Underpants -- And 'You Don't Own Me,' German-Style


One mark of a genius TV spot is that it's so immediately identifiable it can be parodied.

To that end, it seems the world is not finished with Jeremy Allen White’s spot for Calvin Klein.

His cup runneth over.

Given that CK laid the groundwork in the 1980s with ads combining beefcake with fine art, this spot is familiar but also energetically breakthrough and distinctive.

It boasts beefcake a plenty, but without the obsessive perfectionism of previous Calvin ads (or a Leni Riefenstahl film about Olympic athletes.)

While White eventually reaches the sky and strips to his tighty whities, he stays grounded in his white socks and wrestling sneakers, a funny touch. What’s more, the clever choice of music  -- Leslie Gore’s early 1960s cry of female liberation -- is an amusing riffs on contemporary gender. It seems  this sort of objectification allows it to be equally enjoyable to men and women.



White's bit was such an immediate hit that Away Luggage had a CK parody out the next day – a series of black and white shots showing one of its larger carry-ons dressed in a humongous pair of Calvins, posed on a rooftop.

The lower body coverage made the rolly bag look very squat, which perhaps was a subliminal reminder about the fact that White, despite that David-like torso, happens to be a short king.

I’ve heard other complaints: “Yes he has a beautiful body, but he has a butterface.”

Still, every detail of the video is alive. The red couch, which looked like it was salvaged from a 1970s rec room, caused a huge stir when it popped up on Facebook marketplace, apparently as a stunt to promote said Marketplace. It was being sold for the startling price of $0 and “Must be willing to pick up in New York.”

So though the original broke in early January, which seems like an eternity in marketing years, ecstatic cries of “Yes, chef!” are still being emitted around the world.

This just-released German parody for BROL nonalcoholic beer proves it. 

Substitute a hairy, comically jiggly-bellied, red-bearded man for hunky White, and you’ve pretty much got it, shot-for-shot. I thank the Norse gods that by the time Mr. Large Ginger climbs up to the sofa to drink his non-beer and removes his underwear, his bouncing manhood is pixelated.

I enjoyed seeing the Berlin skyline, with its distinctive TV tower, built in communist East German days and now a symbol of freedom. With its tall, um, shaft, and large, rounded observation tower, it also expresses a certain man/woman vibe.

The parody is funny, and will no doubt pay for itself in social media cred.

But the only tie-in, which is a stretch, comes at the very end, with a title card reading “Drink Naked.”  Later we see the tagline “German beer/Berlin attitude “and a mention about dry January.

But I can just hear hardworking copywriters calling it lazy or just meh. Sometimes parodies have that second-generation smarts that can be funnier than the original. In this case, the spot mostly recapitalizes on distinct creative, and you really must wonder about copyright law.

Making the original’s use of “You don’t own me” even funnier.
2 comments about "Underpants -- And 'You Don't Own Me,' German-Style".
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  1. durell godfrey from east hampton star, January 27, 2024 at 11:33 a.m.

    hilarious- thanks!

  2. Barbara Lippert from, January 27, 2024 at 10:22 p.m.

    Thank you, Durell!

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