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This Is The Man - but what is the point?

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I'm blogging this week from sunny Malta. I'm not showing off (well, maybe just a bit - I did brush shoulders with La Toya Jackson in the marina this afternoon, as it happens) but I'm mentioning that I'm in Malta because I was interested and slightly annoyed to see French Connection's 2010 "This Is The Man" campaign emblazoned across various bus stops and billboards.

To quote Carl Jung: what the hell's all that about? The bloke in question (I refuse to call him a model as much as I refuse to call Cheryl Cole a singer) is sitting there looking like a cross between a tramp, an arctic explorer and Wolverine. Not only that but he looks like he's about to burst out of a very suspect pyjama-top-looking shirt which is unstylishly buttoned up to the neck (did I say neck? Make that unwieldy beard) and looking like he's either just soiled himself or the lighting man to his right has. And as I say, it's not even a nice or vaguely original looking shirt, which you'd think might be slightly important.

This is the man, indeed! Do you know what else they have as a slogan in this hairtastic campaign with Wolvotramp? "Eat Meat. Dress Well." O...kaaaaay. So real men don't eat quiche, right? Don't be so Eighties. My mate Mike is 6'5", plays rugby, makes pint glasses look like shot glasses in his frying-pan hands - and is a vegetarian. My mate Mike 1, French Connection, nil.

Mind you, French Connection are always way off the mark, in my opinion. I'm not even a fuddy-duddy, but I did silently rejoice when the Advertising Standards Authority clamped down on their (wait for it) "coincidental" acronym in the FCUK campaign. Ah, coincidental, was it? I seeeeeee! So all those "hot as fcuk" and "too busy to fcuk" T-shirts were about what, exactly?

You may well think that I'm sitting here grumpily in my Clarks shoes and M&S slacks (they're not just slacks - they're M&S slacks, mind) but I'm not. Not that there's anything remotely wrong with those two brands but if an ad is going to appeal to me on the level of "be a man", it's going to take a rather better image than a bloke looking like an uncomfortable front man in a tribute band to Free - in pyjamas - to make me want to rush out and emulate him. I don't mind GAP in a sort of middle-of-the-road and I-haven't-got-time-to-think-too-much way. But an occasional patron though I may be, if they come out with any more slightly disturbing images of children holding vermin, I might just have to go all John Lewis on your ass. Or rather my ass. Whatever - fcuk it.

By Ashley Morrison.

Ashley is a freelance blogger and copywriter, currently working for Givaudan.

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