Nobody watches commercials much these days. Digital TV recorders and the steady decline of network TV mean we no longer have to pay a lot of attention to television advertising. And anyway, companies have figured out other avenues, using the internet and people's foreheads and Jerry Bruckheimer movies to push their products.
It's a shame, in a way, because TV commercials -- more than any bouncy animated .GIF or glossy magazine spread -- have historically been our first introduction to scandalous near-nudity and double entendre. This hasn't always been as prevalent in recent years, but there are still a handful of pitchmen and women (mostly women), who carbonate our hormones. Here's a selection of my favorites, past and present.
Flo (Progressive Insurance)
I understand there's a healthy amount of hate out there for Flo, whose only real crime is a bad haircut and wearing unflattering white pantsuits. Regardless, can you really hold a grudge against someone who drives a V-twin?
The Most Interesting Man In The World (Dos Equis)
TMIMITW's magnetism can't be denied, especially considering he looks like James Bond as played by a hairier Franco Nero. And what about "Shark's have a week dedicated to him?" That's hot.
The Diet Coke Guy
How do we know for sure this dude isn't a real construction worker? His Christophe haircut, for starters, and the fact that he's wearing a designer watch, never mind that he's drinking a frigging Diet Coke in the first place. It's a good thing this commercial ended when it did, otherwise the office building ladies would've witnessed him receiving a well-deserved blanket party from his alleged co-workers.
The Old Spice Guy
You gotta give them credit, Old Spice has done a hell of a job in the last year or so making the cologne your dad wore sexy again. Or at least, getting you to associate it with a hot, shirtless dude instead of your gross, flatulent old man.
I was a little reluctant about including an animated example, especially since more prurient examples of Ms. Esurance are easily found when you turn SafeSearch off in Google. What the hell, at least she's not Sailor Moon. Plus, pink hair is very Suicide Girls.
Those Cialis Couples
These erectile dysfunction ads have everything: generically attractive older people, suggestive bathtub placement, and the titillating possibility of an unsafe drop in blood pressure. Whatever, it's worth taking a chance on a septuagenarian threesome.
The Nando's Girl
I don't usually go for blondes, but something about this ad spoke to me. If only I could put my finger on them...er, it.
The Levis 501 Guy
If you're wondering why the guy is done up like Oxford Blues vintage Rob Lowe, well, it was the 80s. I'm more surprised that a dude driving around offering help to stranded motorists doesn't have a goddamned set of chains in his vintage pickup.
Candice Michelle (GoDaddy.com)
Fine, this is a lazy choice. I have precedent, however, as brunettes with a certain moral flexibility were exactly the type of girl I sought out in college. And it takes place in front of some sort of political committee, which makes it topical. Or something.
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Sabine Ehrenfeld (Overstock.com)
I confess, I had no idea what this commercial was about the first hundred or so times I rewound it and watched it...discount online sales, or something. Who cares? I could watch Sabine's "O" face over and over (and over) again.