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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, April 12, 2004

I haven't seen the ad on tv yet, but as far as I'm concerned Bob Dylan in a Victoria's Secret commercial is much cooler than it is getting credit for. Slate's "Ad Report Card" pans it, for example, but I think the critics are missing the point. Bob Dylan isn't really a "decrepit, sixtysomething folksinger", (although he hasn't gotten any better looking over the years). It is not really accurate to call him a "countercultural artist," either. In fact, I would say that an excellent case can be made that Bob Dylan is a major American cultural contributor. He is not some sort of aged fringe hippie-- that would be, oh, I don't know, David Crosby, and that would be strange in a woman's lingerie ad. Bob Dylan? Hey, Bob Dylan has always been a ladies man, proof for years that intelligent is sexy, and that sensitive is not synonymous with wimpy. The ad works for me-- it validates the product in a way that Led Zep for Cadillac can't begin to. Credit also for using a fairly recent Dylan song. "All I Really Want To Do", or "When I Paint My Masterpiece", or something like that would have been an appeal to aging boomers' nostalgia, and would not be sexy. This is, and the fact that it's also a funny idea is just more proof that the man hasn't lost his sense of humor. As far as I'm concerned, that may be the sexist part about it.

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