Billed as a “short film directed by Guy Ritchie”, this commercial advertisement does more than just sell Mr. Beckham’s launch of his updated Bodywear collection for H&M. At its core, this ad utilizes varied aesthetics to not only break through our contemporary society’s advertising clutter, but also to create an intriguing and stimulating text that does more than just sell a product. Humanizing the international, the video opens with David handing off a lunchbox to his kid. However, as the commercial progresses his robe and other layers of clothes gets ripped off as he traverses through a suburban neighborhood in only his undergarments, a piece from his David Beckham Bodywear line. In Social Communication in Advertising: Consumption in the Mediated Marketplace, the authors explore how the late modern consumer society is marked by an interest in consumer desires and pleasures. The authors declare, “The aestheticization of everyday life opened the floodgates, as postmodern consumer cultured offered new emotional and bodily pleasures” (312). David Beckham’s morning routine is enhanced through the aesthetics to tap into both female and male desires. Female consumers will be immediately drawn to this ad due to David’s physique and his lack of clothing, and male consumers equally admire Beckham for his world-class athleticism and his power status of husband to Victoria Beckham. The commercial capitalizes on David’s celebrity and notoriety. Taking a “filmic” approach to the ad, Guy Ritchie, the director, employs some narrative to create a suspenseful, editorial video that reads as a soft sell advertisement that subtly highlights the David Beckham Bodywear line and more so hooks the viewer on the allure and celebrity of Mr. Beckham.

Although the authors of Social Communication in Advertising: Consumption in the Mediated Marketplace discuss the linking of celebrity culture to consumer lifestyle in magazine content, the same thinking can be applied to the emergence of celebrity endorsed, and even sometimes created, products. The authors explain, “To enable the reader [or in this case, the viewer] to maintain their distinction yet still enjoy association to the famous, celebrities had to be made to appear as authentic working people” (361). Rather than showing David Beckham walking the red carpet or on the soccer field, this ad depicts him as a relatable father figure who leads a casual, yet dynamic, lifestyle in

Dashing, literally and figuratively, David Beckham appears as a 21st century Clark Kent. Without even hearing his voice, the advertisement establishes a sense of mystery around David while also exposing his body to make him seem the ever more tangible. The advertisement hopes to associate his glamor and chiseled physique with his Bodywear collection, thus suggesting that consuming his products will aid in bringing an ogled specimen into your life. The commercial manages to break through the cluttered market place, not only by exposing Beckham’s body but by creating somewhat scandalous buzz around the advertisement. In some parts of the film, a body double was used to perform smaller parts of the short film. Seeing as David is visibly discernible throughout the majority of the ad, this trivial scandal only serves to bring more conversation and buzz surrounding the commercial and inevitably his product.

A jog through suburbia morphs into a short editorial film of high intensity with the presence of an internationally admired man’s man and woman’s eye candy. David Beckham’s commercial for the launch of his updated Bodywear collection plays on his celebrity status to entice emerging adults to buy into his glamorous yet grounded lifestyle. By exploring both male and female consumers’ desires, the advertisement looks to pleasure the viewer and satiate them with a visually appealing ‘filmic’ story. This commercial looks to assert both the Bodywear as well as David Beckham himself as a brand. His celebrity stature launches the ad into a piece of media that goes beyond selling a product and becomes a piece of cinema that advocates for his brand, introduces his product, and tie in the aesthetics of his lifestyle and his fans with the benefits of consuming his Bodywear line at H&M.

Hot stuff ... David Beckham in Guy Ritchie H&M video

– A. Duffy

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