42 Below has a bit of a history of nice & naughty marketing, dating back to its first viral marketing campaigns that helped put them on the booze radar north of the equator. When the comp for this ad came in from the ad agency for review, everyone in house commented that the model looked like Franich.
Somehow in the midst of that discussion the suggestion -- more of a dare, really -- was put forth that he should be the one in the final shot, and, not being one to back down for a challenge, Franich dropped trou and jumped merrily in, with a grin you can't really fake. And it's that grin that really makes the image stand out -- think of Linda Evangelista's uber-fashiony voguing in George Michael's "Too Funky" video, performed by a scruffy bloke fresh from watching a game of footie with his mates down at the pub.
The awesome thing about the image is it makes you realize exactly how butch it is -- punk, even -- for a straight guy to pull such a flamboyant pose, and to do so with unabashed joy. "It's a matter of putting your money where you mouth is, a bit," says Franich. "And it's just a bit of cheeky fun." Fun it is, and how refreshing it is that it's not just another Armani-sized, hairless, super fit 19 year old being used to sell us booze, perfumes, jeans, and all the rest of it. And how delightful that a married bloke in his 30s so gleefully subverts that suffocating, oppressive paradigm of physical perfection that affects gays and straights alike. And as far as the ultimate goal of the ad -- well, you'll remember the name 42 Below now. Chalk one up for gonzo brand ambassadorship.
-- JASON ROWAN