Undressing the Italian

Isaiah Mustafa
Why, yes; I am still on a horse! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have never been so irritated to see a half naked man in all my life. (Mind you, this is a rare occurrence for me, as I generally think half naked images are better than fully naked ones. But I digress).

Frankly, I think Kraft did themselves a disservice by making The Zesty Guy the star of their new Italian dressing commercials, instead of the dressing itself. Italian people everywhere should be offended.

It’s supposed to be funny, in the vein of Isaiah Mustafa’s Old Spice Guy commercials, which positively slayed. Old Spice hit it on the nail with their absurd monologues, the amazing set tricks (I’m on a horse!), and Mustafa’s deadpan aristocratic delivery. His chiseled, naked torso is a bonus, but it doesn’t feel extraneous because 1) it’s a commercial for body products 2) the commercials play on the idea that your man will look like Mustafa (or at least smell like he looks like Mustafa).

At first, the Italian dressing ads didn’t have me laughing. I gave Kraft a side eye for marketing so obnoxiously to women when Italian dressing isn’t a necessarily a woman-centered product. My husband stans for Italian dressing and I’m 100% sure The Zesty Guy is not marketing to him.

And, c’mon…there is nothing sexy about a vinegar-based sauce. And even if you mix nekkid time with Italian dressing…well, that’s not really the sexy sauce of choice, now, is it? The stains it would leave…!

But I’ve lightened up a bit after reviewing more of the videos. Kraft uses similar set tricks as Old Spice, like instantaneously sliced bell peppers, telekinesis-melted butter, and apron wardrobe malfunctions changes. Those do elicit a chuckle. The actor, however, feels like a beefcake prop to me, whereas Mustafa’s characterization of The Old Spice Guy actually took talent. Both men do smize convincingly, so there’s that.

Underneath it all, I have finally put a finger on what initially irked me. Sex-based marketing usually attempts to be subtle; since Kraft is going balls to the wall with it, they adopt a tongue-in-cheek tone. I then feel as if I’m playing a game of chicken. I don’t want to be cognizant of the fact that I’m buying Italian dressing because I subconsciously associate it with The Zesty Guy. Because dangit, I like Kraft Italian Dressing! They are forcing me to choose between supporting half-naked advertising or eating naked salads.

Sex sells, yada yada yada. But I chiefly admire advertising that hinges on smart, not tingly, humor.

Now, let me go finish my salad.

Advertisements

One thought on “Undressing the Italian

Chime in!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s