MARKETING Brawnyman: hot or hilarious?
Creators hope women soak up in the romance of the ad.
By LIZ HALLORAN
Have you seen the Brawny paper towel ad -- the one where the cute metrosexual-in-flannel (think Will of "Will & amp; Grace") leans over a kitchen counter in his tight denim, frosting a birthday cake for the never-seen "Mrs. Parker"?
The one where the suggestive but bordering-on-creepy voice-over winds up the spot with an unctuous "Happy birthday to you, Mrs. Parker. Happy birthday to you," while Brawnyman gazes adoringly into the camera as he delivers the cake -- right to you?
Whether viewers find Brawny's sensitive new television stud hot or hilarious, the makers of the paper products he's pitching have decided they can appeal to both camps. They've created an online world of tongue-in-cheek fantasy dates with a dark, handsome paper towel pitchman who says all the right things -- most of them ridiculously funny.
He's always there for you
Starring in scenarios that are equal parts romance novel and camp, Georgia-Pacific's online Brawnyman (www.brawnyman.com) is "the man who is always there for you." The online mini-movies are called "Innocent Escapes" -- but imagine those words written in florid romance novel script -- and feature a Brawnyman who lives in a lovely, rustic lake house surrounded by pines, where a welcoming fire is always burning and paper towels play only bit parts.
He is the master of the house -- with a manly two-day stubble of whiskers and fringe of dark hair falling over his forehead -- and is unfailingly welcoming and tender, talking directly to the camera, or rather, to you, the guest. And when he's not obsequiously romancing, he's painting or writing poetry or tending to his dog or picking berries for a dessert or sawing wood or ... you get the picture.
"I'm glad you're here," he purrs during an introduction to the menu of mini-movies. "By the way, you look beautiful today ... something about your eyes." Cue the heavy breathing.
Customize your own movie
Sure, it's a marketing tool for Georgia-Pacific -- visitors can customize the mini-movies and forward them to friends, a form of online "viral" marketing popular now with companies -- but the movies, from "Thinking About You" and "That Thing You're Going Through" to "Everyday Is Valentine's Day" are darn funny. The actor playing Brawnyman seems at times to be stifling a giggle.
A favorite: "Your Hair, It's Perfect," in which Brawnyman takes a break from building a rocking horse "for the kids down at the school," to compliment you on your haircut, and announce he'd written a poem about it.
"Your hair is like an angel's," he recites, "turning heads of strangers. Falling like a river on your cheek."
Then, says Brawnyman, with a puppy-dog look: "I don't have the last line yet ... but you can see where it's going."
Yes we can, Brawnyman. Yes we can.