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  1. #1
    itsthepens's Avatar
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    Question the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    i'm aware that much controversy has transpired on these boards with regards to fragrances being, to varying degrees, targeted towards a gay demographic, and i hope that this thread doesnt blow on the embers of that unpleasantness. however....

    In a couple of the magazines i purchased this month (AXM and Attitude) i noticed ads for a new fragrance called Army Red ( http://www.armyred.co.uk ) which is, according to their site's blurb, 'a gorgeous and brand new fragrance with the handsome and intelligent gay man in mind.'

    the copy is, as is evidenced from the small exerpt above, woefully poor, as are the imagery used and the frankly apalling bottle design - an abhorrent uber-muscled attempt at a Le Male-style masculine form, with the laughable addition of some badly sculpted jeans. (seriously, have a look - it's really awful!)

    what is interesting, however, is the way they describe the fragrance - in quite 'fragrancey' (for want of a better word!) terminology,

    'Top notes of tamarind tree leaves and coriander and lemon open this fragrance, which then lead to a spicy warm heart and a woody base with hints of amber and leather.'

    So - has anyone smelt this? if so, is it as horrifyingly low-grade as the bottle design and marketing?

    from what i understand, discussion of what is/is not 'gay' isnt well tolerated on the boards, so i'll try to keep my opinions brief and un-inflaming:

    i'm intruiged to see products targeted at a demographic of which i am a part, which mainstream advertising tends, by and large, to pussyfoot around. whilst this particular product seems to have R&D and advertising budgets akin to what's currently in my wallet, it does seem to fit the very 'scene'-oriented target audience who are also the demographic for clothing brands such as Rufskin. (ArmyRed's website lists future product releases such as lubricant, condoms and underwear).

    whilst this is product from a small manufacturer, targeted at not only a small demographic but indeed a very particular sub-category of it, it superficially seems to mark a social shift in terms of the very existence of gay-targeted products.

    One view: this is as ridiculous as such (hypothetical) products as an Asian fragrance, or a Stupid fragrance. ('Moronia - a basic scent for those who can't read this'. [fragrance notes: crayons, rubber bedsheets, kerry katona])

    Another view: almost all fragrance houses use sexually-themed imagery within their advertizing, and this is almost* exclusively heterosexual in theme. why should this be so? sure, a White fragrance or a Fat fragrance would be simply unacceptable (hilarity aside), but gay people are a minority in quite a different respect in that we differ from other people in a way which is overlooked by much of the advertising world.
    but...
    gaultier is a good example of a house which has flirted with adrogynous and sexually ambiguous imagery, to great commerical success i might add. i guess this, though, strikes an agreeable balance - this is not 'representation', nor is it dismissing or ignoring the gay audience. moreover, whilst homosexuality is never explicitly referred to, the exposed male form, external to heterosexual confines, abounds within fragrance marketing.

    ---- i hope this doesnt turn into too heated a discussion, i mainly wanted an exercise in thinking-out-loud to clarify my own opinions. i hope my little mini-essay provides some food for thought. ----

  2. #2


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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    No offense to the gay community (I have a very close gay friend and even a transgender friend who is drop dead gorgeous, I am not kidding. LOL. Do you notice that heterosexual people, including myself, always seem to add this caveat whenever they make such a remark that is critical, etc... re: the gay community?) but the ad looks very trashy and is not tasteful, IMHO. Well, in any event it is an untapped market in terms of fragrances.
    Last edited by TheAttorney; 14th November 2008 at 02:00 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    That bottle looks familiar, "Le Male" maybe
    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation." HERBERT SPENCER

  4. #4


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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by silverbullet View Post
    That bottle looks familiar, "Le Male" maybe
    exactly.

  5. #5
    silverbullet's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post
    exactly.
    As Warren Zevon would say, "send lawyers, guns and money, the sh*t has hit the fan."
    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation." HERBERT SPENCER

  6. #6

    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    As a gay guy...
    It looks tacky. Seriously. In poor taste and just... yergh.

    No. No. No.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    I could be wrong but it seems to me that Tom of Finland beat these guys to the punch by almost a year and about a hundred pounds of studded black leather. The purple version of Red doesn't seem to do much for the line, either, although I gotta admit I'm somehow drawn to those spiffy tighty red and whiteys. They remind of me safety gear and you can never be too safe when all you have between you and the cold cruel world is your undies.
    Last edited by noirwest; 14th November 2008 at 02:37 AM. Reason: just being safe

  8. #8
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    That was tacky as Hell!

