The Philippine clothing brand Bench/ sells men’s and women’s fragrances, and in a recent commercial they showed that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to fragrance … or love. Seriously, this Bench/ gay ad is basically Call Me By Your Name, except it’s Filipino, two minutes long and there’s no peach.
In the commercial, a boy named J.R. says goodbye to his father who drove him to school. As soon as he gets out of the car, he sprays a bit of “So In Love” body mist onto his neck and then unzips his jacket and ball cap to reveal a sassy pink tank top and his dashing long hair.
While walking through the university hallways, J.R. sees Vince, a hunky fellow student who compliments his fragrance. Thus starts a series of flirtations, while J.R.’s dad sits at home wondering if J.R.’s fragrance is evidence of a girlfriend. (J.R. grimaces, dads can be so clueless.)
We won’t give away the ending, but the story takes two surprising turns and ends on a positive, heartwarming note.
Here is the Bench/ gay ad for “So In Love”:
Despite its pink packaging, the “So In Love” body mist isn’t really gendered by Bench/ as a male or female fragrance. Accordingly, the commercial shows that, in a perfect world, people should like what they like, regardless of gender.
The commercial reminds us somewhat of the daring gay lip balm commercial from Thai cosmetics company KA which shows a flirtatious openly gay schoolboy who flirts with another angry male student.
Just as American brands are increasingly looking to male-presenting Instagram influencers to help market their traditionally female-branded cosmetic products, the Asian male cosmetics market is a booming business as well. In 2016, the male grooming market in Asia was worth an estimated $12.8 billion with male film celebrities helping drive the trend.
What do you think of the Bench/ gay ad? Sound off in the comments.