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Friday, September 14, 2007

Tom Ford Strikes Again. One Average Couple Reacts

Tom Ford is not nudity-shy (remember the gorgeous specimen in the M7 ad, or the Opium ad with Dahl or basically any shoot in which Ford participated in any way) and he loves to shock. For his upcoming scent, Tom Ford for Men, he issued this tasteful little number (and there are others, just as ...tasteful):

My first reaction? I don't know what to say. I am repulsed by the tacky blow-up-doll-ness of it. I hate to see a woman portrayed in such a degrading manner. And yet I am morbidly fascinated. It's so incredibly crude and cheap and vulgar that I can't help but feel almost an admiration for Ford who is not afraid to issue an ad like that. I almost want to say, you go, Tom! And I hate myself for that. Because, this is frankly much worse than Etat Libre d'Orange's little juvenile drawings of penises, and I've spent too much time criticizing those to now dare to approve of this pornography. But this is the effect Ford has always had on me, he fascinates me to the point of taking away my ability to judge right from wrong.

Trying to figure out what appeal, if any, an ad like that would have for an average straight male, I showed it to Mr. Colombina. This is his reaction:
In a world where perfume ads are dominated by the "thinking" ... Well who cares if it sells products just so long as it is 'funky' and weird and 'creative' ... it is almost refreshing to see just a good old fashioned "sex sells" ad.

However ...

Perhaps I'm alone on this one but, why can't we see the woman's face? Is this model just a "cleavage model" (like a 'hand model')? I mean her face can't be THAT bad, can it?

Wonderful cleavage Marge ...shame you got a face like Ernest Borgnine!

As cleavage goes ... it's nice cleavage but faceless cleavage doesn't work for me.

Now either the marketing people think:

A) If her face is too nice nobody will notice the cleavage.
HELLO! Have you never SEEN a man talking to a woman (who has a pretty face) wearing a low cut blouse?


B) If her face is too ugly or plain it will take away from the picture.
HELLO AGAIN! The opposite is true. An average face becomes a supermodel by osmosis when it sits atop a pair like those.

Oddly, I never wondered until just this moment ... if they are 'real'?

But as I always say ...they may not be real ... but they are real nice.
Asked if he would want to wear a scent advertised like that, Mr Colombina said it has nothing to do with an ad, he would have to smell it, and that the picture of the big bosoms, is neither a put off nor an endorsement.

Conclusion: one average straight woman - morbidly fascinated, one average straight man - demands a face to go with the boobs.

Image source, WWD.



Blogger tmp00 said...

Average Gay man says:

This looks like an out-take from "Eyes of Laura Mars"

Yo, Tommy, you want to be really provocative? It's 2007, pan south.

10:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was pretty horrified by this one - and it has the opposite effect on me than what I assume they are intending, the intended shock value aside. In most perfume ads that use the sex/attraction method, the scenario is meant to be so enticing that you imagine yourself in the scene, as in my all-time favorite, the Tabu ad with the passionate violinist sweeping the pianist off her feet as her fingers trail over the keys in abandon. I have fantasized over that one for many years and I don't even like Tabu.

This Ford monstrosity accomplishes the opposite - instead of inspiring a reverie of wishing you had that perfume because you might attract that dreamy man/woman with it, it is more of a nightmare scene - and she just had very rude awakening and is aghast at being exposed. We can't see her whole face, but what we CAN see is that she is not having a very good time at all and she does not want to be there. That is the really offensive part to me. (Plus, they are obviously fake.)

I have seen this a number of times now so it's not quite so shocking, but the offensive factor never diminishes. They really should know better. I imagine that Tom Ford lives in a bubble world where all of his minions assure him that he is a genius pretty much all the time. He should have walked down the street and asked some people who don't work for him what they thought of it.

11:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those breasts read plastic to me so I'm offended on aesthetic principals. Really. Don't. Like. Boob jobs. Or blown up lips, or botoxed faces.
Will this sell to men? Yeah, I've met plenty who think fake tits are teh hawt. Whatever. Does it offend me? Yeah, aesthetically. And I do wish men would quit thinking women were supposed to look like greased up androids.
The nakedness of it does not offend me. I shoot a LOT of erotic imagery & if it really was beautiful, evocative & sexy, if it dripped eroticism, in your face you can smell it hotness yeah, it'd have my attention. But it doesn't. To me it looks crass, kind of common & rather ugly.
But, I think it's a smart sell. It'd appeal to the same men who consume porn. That's a huge demographic & plenty of them spend lots of money on canned sex. I think it strokes the same Spend button on their wallets.

Ironically, I was in Bergdorf's today & they had the whole Tom Ford line. I'd written them off after hating the amber but I might actually want to sniff more of a couple of the others.

12:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Gaia said...

My initial thought was that someone in marketing has dropped a huge ball. Don't they know women are still the ones who buy fragrance for their men?

My second thought was remembering that TF perfumes are somehow owned by Lauder. The old lady is probably having a fit in her grave.

Then I asked The Blond to give an opinion. He got this look on his face and started laughing, half embarrssed, half Beavis & Butthead.

None of the above is a reaction that results in a purchased bottle, though I would still sniff, just because.

(Another thought: Andy would have never gone that route)

1:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Horrors. I'm with divalano. But Tom Ford is certainly getting a LOT of press with it... I wonder if what they say is true, that any publicity is good publicity?

Hate it, and yet am completely riveted by it, too. It's mesmerizingly awful.

It does NOT make me want to sniff it.

2:57 AM EDT  
Blogger leopoldo said...

I wondered if the blow up dollness was part of the 'playfully ironic' roleplay - kind of a 'I'm turned on by this, but can pretend I enjoy it in a post-feminist way...' - so I'm glad to hear that a straight man wants the face rather than the blowjob lips - and overly capacious mouth, big boy....

3:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, I'm not such a fan of TF in perfumerie, his fashion being another thing because I have always loved his elegance and subdued sex appeal. note that I used the word *subdued*, because this is something this ad isn't. it's vulgar and fake and totally unattractive to me (being a straight female, I nonetheless very much enjoy looking at a good pair of natural breasts ;)). the photo of TF with Keira and Scarlett is beautiful, sensual, deep and hot. maybe he should ask Annie Leibowitz to do his perfume ads, too.
also, I think that the whole Tom Ford perfume line lacks coherence. the Private Blend perfumes (the bottles, the smells, the ads) want to be elegantly reserved, are done with a lot of taste and probably don't appeal to everyone. now this is cheap, in-you-face (or boobs ;)) and obviously aspires to appeal to sex-obsessed masses. come on, Tom - please decide what is it that you want already.

4:16 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I'm with Divalano and Lee here. Not shocked, particularly. Porn does sell, and it can be a turn-on -- even for a few seconds, even though we may deny it to ourselves and others, and not like ourselves particularly for it. Women can have fleeting fantasies of utter objectification and they're just that: no need to act upon them, but confronted with this type of image,they can be troubling.
The image per se isn't especially original. Photographers and artists have been exploring that avenue for years. It's faux Helmut Newton, really. But, yes, it's shrewd -- TF is nothing if not a canny manipulator of the zeitgeist. Personnally I think it's a bit passé, but when you're aiming at the general public, you don't do avant-garde, do you?
And, monsieur et madame Colombina, I beg to differ: you're not average people (though you're the only judges of the averageness of your straightness!).

4:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to see the name Helmut Newton appear in regards or comparison to this photo. I beg your pardon but in no way can this photo be compared to his work... not in the least. Unfortunately, this ad is so telling of the sort of place we are going as a nation. How did we get back to objectifying women and women being not only okay with it but playing it up and using their overtly sexual selves to soley create thier identities? It's getting so trashy and women are continuing to work on the outside way more than the inside. Riding pantyless, wearing next to nothing, cleavage out to here, some real boobs but mostly fake. Getting them bigger and bigger and just being fine with being looked at for purely sexual reasons. The oiled up body of this particular woman, the blown up, ready to suck your di*k lips and the over inflated, fake tits aren't extremely offensive to me because unfortunately these images are becoming more and more common these days but what is offensive is the look on her face. She looks surprised and she shouldn't be, she put herself there. I have a girl to raise and I must admit I am scared to death about it. Will she work on the inside as well as the outside? Will I raise a girl who thinks she is pretty enough? Skinny enough? Or will she feel the pressure to go under the knife so she can attain the things she thinks she needs in order to be hot enough, for the opposite sex, her peers and ultimately herself? Will she even know what real boobs look like? The moment women decide it's not okay is when it will stop. I can't say I see that in our future but I hope so.

5:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You put a spin on it with this comparison that is too sinister for me. Is there a medical term for serial-killer-phobia? Because, after over-reading P. Cornwall, I suffer from it.

There actually is an ad in this series that goes, um, south. :-)

6:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That is a very good point you are making: I can't and don't want to imagine myself in that scene. And you know what, it comes out that "an average straight male" isn't that keen to be there either. And surely he is the intended target client for this.

6:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You are a photographer? How wonderful! If I could turn back time, I'd love to be one too. One of those dream jobs I have in my head :-)

6:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love the way you described The Blond's reaction :-) And yeah, poor Estee...

You know what my very, very first thought was when I saw this, apart from, "this must be a joke"...I wondered what brand and color lipstick that is because I love it :-)

6:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What you said:

"Hate it, and yet am completely riveted by it, too. It's mesmerizingly awful."

...sums up my feelings about it perfectly too.

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I was glad to hear that too :-)

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So I guess we can conclude that tasteful is reserved for the exclusive, while the wider available scents can be advertised in this kind of manner.
Although I did like the ads for Black Orchid, I think those were gorgeous.

6:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It certainly must be a turn-on, if only for a couple of misjudged moments, otherwise I wouldn't have had trouble just completely hating the ad.
I also think that it seems passé ...but maybe it is SO passé that it actually becomes very "now"...hmm

6:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You are, of course, absolutely right!

6:55 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Uh, I thought Tom was gay? I want Tom to drop the straight man act, embrace his sexuality, and do a photo spread with that bottle jammed ... well, it would be a different sort of photo than the cleavage ad. But it would be different and provocative! He'd be the first in mainstream perfumery!

And those big, round rubber boob implants freak me out. I totally get the "nice rack" part of a straight man's brain (right next to "beer" and "look, a ball!") but those things are yech.

7:52 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Brief comment from DH (had to drag this out of Mr. Lily).
Me: what do you thing of this?
Mr. L: Not much.
Me: Elaborate!
Mr. L; Doesn't do anything for me.
Mr. L: Kinda interesting as a photo, I guess--most interesting thing is her open mouth. . .um, those don't look real.

Personally, I'm with everyone who said, one way or other, "par for the course"--just exaggerated a bit.

8:13 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything in this photo is so plasticky that I don't even find it offensive, just boring. Nor I think it conveys the right buy-me message. If there's any irony in it, it fails to reach the target. Just a human blow up doll. P.S. No head = no brain ? Mr Colombina obsiously likes his women smart ;-)))

8:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

The Non-blond is right! Women are the ones that buy most of the fragrances out there. I can't tell you how many times I wanted help and had to wait for a woman and her mother while they were being helped by the SA. I have to admit that I have learned a lot while waiting in line.

So, I would guess that the list of sales goes first to women (for their boyfriends and husbands and brothers and fathers...and nest on the list would have to be gay men. Ooops, Tom doesn't know his purchasers very well does he.

Marina you are right. This looks like a blow-up doll! Of course holding it between her breasts has to be painful (well, if they were real).

8:59 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina, Yes, photog w a rent job 3 days a wk. I got tired of riding the free lance money roller coaster & I'm too old to live on Ramen when the check is late. I still have my art career, shoot what I love, & get the work out there. And you, you are a working perfumista, that's pretty special, too!
And btw, I didn't get to do this until my mid30s. It's never too late!

9:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Please don't give him ideas! :-D

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So the men are not even excited by the photo. Then what's the point..?

