Despite what some of you may think, I’ve seen plenty of men’s underwear, and I am not generally perplexed by or, at the very least, offended (gasp!) by it. Now, let me just warn you. This might be in bad taste, but that is, in part, the point here. The issue confronting us is a men’s underwear ad from J.C. Penney online. This was sent to me by a friend because he was surprised by it and didn’t know if he was turning into a prude and wanted my opinion. I told him not only would I be his Prude-O-Meter, all of you would be, too.

His concern is the fact that in this men’s underwear ad, little is left to the imagination about what exactly is under the underwear. For me, upon seeing that sort of ad, especially in the newspaper junk mail, my imagination has never really kicked in anyway (okay, well, except for the Victoria’s Secret underwear, but that really doesn’t even count as real underwear).

I took a look and while surprised at the, uh, obviousness of what is underneath the briefs, I was even more taken aback by what appeared to be a, well, spot, on the briefs. My general assessment–overall, this is an okay ad which is honest about what the product is for. And yet, was it just a nutty photog and a sloppy model to blame for the other issue?

One of the strangest things about this is I do now have to warn you about clicking through this link. It’s certainly not obscene, but it may be a bit too much for some of you. Am I wrong to even warn you? Do I think you are uptight and you’re really not? Is my friend a prude? Will cats and dogs ever become true friends? What does Ahmadinnerjacket want for Christmas? Oh, yeah, he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. So, with that, here it is.

Men’s Underwear Ad

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19 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. FozzieBear says:

    My verdict: Much ado about… not much. I’ve seen comparable on TV and at an office in which I once worked (a boss, who I suspect was proud of the look).

  2. Kimj7157 says:

    Thanks for posting the link so we could all take a gander. I was frankly expecting much worse than it actually is. I do agree that the most striking thing about the image is that freakin’ spot! You can’t help but wonder. Geez. Actually, I remember a men’s underwear ad–again in a J.C. Penney Catalog (coincidence?)–probably 25 years ago that was even more graphic. (Obviously memorable.) I think an investigation might be in order. Let’s call Nancy. :}

  3. brad says:

    I think the ‘spot’ looks like a shadow. As for the rest, it is an underwear ad.

  4. Rook says:

    I’m pretty sure that my grandmother wouldn’t have to worry about coming down with the vapors over that ad.

  5. sue says:

    Yep bit more than I need to see to buy undies for my husband. Who are they aiming this at anyway? I mean a good deal of men don’t purchase their own underwear. Is this supposed to make the lady at home dash of to the Penny’s. Even more, is the underwear buying male at home supposed to dream of looking like this if only he had these new undies….Although its not the worst ad, it is a bit more than I want my little girl to see flipping the pages of a catalog. I was more amused by the note for extended sizes on the bottom where you can choose regular or big. LOL. Boy the challenge in that question. Dear, I brought you 2 packs of the regular…figured the big weren’t necessary.

  6. helpunderdog says:

    Could the, uh, spot be a shadow cast by the, uh, unmentionable monstrousity?

  7. Talkin Horse says:

    I’ll try to comment seriously, although I’m not sure it’s possible. Okay, as far as extreme advertising goes, this one does not top the charts. If they’re going for sexual impact (in any sense — hetero, homo, whatever), they’ll show the entire body of the model, including the face (and there will be some serious body language going on). And there might be some unusual aspects to the models — perfect unblemished shapely females; hairless, muscular, androgynous males.

    The issue here may be with the underwear itself, which is rather snug. Heck, you could fit these on Rosie O’Donnell (assuming they come in XXXXL) and you’d see a similar effect (although perhaps this is a poor example?). I tried a pair like this once and found it rather uncomfortable; this may be because of my being, you know, a horse; need I say more?

    It is rather amusing that the two options for size ranges are “Big-White” and “Regular-Colors”. Is this some sort of kinky racial stereotyping, do you think?

  8. pat_s says:

    Animators and software developers occasionally insert something naughty in their work that generally goes undiscovered by most people. Can’t put anything over on Tammy though. I think somebody associated with the catalog is having a good laugh over some mischief.

  9. Bachbone says:

    Ho hum. The only thing it reminded me of was the late David Niven’s comment about the Acadeny Awards streaker “…showing his shortcomings.” If Penney’s thought it would inspire either men or women to buy the underwear, I’ll bet they were wrong.

  10. artgal says:

    This ad is harmless and I welcome it totally. How many ads in any number of catalogs have been quite revealing of a woman’s body (not that I mind…)?

    What I thought was kind of funny was the fact that you can click on the picture to get a larger view of the ‘item’, and even then you can view it closer if you wish. Gotta love technology and the humor department at JC Penneys.

  11. Lib85 says:

    The ad would have been intolerable 10 years ago. But people actually look like that and having a penis is quite normal for a guy, so that ad is OK. I do not know what the sales appeal is. In an advertising course in college, we learned about the “hidden persuaders” in ads and the psychology behind them. Not sure what it is in this ad. I hope they sell some undies. Penney’s is a pretty good store for middle class chumps.

  12. chase says:

    Infidels! Clearly he Jewish!


  13. David Jerome says:

    Who looks that closely at that area of men’s underwear anyway?!

  14. LongviewCyclist says:

    Doesn’t look to me like anything out of the ordinary for an underwear ad. A guy has an ‘outie’ down there, and if the underwear is clingie it will probably make its presence known. If anyone is offended by that, I think they must be bored, and so are paying far too much attention to detail.

    I think the spot is probably just a shadow of some kind. Weird looking, but surely any photographer worth his salt would notice it if it were a spot, and edit the photo appropriately.

    I used to dream about Dr. Who in his underwear. Those dreams were far more offensive than this picture, and I was only 11. 🙂

  15. FozzieBear says:

    RESPONSE to David Jerome:
    Uh… straight gals?

  16. PeteRFNY says:

    This ad made possible by an anonymous endowment.

  17. Henry says:

    While I’m pretty sure the “spot” is shadow cast from the glans, it’s very obvious what religion the model is.


  18. piboulder says:

    It’s kinda striking. I’ve seen many men’s underwear ads before and I don’t remember seeing that much detail. However, I don’t think this is out of the mainstream either. I’ve seen female underwear ads before where the underpants are sheer and you can see the woman’s “hairdo” through them.

  19. MikeDevxPatriot says:

    An analogy would be a bra that reveals the definition of the nipple. What’s the purpose? No one’s going to see it in public?

    I don’t know any guys who would want to wear underwear so tight that it defines their, um, package. I have to be believe it would get very uncomfortable very quickly.

    The ad isn’t offensive to me. I don’t think it’s a slippery slope thing (yet). If they graduate to showing, eh, degrees of excitation, then it will be.

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