    Seriously though, isn't any ad with only one sex represented potentially gay-targeted?
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    I would say that it looks like a million bucks, but I don't want to insult the frag (you may have missed the recent thread here for a similar startup fragrance). I can't find the link to that one.

    Well, it better be good, or it will probably disappear in a flash. If a serious nose here likes it, I might try it. Now my question is - will it appeal to the straight nose? And if so, will it smell differently if I'm a supporter of gay marriage? Enquiring minds...

    Personally, I think it's a bad move (monetarily) to overtly define a frag as "Pour Gay" or "Pour Lesbienne", if you're looking for anything but the oddity corner of the market. A "real" fragrance house would never do that, I don't think. But I assume that the novelty angle is what this startup wants. It's probably more attractive than the difficult path that most niche houses have to follow (meaning make really good scents and then suffer anonymity anyway).

    Recently, I saw a guy in the store pick up a bottle of Le Male and ask if it was a joke. I'd love to have seen his reaction to this!
    * * * *

  10. #10

    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    armyred.co.uk : neither handsome nor intelligent

  11. #11
    itsthepens's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by noirwest View Post
    I could be wrong but it seems to me that Tom of Finland beat these guys to the punch by almost a year and about a hundred pounds of studded black leather.

    indeed, i stand corrected. tom of finland fragrance - how didnt i know about this? now THIS has queer culture significance.....

  12. #12


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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by silverbullet View Post
    As Warren Zevon would say, "send lawyers, guns and money, the sh*t has hit the fan."
    I dont mean to railroad the thread, but, Silverbullet if you are a fan of W. Zevon there is a great documentry documenting the final few months of his life. Awesome.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    I hope I do not offend...but I think this campaign was not done intelligently, ie, consulting the community it intends to reach. If they really had connections into the community, I do not think it would have turned out like this. It doesn't even rise to the kitsch level, imo.

    And what is it with the beefcake on the front page? Sure he has a great body, but those warpaint markings just don't cut it.

  14. #14
    noirwest's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Hey! I'll have you know Adam Ant ran buck wild all over the eighties with stripes just like that!

  15. #15
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by noirwest View Post
    Hey! I'll have you know Adam Ant ran buck wild all over the eighties with stripes just like that!
    LOL, geez, I forgot about that! I must say, he did it with far more flair, though

  16. #16
    itsthepens's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    I hope I do not offend...but I think this campaign was not done intelligently, ie, consulting the community it intends to reach. If they really had connections into the community, I do not think it would have turned out like this. It doesn't even rise to the kitsch level, imo.

    And what is it with the beefcake on the front page? Sure he has a great body, but those warpaint markings just don't cut it.
    actually, i suspect that this may well reach EXACTLY the right target audience! i'm thinking topless dancing, hardcore clubbing, loads of poppers and one-night-stands..... ha.



    edit: i've just realised my post before this thread was about a 'clubbing' frag - oh dear.....
    Last edited by itsthepens; 14th November 2008 at 03:04 AM.

  17. #17
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    itsthepens, are you referring to the model with the painted stripes? I don't know...maybe I am not so well versed in gay subculture. Most gay men I know are refined men with superlative taste in clothing, fragrance, decorating, etc. I just don't see that this fragrance presentation is refined enough, even for "gay kitsch".

  18. #18

    Exclamation Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    You know, I am far from being gay and what I like about this website is the wealth of knowledge from everyone on fragrances. I have oftentimes asked everyone their opinions on scents that my wife would like based on what she finds arousing or "just smells damn good!" I find it tacky that one company markets something in such poor taste to "target one group of potential buyers."

    To rip off Andrew Zimmern a little bit (but in a different perspective)...,"If it smells good... Wear it!" Who the hell cares if you are gay or straight!!

  19. #19
    noirwest's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Oh dear is right. Target audience lock acquired, prepare to paypal!

  20. #20

    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    So what if the ad is tacky. It wouldn't be the first lame fragrance ad. The important question is...does it smell good?


    akdeluxe

  21. #21
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Subhalen View Post
    You know, I am far from being gay and what I like about this website is the wealth of knowledge from everyone on fragrances. I have oftentimes asked everyone their opinions on scents that my wife would like based on what she finds arousing or "just smells damn good!" I find it tacky that one company markets something in such poor taste to "target one group of potential buyers."

