For over 50 years, the dour-faced, gray-haired, blue uniformed Maytag repairman was a staple of American TV airwaves.
In Germany, Whirlpool's Bauknecht brand is represented by a stylish European gentleman with tousled hair and a fondness for appearing shirtless.
According to Bauknecht, the model is designed to personify Bauknecht appliances—rugged, yet gentle. He also appears to have a wry sense of humor.
In German advertising, you see him throwing away his dish gloves, because a Bauknecht dishwasher can do the job better. He'll blow you a kiss and tell you how well his refrigerators will preserve your fresh foods. And he'll even take his shirt off, hold up a bra, and tell you that all your clothes will be safe from fabric wear in his washers and dryers.
It's a similar strategy to the controversial makeover that the Maytag repairman got earlier this year. Previously known as Ol' Lonely and played by middle-aged actors, he supposedly had a dull career because Maytag appliances never needed repair.
Today, actor Colin Ferguson plays the repairman as an anthropomorphized home appliance, signifying a shift in consumer attitudes: Modern consumers are interested in performance in addition to reliability.