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it misses the target too, strangely enough. I think the target's eagerness to fall for this kind of thing was overestimated.

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Don't know about painful, but it probably feels cold :-D

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That sounds great and you give me hope! :-)

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

This ad did not surprise me, but must admit that the crotch shot did. It is hard to see how they'll up the ante after that.

10:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Mr. Ducks' (tee hee) reaction was typical of him... he took one look, said, "Oh, GOD," and then folded over giggling. When I said, "what are you laughing at?" he replied, "THAT!" Afraid he's no help.

I should mention that he's makeup-and-nail-polish phobic, and I don't think the emergency flotation devices did much for him either.


10:57 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

I made a few calls ... pulled a few strings ... scratched a few backs ... all to find out the ad agency and from them ... who the model was ... so we can all see her face.

I think you'll be surprised:

11:03 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

I like that Mr C is interested in a face ie a person. I hope most men are like that...... The ad is BORING to me! Plasticky and un sexy and totally superficial and not even funny. But as ever TF has us talking and for him that's no bad thing. I prefer his fashion to his perfumes.

11:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can't even imagine what might be next. Refuse to imagine it, rather :-)

12:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Poor Mr Ducks! :-) But, again, a straight man- not impressed, not excited. The ad misses it's target.

12:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

When the, um, model becomes the President, what strings would I have to pull and what backs would I have to scratch to get you out of jail for publishing That photo? :-)

12:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep, we are talking, and no publicity is bad, they say...

12:29 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK--Back from religious worship, I felt it was my duty to check out the crotch shot, and like R, I did find that more shocking. But when I showed it to Mr. L, he just made an annoyed noise, and said, "It's stooopid!" I guess, if nothing else, this is proving the health of (at least some) straight males. Frankly, I don't think it's gonna appeal to most of them. Tom's just being naughty--or trying to!

2:19 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Could've been worse. Could've been Monica Lewinsky or Janet Reno.

PS: welcome to a country with freedom of speech - in theory at least any way

4:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Gotta give the men the props then. Good for them! :-)

8:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Mr C,
Yikes! :-)

8:54 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you don't have to be a Photoshop expert to see those boobs aren't untouched. Ahem. As it were. She's all shiny and plastic, and has that vapid open mouth that we are supposed to thing is. . .waiting? Moaning? There are lots of reasons to hate it.

The oldest marketing adage in the world is "name the product. Name the product." I showed the ad to my husband for 10 seconds, then asked him what it was selling. He had no idea. But he noticed the model was slightly oily and shiny. Seems like a normal male reaction to me.

Tom Ford may have shot himself in the. . .foot.

I hate the cut-off face. It speaks of violence and faceless sex and degradation. And those claws over the nipples aren't appealing for me. OK, I'm a woman, but I can appreciate good sex-sells ads, and this isn't one of them. What's next? A close up of a model's Brazilian wax job with a perfume bottle balanced in the shade?

I'm repulsed enough to do what I did--poured the Tom Fords I own down the drain. I won't help him sell by wearing the one I owned, and I won't buy another. Money talks. And I just walked.

9:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The scary thing is...there IS an ad like that, in this series, with the Brazilian and all. I decided against posting *that* one. :-)

9:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Average couple?

Do the people here think that bottle between the jigglies is average sized.. ?

The ad does have a tacky 70s era quality to it ..

12:23 AM EDT  
Blogger heather said...

I'm all for a good pornographic image. This isn't one, though it attempts I think to be an ironic attempt at artistic bukakke. I think it fails at nearly everything it tries to do except, notably, to get people talking about it.

1:21 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hideous sexploitation.
That does not look like a tongue to me.

3:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

True, definitely 70s!

6:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And as, most probably, making people talk was actually the main goal, I guess the ad is a success :-)

6:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, it's...I don't know. Mind sort of boggles.

6:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally got the chance to do the Het Boyfriend Test on this.
- head cocked, "What, perfume bottle as c--- btwn breasts?"
- head shaking
- "They er, they don't appear to be very real breasts"
- shrug. more head shaking. shrug.

