Casual Male XL
Commentary by PJ Moriarty, June 2006

Created by CMRG internally, the new ads are set in everyday situations ranging from the basketball court to the singles scene to the work place, and debuts the new tagline Why be Average, when you can XL!.

The ads depict XL men as more confident, powerful, and successful than the average Joe, trumping him in every situation by scoring more points, getting the girl, or capturing the attention of the boss.

The version of the ads that I saw were on the Internet with poor sound. Who needs sound with a message like that? The visual message in the scenes said it all - a series of tall, well groomed, well dressed men, each individually placed in a forefrontal on-screen location where you couldn't miss him, and he obviously towered more than head and shoulders above the sea of short, average looking business men that he appeared to be dominating.

Because I did not see or hear any reference to WHY these taller men were being singled out over the rest of the men - who seemed nameless and faceless - the ONLY message that came across to me was that tall men are obviously superior.

The commercial portrayed no humor, no exaggeration (other than the height of the "XL" men) and no character or personality was given to the shorter men. They looked like props. It could be interpreted that they were dehumanized.

Because there was no consistent frame of reference - like a "Casual Male Big and Tall" banner in big letters across the bottom of the TV screen - all I could perceive was the message that "Bigger is better" - and I would underscore that with, "IN YOUR FACE!".

As I said when I emailed Casual Male Big and Tall - in my opinion, the best way to promote their "XL" product is by showing ONLY their target clients on the screen - big and tall men.

They don't need to use shorter men as "props" - they could generate a graphic of a big city and have their models towering over it. You'd get the message that these are big men, but it would be stated visually by exaggerating their size - not by diminishing people who are less than their size.

And having a few more "big" men on the screen with the tall men might have helped give a more accurate message that the product line was for tall and BIG men, too.