Put Their Pants On

Irene Done done found her a show to watch. According to Broadcasting and Cable, Best Damn Sports Show Period is set to flash some skin in order to sell clothes (yes, it’s paradoxical).

Fox Sports Net’s Best Damn Sports Show Period will partner with Haggar clothing for a product placement consisting of five-minute segments on the show featuring male models battling for the prize of becoming the new face–and body–of Haggar.
The plugs will be in the form of five week’s worth of five-minute battles, “A Gentleman’s Disagreement,” on each show in which eight male models will go chiseled chin to touseled head in competitions like–if there are competitions like–laundry dunk, shocking questions, lawnmower jousting, and paintball—all the while decked out in Haggar’s finest.
The point, in addition to picking the Haggar man, is to show how rugged its clothes are. “It’s gonna get ugly…in a good looking sort of way,” said Haggar Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Croncota.

Meanwhile, Adfreak looks at Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s dry humor for the Haggar brand, as revealed in a new TV camapign. Catherine P. Taylor calls the work, “so intentionally uncool.” Which, of course, is what cool is.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. The Haggar TV spot is beyond “uncool”. It’s fucking nasty in it’s celebration of family dysfunction and bullying dads. That kid should turn around and find out if dad and his closet-gay lover’s Haggar threads are flame retardant. Dockers, which is only a few ticks above Haggar on the cool-o-meter, does it much better with their “Go Khaki” spot.

  2. So, your answer to dysfunctional family life is death by arson?
    What is it about these ads that provoke such contempt?

  3. David, do you really have to ask? In a nutshell, they are a salute to the worst kind of bullying, boorish, emotionally abusive behavior. There’s no hiding or defending the mean-spirited soul of these things.
    Do you really think it’s okay for a client (or agency) to say it’s good to sit around with your buddy and bully your teenage son? Maybe in the next spot they can go inside and taunt the man’s daughter with sexually suggestive comments. I wouldn’t put it past the people at CPB – who apparently think there’s no line not worth crossing when it comes to being arch, hip and ironic.
    At some point, agencies need to have at least a pretence of moral responsibility in the kinds of things they put on the air.

  4. I’m sorry, but I think the spot is funny. Maybe that says something awful about me. Or maybe it’s just funny.

  5. I’m still curious, regardless of whether you find this funny or not.
    Do you think it’s okay to show adults being emotionally abusive to kids for the sake of selling shirts?

  6. To make someting funny, we often put other people at the butt of our jokes. Poilsh jokes. Blonde jokes. And so on. This is one of those times. Having said that, no, it’s NOT okay to “be emotionally abusive to kids.” I don’t know anyone saying it is.
    Should a viewer of this spot decide to a) wear Haggar and b) treat his kids poorly, then advertising is more powerful than I realize. Sure, someone on a couch somewhere may see it in passing and act out the drama in his own driveway, but that person is a cretin to begin with, who would do it with no promting from the TV or any other quarter.
    So, I agree the campaign is risky and walks a line. But I’m not ready to say it’s unresponsible, nor reprehensible.

  7. I understand your point on humor, David. And I’m not saying someone will abuse their kids because of this spot. Likewise, I understand there’s a line – there are “Polish jokes, blonde jokes and so on”. But let me ask…would you have found this spot funny if it was the man’s wife receiving the abuse? Walking a line, indeed.
    The fact is (and there’s a trove of research supporting this) broadly cast messages saying it’s funny to act in reprehensible ways wears down, layer by layer, our horror at such behavior. As we watch the “jokes” play repeatedly, our reaction to such acts in real life becomes less visceral. Our outrage, more muted. And the belief this behavior is okay, more easily rationalized.
    If we laugh at enough “it’s fun to abuse kids” jokes…enough “Mexicans are lazy” jokes…or, recalling the late 1930s, enough “dirty Jews need a good shower” jokes…we soon feel less need to care about these very real, human issues. After all, it’s a joke, right?
    As an agency creative or brand manager, is it in our job description to consider such things? No. As human beings, is it our responsibility? Yes. “Because it’s funny” isn’t a good enough excuse for walking the line you mention. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I believe human values should trump commercial ends every time. There are other ways to sell shirts.

  8. Roy Batten says:

    While I respect where Theo is coming from, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to think that these commercials will encourage antisocial behavior among middle-aged men.
    My problem with the campaign is that it insults and demeans the very people it’s ostensbily trying to reach. How many middle-aged men see themselves as paunchy, loutish layabouts with nothing better to do than to sit in their driveways and heap abuse on their teenaged sons? Instead of subverting the stereotypes of such men — and, by extension, Haggar — the agency just plays right into them.
    That may win Crispin a couple of shiny awards for their mantle, but it seems to demonstate a shocking lack of insight into their target audience.
    With their oafish, unlikeable heroes, these commercials almost seem written from the point of view of the put-upon teenager. Maybe the creatives have some unresolved issues with their own fathers.
    All of this might have been (somewhat) forgiveable if the commercials in question had actually been funny. But they are at best mildly amusing, like a rejected script from “King of the Hill.”

  9. Long past it’s expiration date, here, but I wanted my point to get through (to nobody, at this point). I don’t suggest this will lead people to act abusively. The point is that it deadens all of us to such issues, and the more numb we become to these things, the worse off society is as a whole. It’s a cumulous effect across society, not an issue of making middle-aged men adopt anti-social behavior.