He & I seem to share the same aesthetic ;)

12:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I found the "other" ad which I looked for with some trepidation - and there are two more! I will not link to them, but if you Google "tom ford mens fragrance ad" you can find the other versions. I really don't know which one is the worst - but the other 3 are all below the waist shots, no face at all. Yeesh, this is creepy. And they are not in the least "sexy" to me, thus zero sales enticement. I hope most people end up feeling the same and staying away from this in droves.

6:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't like the ads. Don't have any use for the body parts in the ad, in that I am gay. Don't care for the casual way that Tom Ford uses women in a cheap and demeaning way. Don't understand what large, oil-glazed, oversized plastic fake "boobs" and "coochie" have to do with a fragrance for men. Don't understand why Tom Ford-a gay man -- whose audience is probably 70-80% gay men and straight women would think these ads -- would be appealing somehow. What I do understand is that many, many people are chatting about a fragrance that they have yet to smell or have no interest in smelling. Ohhhh my god!--Have you seen the ads for Tom Ford's new fragrance for men?...You have to's......I....Can you believe...

Sadly, I have to say:
F%&@ing Brilliant Marketing Mr. Ford you have done it again! If we didn't care about your 15th fragrance you have launched this year it has not fallen on deaf ears, eyes and probably most importantly and most likely it will not go unsniffed.

By the way I tried Tom Ford for Men today and it doesn't smell like large oil-glazed oversized plastic fake "boobs" and "coochie", although if it did and got me a date with a hot man, I would be OK with it.

By the way,
Tom Ford for Men smells:


7:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This one is...gosh, I don't know what epithet to use :-), but the others are actually really creepy, you are right!

9:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anonymous,
I agree, brilliant marketing. I can't wait to try the scent and wonder whether I will be able to judge it on its own merit.

9:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

"shrug. more head shaking. shrug." :-) That's how I reacted too.

9:10 PM EDT  
Blogger Ben said...

The kind of man who might spend 300 bucks on a bottle of perfume might need to be reminded of his virile heterosexuality before taking the (socio-psychic) plunge. Or maybe Tom (I can call him Tom, right?) felt like making an impression--A deep, deep, penetrating impression. And he did, obviously. This is not nearly the first website I've seen talk about this ad, and those other sites had nothing to do with perfume. Tom wanted attention, and he got it. Without this ad, I never would have known about this scent right now. I might have come across it in a few months in my wanderings (probably at this site), but this ad campaign def did the trick. The entire "blogosphere" (I just threw up in my mouth a little after typing that word) is abuzz with this non-scent. Has anyone even smelled it yet? No. Will there be pre-orders? yes.

Tom, I salute you. Whatever I sell in the future, be it aircraft hardware or paint, I'll be sure to include pictures of naked lordotic women.


10:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

One of the commenters tried the scent and thought it was great. Though at this point it probably doesn't even matter, how good it is, as you said, there will be pre-orders anyway :-)

8:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, delurking! For what it's worth, I showed the ad to my fragrance-interested man - and got the following: "Tacky. It doesn't look like a serious ad." So would he buy it? No, because based on the advertisement alone, "it doesn't look like it would be a good fragrance."

Granted, he's not representative of men in general - but then, who is?

6:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You have a good man there! :-) And he is fragrance-interested!

8:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Dain said...

Also delurking. Just because Tom Ford works in a world of high aesthetic, where everything goes because it's 'art', doesn't mean that everything he does necessarily qualifies as such. I don't think shock value alone is an indication of creativity. This is not pushing the envelope, this is not 'guts': this is outright perfume-bottle titty fuck. My words are vulgar, but is not so the ad? I'm serious. That's why it's between her breasts, that's why the stopper is phallic, and that is why her mouth is open. It's barely clever. The only thing that makes this ad remarkable is that really poor taste is married with a name synonymous with high taste. This is Bloom taking a dump after Proteus.

5:40 AM EDT  
Blogger bell said...

I'm agree with you. Interesting blog you have shared. Nice read in here.

pheromones attract women

2:41 AM EDT  

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