Thursday, July 28, 2011

Master of the Ripped Bodice

Fabio Lanzoni promoting Old Spice Komodo

There has recently been an internet ad campaign featuring Fabio Lanzoni, star of countless Romance covers in the 80s and 90s, attempting to become the new Old Spice Guy. This brought him into competition with the current holder of the title, Isaiah Mustafa, the Man Your Man Could Smell Like. After a series of vids in which they threw miscellaneous object at each other, including a dinosaur bone, the Mano a Mano challenge has come to its conclusion.

It's kind of silly. Fabio is a painfully bad actor, but a pretty good buffoon. Back in the day, it seemed like he was the model for every other Romance novel. It was embarrassing to have to face the clerk working the book store register with a novel featuring his cheesy image. Oh, how I loathed Fabio!!! With on-line ordering and e-books, this is a humbling experience that has been lost to a savage past. Thank goodness!!!

Fabio on the cover of Brenda Joyce's Scandalous Love (1992)

Over the years, I've come to view the "Fabio era" of bodice ripping covers with nostalgia. Some of those books were pretty good reads. Since a Fabio cover would generate sales, that was savvy marketing put to good use.

However, some of these covers were unbearably trashy. For instance, this artwork nearly melts my eyes with its overwhelming schlockiness.

Fabio in Johanna Lindsey's Man of My Dreams (1992)

But Fabio eventually moved on from book covers and into commercials. That's when I started to appreciate his cheesy demeanor. My favorite Fabio commercial is this one from Nationwide Insurance:

Fun stuff!!! And here's the conclusion to the Old Spice ad that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Ah, Fabio! The Internet has spoken!!! Enjoy your trip. ;-)

Here's Fabio Lanzoni's Wikipedia page.

And here's the Old Spice website.


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