Apparently shaving is no longer hip and cool. I’m watching TV, the commercials come on, and I am blinded by the stubble… oh the stubble … Does Paris Hilton think “that’s hot?” Ohmigod! I need to stop shaving or I’m not going to get past that velvet rope!

As much as I wake up some mornings inclined to skip the razor, be it a manual or electric model, I never let myself go so far to look like Don Johnson on Miami Vice circa 1985. Obviously more than one somebody in the TV advertising business seems to think, however, that real men don’t shave.

On more than one night recently while watching Rescue Me, or The 4400, The Daily Show, or maybe even Two and a Half Men, I’ve found myself curiously drawn to watching all the commercials to see what the “Stubble Quotient” will be for this ad bloc in July. Wow! Three different ads in one commercial break, all with more man stubble than the local construction site barber shop.

Cuervo Black and Coke commercial Whoa! New Cuervo and Coke commercial… two guys, bartender, all three look like they have sprayed-on stubble all at identical stubbly lengths… sexy woman enters frame… alcohol leads to sex, right? Surrrrre. Message: don’t shave, but dress metro-sexual, drink alcohol and the chicks will flock to you.

I’m not quite sure who this is targeted at and seems to be in some bizarre “hot city bar” glossy storyboard world that doesn’t exist in real life. Maybe I’m a bit out of touch with the intended audience for the spots, living here in trend-o-licious Southern California, but if everybody wears the same clothes, goes to the same hair stylist and doesn’t shave for the exact same number of days to achieve uniform “stubble levels,” then I guess I’m not paying attention enough to real life.

Funny thing, I’ve been wracking my brain all day trying to remember the brand of the product in the alcohol spot and I can’t (I had to update this story later on once I saw the commercial again). I was blinded by so much stubble and the cool clothes. Apparently the agency that did the spot had a mis-communication someplace — you’re supposed to mention and show the PRODUCT at least three times, not show three guys with stubble that looks like it’s been enhanced with somebody’s eye-liner brush. The model was hot, too… blonde… but what the heck was the brand?

Any man who has been married, or in a long-term relationship, knows that real women prefer either a beard or no beard and not the wasteland of scraggly “beard grass” that gives your sweetie serious facial rash in any kind of smoochy activity. My ex-wife used to call the sound my electric razor made while shaving — after a weekend of not shaving — “mowing the back 40.”

Next commercial break. Hey, now it’s the president and founder of, he has a day and a half of stubble. Apparently he’s too busy helping his telemarketers learn how to answer the phone and doesn’t have time to shave … or maybe, yeah, his ad agency wanted to make him look more “hip” by skipping shaving for a couple of days before the shoot. Yeah! Man fur sells PCs and TVs, too!!

Apparently in TV commercial land, summertime is stubble time. Them ultra-hipsters just gotta have more face fur to make their skin stay warm on those sticky-sweaty summer nights. Now “that’s hot!”

Perhaps ironically, the Gillette(R) Fusion(TM) razor spots are running alongside these furry faced ads. Hmmm…. maybe they’re working together. Let your beard grow out, then when you look stupid, your skin itches and your girlfriend complains when you try to snuggle, you know you will need a new razor to shave that half-beard in comfort. Unfortunately, the Fusion spots blare out some of the absolute worst abuses of hyperbole since their last “new” product launch. Seems they needed a particle accelerator and fusion power to bring together the idea of adding more blades, and a sixth trimmer single blade when you turn it over. My Panasonic shaver had that ten years ago… so, “unique idea” indeed.

GIllette Fusion Power! (c) GilletteThe hilarious thing about the Fusion ads is apparently with five blades you’ll have more comfort and won’t have skin irritation. If you note the fine print in the commercial, it states that this fact is “compared to their prior product” — which means they’re saying the last product they sold you was crap, buy the new one. This is just the latest round in the “how many blades do you need” escalation.

Coincidentally, the website is running a contest to locate the next “Face of Fusion” with a 10-city tour. All the Gillette folks need to do is watch the commercials bracketing their own spots for plenty of potential fuzzy faced hunks to front their unique idea of five blades for better shaving. Maybe they can do a cross-marketing promotion in all the bars where the unshaven dudes who let their “queer eye” buddies pick out their clothes hang out.

Thirty years ago, a faux commercial on Saturday Night Live had ten blades for the ultimate in comfort; so, in my mind, the Fusion isn’t quite good enough. If five blades are better than four, and four is better than three, and three is better than two… then twenty must be nirvana.

Assuming that you’re not part of the ultra-hipsters from TV land, and shave at all, of course.

[tags]Christopher Laird Simmons, Cuervo Black and Coke, Gillette Fusion[/tags]