    To rip off Andrew Zimmern a little bit (but in a different perspective)...,"If it smells good... Wear it!" Who the hell cares if you are gay or straight!!
    Or if it is "men's" or "women's" fragrance, for that matter.

    Thanks for bringing it back to the juice!

  22. #22

    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    I think the reason Gaultier has commercial appeal is because it doesn't cheapen the gay audience as this add does...

    Quote Originally Posted by itsthepens View Post

    gaultier is a good example of a house which has flirted with adrogynous and sexually ambiguous imagery, to great commerical success i might add. i guess this, though, strikes an agreeable balance - this is not 'representation', nor is it dismissing or ignoring the gay audience. moreover, whilst homosexuality is never explicitly referred to, the exposed male form, external to heterosexual confines, abounds within fragrance marketing.

  23. #23
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    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    I find most ads marketing products aimed at the gay market tacky ( this is coming from the gay male viewpoint - lesbians may have more tasteful advertising ).

    It's a cliched formula by now - take overblown macho imagery and give it the soft-core touch.

    Tom of Finland has some excuse because it's being true to the source material, but products like Army Red turn me off in every sense.

    Honestly, I don't want soft-core in my fragrance adverts - I want to be made to feel classy, sophisticated, and that I'm getting something interesting and unique. If you want to take it to a sexual level, market along the lines of attraction, not by plastering the bottle with my supposed objects of desire.

    Of course, I realize fragrance advertising isn't aimed at the Basenotes audience in general, but this applies to anything asexual marketed to a gay audience.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Fleur du Male is so gay
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  25. #25

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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianroy View Post
    Fleur du Male is so gay
    In which sense, nose or eyes?
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    In which sense, nose or eyes?
    Both:d
    No seriously I just associate it with gays, probably cause I know some who use it. Actually I don't know one straight man to wear FdM, but thats just a coincidence.
    I for one hate it but that's another topic
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    To be honest there are different gay people, some might like the tackyness of it or consider it a joke and buy it. Others who might be younger and are just coming out might like the fact that there is a fragrance for them that isn´t very expensive and connects with them more in that time in their life than anything else.

    And I know especially for younger people something that could be used as a signal is very much wanted, if you know someone is wearing a perfume marketed to gay people you might find it easier to talk to them and see if they are single or not.

    Oh with young I mean around 15 year old, I doubt 15 year old gay guys are already sophisticated connoisseurs
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  28. #28

    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    that bottle is hideous. from the marketing spiel on that site, it sounds as if its a "celebrity" fragrance, fronted by mr gay uk? they could have at least tried to get a celebrity. and even if this was the most divine fragrance ever, i don't think i could ever own a bottle that ugly.
    oh, and there looks to be lube and condoms coming out alongside it. i wonder if they contain the same scent.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    I don' think it is the first fragrance targetted to the gay market, take Gaultier's winks tothe gay community in his ads. Didn't he resort to Pierre et Gilles' creativity in his campaigns, two overtly gay painters? Besides, what about Tom of Finland?

    Now, I have this big question: is there such thing as a gay market? It would be like, say, a fat market, a brunette market, or a 5.5 foot tall people market. Gay means that a man prefers men when having sex and / or establishing a long term emtional and sexual relationship with men. But this definition can't say much about other traits. Gay men can be tall, short, fat, thin, blue eyed, brunette, blonde, mongolian, caucasian, black, effeminate or virile, whatever.

    I think that reducing people to their sexual and emotional habits is blatantly stupid. However, many straight as well as gay people think this is far from being stupid in terms of identity issues.

    Guess the bottom line is... how does it smell? Is it good,or bad?
    Last edited by Pollux; 14th November 2008 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Incomplete sentences

  30. #30

    Default Re: the first gay-marketed fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianroy View Post
    Both:d
    No seriously I just associate it with gays, probably cause I know some who use it. Actually I don't know one straight man to wear FdM, but thats just a coincidence.
    I for one hate it but that's another topic
    I'm straight and I'd wear Fleur du Male.
    I also know of a few people on this website that are in the same 'boat' and have no problems wearing it.
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