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November 2011

Sexy Magazine Ads with a Gay Vibe

Over the past 35 years I've amassed quite a collection of magazine ads, fashion spreads and magazine covers that got my attention for either their humor, striking graphics, aesthetics - or display of bare flesh.  Below are five I chose from my advertising archive that fall under the "body beautiful" category. 


  • Jell-O.  I came across this ad for Jell-O in a women's service magazine back in 2000 - and I never saw it again.  It's a very different creative approach from Bill Cosby surrounded by adorable kids, wouldn't you say?  The copy reads: "Punch up the flavor.  Use juice instead of cold water. POW!"  I wonder if it produced a sales spike neighborhoods such as Chelsea, West Hollywood or the Castro?




  • Esprit.  Esprit is a worldwide clothing company that's been doing business since 1968 (with six locations in Manhattan as of 2011).  This ad ran in the mid-1980s.  Looking at their slim physiques reminds me that there once was a time before gym culture.




  • Nivea for Men.  NFM is the #1 brand in men's skincare in the world and is owned by Beiersdorf, the German personal care giant.  NFM entered the U.S. market at the turn of the 21st century in hopes of cracking the men's grooming market.  They're still here so apparently they're meeting with some success. 




  • OK, who really cares what I have to say about these ads - right?  All I'll mention about this one is that it's from 1988.




  • Finally, here's an ad from American Express featuring big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton.  It ran in 2005 and combines the joys of fatherhood with surfer dude masculinity.  





Comical Gym Physiques




Every gym has a few of them hulking about.  I'm talking about those muscle hunks who concentrate on one part of their physique at the expense of other muscles.  Ironically, it's often these ignored parts of the body that draw notice because they are in comically sharp contrast to the overworked parts.  Although there are plenty of guys whose sculpted bodies are beautifully proportioned, there are these others who seem curiously oblivious that their bulging muscles actually accentuate the parts they ignore.  For example:


  • Bic pecs/tiny mosquito-bite nipples.  A variation is nipples that point downward because the pec muscles have been worked out to such a degree that they've been twisted unnaturally.
  • Bulging upper body/toothpick legs
  • Musclebound body/tiny head - Also known as the Michelin Man, it aches to look at him - he sports hulking shoulders and is unable to hang his arms by his side. 


(To add a carnival sideshow look to any of the above, just add excessive tattoos.)  


It's somewhat laughable that all of the effort fueled by their vanity is neutralized by a workout routine that ends up drawing attention to their neglected body parts.  So, although I may be looking your way from across the workout floor, it's not necessarily because I'm admiring what I see ... I may just be amused.