The boys in greeny-blue

PETER YORK ON ADS NO 242: RUBBERSTUFFERS
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The Independent Culture
Julie Burchill once said that girls liked nothing so much as the sight of two boys snogging. There is a feast for them in the ground- breaking Rubberstuffers commercial. But the actors are grown men, and it goes way beyond snogging into full man-to-man action traction. It's even inter-racial; one of them is a phosphorescent greeny-blue. It all starts in a media land reception area where everything is modish - flat planes of colour, curved, asymmetrical furniture and niched shelves full of modern glass, with a wildly over-made-up receptionist. We're in, say, an ad agency or record company office. We're in aspirational territory, and ready for a bit of new tech or a magazine launch.

Enter one greeny-blue man - good-looking and dressed in the toned-down Jonathan Ross style adopted by younger execs in this walk of life: whitish suit, mauve-ish shirt, pinkish tie. His greeny-blue colour and texture is not unlike those glowing blue lights butchers use to kill flies.

There follows some terrific silent flirting between the glowing Blue Boy and the crimson-lipped receptionist, who contorts every muscle to suggest arousal and availability. This tableau is usually enacted to show that a man is drawn more to a football, car or spaniel in the pay-off frame. Then she sees him to her boss's office, vamping till the door closes. Inside he shakes hands with the grey-haired occupant and proceeds, almost instantly, to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, mutual shirt removal, belt unbuckling and chest stroking. Man-to-man stuff is standard movie and TV fare, but it is odd seeing human flesh intimate with neon blue.

Symbolism takes over, with cross-cuts to the receptionist, twisting her scarlet lipstick to full length, and back to a hand on a buttock, followed by a glass vessel filling with dark blue liquid (today's version of the spewing chimney stack). When Mr Neon emerges there is more furious vamping, followed by the shocked sighting of an untucked purple shirt- tail.

`Think Rubberstuffers condoms and lubricants,' is the message. Mr Blue is making a point, though his spaciness means the penny is slow to drop. It's clearly a message for the boys, though. What do the girls and grannies make of it?

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