The 90s called. They want their boobs back. And writer Matt Hambly wants rid of them too. (Well, in advertising anyway.) Here, he tells Grazia why he's fed up of Boobvertising. Listen up kids...
Last week, I was dragged to a place in Newcastle called Shark Bar. Based on a formula that Hooters invented and perfected, we were served food and drinks by a pretty girl in a low cut top. These so called ‘Breastaurants’ are currently experiencing a bit of a boom in the US. And like its American cousins, Shark Bar was, er, heaving.
But, I'd ask you to note the use of the word 'dragged'. No, I'm not a member of the fun police. But I do think places like this are a bit, well, sad, really. Essentially you have a restaurant full of men eating average food, who are there instead of Nandos for one reason: To look at pretty girls in low cut tops.
Yes, we can’t deny it – men love breasts. But, are you ready for this? Because it’s not something you’ll hear a man say too often: Using boobs to sell food is not cool. Actually, using boobs to sell anything is not cool. There are too many tits in advertising; far too many. And it’s got to stop.
Forget Don Draper and all that Mad Men bullshit. Wanna know what the single greatest innovation in advertising was? Figuring out that breasts equal sales. I bet the chaps down on Madison Avenue had a rum old time at the bar, the night they worked that one out. Perhaps they even went to Hooters.
The problem is, that was a long time ago and men have moved on. Society has moved on. Everyone knows that men are suckers for anything that offers the chance to become more attractive to the opposite sex, but exploiting this in advertising is a false economy.
First off, we’re not stupid. Well, not any more. Four years. Four, long years I wore Lynx Africa. And how often do you think I was chased by packs of ravenous women? Exactly. I worked it out eventually though, and I haven’t forgotten: Just because an advert is full of breasts, it doesn’t mean your life will be too. Any such attempt to convince me otherwise now smacks of some dead behind the eyes marketing manager clinging on to his job for dear life. Not to mention the fact that it insults my intelligence and degrades any woman who happens to see it.
We’re not morons, Ad’ land. All men have been patronised, pitied, rejected and ridiculed by enough beautiful women in their time to know what aerosols, aftershaves and other consumer goods can, and can’t do for their sex appeal.
You want to sell us products? Demonstrate that you understand our attitudes towards women have changed, and help us to appear more intelligent, considered, sophisticated even. With any luck it’ll rub off in the adverts.
by Matt Hambly