Homoeroticism in advertising is going backwards in time. Just like Nicolas Cage wishes his flailing career path would. Back to the magic day when Cher (as Loretta in Moonstruck) responded to his "I'm in love with you" with two slaps in the face and a "Snap out of it!" But Mr. Cage can't go back in time. Instead he starred in the reprehensible Left Behind. And the only time I want to see "Left Behind" is when it means the naked bottom on the left in the all-male orgy.
Sometime between when underwear was first advertised and before photos of guys in underwear were even allowed in mainstream magazines, the above illustration happened. Then sometime between that illustration and now, we get a muscle guy showing more skin (and actual skin, not a drawing of skin) but to what effect?
Admittedly, I'm comparing a print ad to basic product photos. And there are a few underwear makers who have more complex ad presence, including videos. You know who I'm talking about. Because that company is everywhere.
But it's just not the same as an illustration that makes me use my damn imagination. I love that. Because otherwise, what do I get to do but be a passive vessel for supposedly homoerotic imagery. Of course, their focus is on sales, but if so, do we now sell the idea of just standing around in your skivvies like a lump? Albeit a lump with pecs that double as armor.
Or with the vintage ad, were they selling much more. An active, athletic lifestyle for sure. But also the idea of standing in your living room in your fucking underwear while your buddy looked on. Without this illustrated pioneer, that behavior may have remained prohibitively scandalous for another couple generations.
The other good part about illustrations is that with so many colors, ejaculating on the ad can be well disguised after the fact. Good times.