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Will men in briefs persuade you to spend?

A new crop of commercials, including some Super Bowl ads, features regular people in their undies.

By Karen Datko Jan 28, 2010 10:12PM

Would you be more willing to buy Dockers or Bud Light if their ads showed average Joes and Janes wearing nothing more than their underwear? Pants literally on the ground and disgarded?

According to USA Today, here’s what we can expect on Super Sunday and elsewhere with an undergarment theme:


Dockers: Thirty marching men in undies singing “I Wear No Pants.” “It's about guys who no longer wear the pants around the house,” wrote Bruce Horovitz at USA Today. Yes, it’s true that in more families, women are the primary breadwinners. But that doesn’t mean the guys should be lounging in their briefs. Message: Get a job (and wear Dockers)!


Which leads us to a top contender for a CareerBuilder Super Bowl spot: The ad features a very casual Friday at the office -- underwear-only. Message: With a bad boss like that, maybe it’s time to leave that lousy job.


A Bud Light ad on its Facebook page shows workers donating their office attire to a clothing drive in exchange for -- Bud Light. The message here is that Bud Light is that good, rather than beer can make you do crazy things (see below). Anheuser-Busch will have a total of five minutes of ads during the big game this year -- a 30-second spot costs about $2.5 million -- with an emphasis on humor. It appears the Clydesdales didn’t make the cut this year, The Associated Press said.


An underwear-related ad you won’t see is a Go Daddy spot narrated by Danica Patrick and featuring a former football player (think lineman size) named Lola (think gay stereotype) who designs lingerie. CBS said it’s offensive.


Yes, we’re sure we’ll laugh at the ads we do see -- most people look pretty funny in their skivvies -- but commercials don’t seem to have the same effect on us as they used to. Generally if something is advertised on TV, we’re less likely to buy it.


Want to read a fun riff on the topic? A post by Malcolm Fleschner published at The Daily Sound examines our national obsession with Super Bowl ads. He wrote, “By 2035, experts predict, Super Bowl broadcasters will stop airing football altogether, in favor of running a full day of commercials, only occasionally interspersed with a close-up of a cheerleader's cleavage and a halftime show performed by the fossilized remains of the Rolling Stones.”


Fleschner calls for a return to truth in advertising and suggests that beer ad producers could learn something from the mad men behind prescription drug spots. He wrote:

Narrator: "Warning, drinking Schwartz Dry Ice Light may cause lightheadedness,  headaches, nausea, aggression, slurred speech, vomiting, impotence, wistfulness, melancholy, embarrassing revelations, sexual promiscuity, drunk dialing, drunk texting, drunk tweeting, unwanted expressions of affection, pregnancy, liver disease, bulbous reddening of the nose, memory loss, loss of employment, loss of social status, alienation of loved ones, incarceration, regrettable tattoos and/or piercings, and manic interruption of award show acceptance speeches. If any of these symptoms persist, consult your local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter."

Your thoughts? An advertising psychologist interviewed by USA Today thinks the underwear theme is effective marketing. But Swarthmore College psychology professor Barry Schwartz told the newspaper, "I think people just lose their minds when it comes to advertising in or around the Super Bowl -- and this is proof of that."


Related reading:

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