Ashes to Ashes: Brylcreem Glosses Image

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In America, Brylcreem is probably most associated with its classic “A little dab’ll do ya!” jingle, but in the U.K., the venerable hairstyling-products brand is strengthening its long association with the world of sports.

Brylcreem is launching a limited-edition cricket-themed pack to coincide with the start of this winter’s Ashes Test series in Australia. That’s cricket, the OTHER ballgame that uses a bat — not the musically-inclined insect. And for those Yanks not familiar with the Ashes, it’s a series played between England and Australia, one of international cricket’s most celebrated rivalries and a high-profile, sponsor-saturated event.[more]

The promotion, which kicks off on Nov. 25, features a red cricket ball-shaped tub of a new product called Brylcreem Paste (“flexible memory styling”) adorned with England batsman Kevin Pietersen’s signature. No fair putting the stuff on a real cricket ball to make it too slippery to hit.

Brylcreem, an English brand now owned by Sara Lee, is not a sponsor of the English cricket team, but last year it named Pietersen the brand’s new “Brylcreem Boy,” a nickname that was also used during WWII to refer to Royal Air Force pilots. International soccer star David Beckham was the last face of the brand, from 1997 to 1999 (sadly, he was fired when he shaved his head – oops!) while previous Brylcreem Boys featured cricket and soccer stars from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

Brylcreem, so closely associated with the carefully coiffed ‘50s fashion aesthetic, has certainly had to modernize its image, and its association with young, handsome, edgy sports heroes is clearly part of that evolution. At the same time, Brylcreem proudly claims its history. While both the U.K. and U.S. sites of the brand are modern and, um, slick and feature an array of products from “remouldable invisible hold” to “strong wet look gel,” the original Brylcreem formula is still offered right there along with them and the brand’s logo trumpets “since 1928.”

When you think about it, there really isn’t that much difference in the young men of the ‘50s versus those of today when it comes to putting stuff in their hair. If only the “stars” of Jersey Shore would realize that a little dab will do.

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