Have you ever wondered what the TV advertising industry has against beards? It seemed like that growing up, television commercials never showed men with beards.
In fact, with the possible exception of two guys on the Smith Brothers cough drops box, beards have rarely appeared in modern advertising. Even the lumberjack on the Brawny paper towels package has never had anything more than a well-manicured moustache––and that guy is a lumberjack!
However, the hipster culture has effectively changed all that!
Now, not a week goes by that some television commercial isn’t featuring men sporting long chin whiskers. Yet have you noticed the subtext of the majority of these TV commercials? The guys with beards are losers.
Take the Skittles televison commercial about the job interview. Here a man with a long beard uses his chin follicles to reach for Skittle after Skittle. Talk about training your beard! This guy is amazing! But does he get the job? Nope. Dude’s got a beard. Loser!
There’s the recent Allstate television commercial where two men have a fender bender. The guy with the shaggy beard has Allstate. “Really?” says the clean-shaven guy with a tie,”I was afraid you would have some cut-rate policy!” Totally uncalled for, right? Hey, the guy has a beard, not leprosy.
Then, along comes the new E-TRADE television commercial. A beardless Kevin Spacey (don’t trust him, he’s that murdering politician from House of Cards!) tells us that the beard phenomenon has reached critical mass, and is so over! In the next scene, a smiling customer exits the barber shop and rubs his hand across his shiny, smooth chin. Once again, the not-so-subtle message is that beards are for behind-the-curve, hygienically challenged losers.
However, thank the Lord for AutoZone––one of the very few marketers willing to boldly take a pro-beard stance. Their brand-new TV commercial shows a callow-faced young man making a purchase at his neighborhood AutoZone. Today, he changes the oil in his car––a time-honored rite of passage to manhood. “And with this change of oil, his engine wasn’t the only thing that was running a bit cooler,” states the announcer. Then, suddenly, the special effects: the boy’s peach-fuzz face begins to sprout a magnificent beard. AutoZone reaffirms what we all know in our hearts and what most of these ad campaigns all try to deny: Beards are totally cool.
Keeping track of the trends is what we do. Need to hone your TV advertising message? Contact Agency Creative at 972.488.1660.
Rob Wolford is an award-winning art director and designer. He also is a guy with a beard.