppers are women, so my previous paragraph clearly doesn’t reciprocate.

A friend and classmate from grad school once told me, quite matter-of-fact-ly in his classic Caribbean, easy-going straight-talk, “titties always win”.

“Even with women?” I barked back in retort.

“Especially with women.” was his reply. I have so much to learn.

So this begs the question, what should be on the men’s underwear packaging if not naked men, nor naked women?