The Magic of the Rumpled Shirt love the Trivago guy. For my friends outside of North America, I must explain that the Trivago guy is an actor who has become the spokesperson for an online hotel booking agency.

For a couple of years, he had been presented on TV advertisements with a day-old beard growth, a rumpled shirt, and a knowing smile. He looked as though he had just woken up on an exotic beach after a night of wine, women, and song. And, he didn’t regret a thing. To prove it, he usually did a little walking bounce as he stepped out of the camera’s frame. He had, literally, a spring in his step.

He had a style that women admired and men wanted to emulate. One of my own sons wanted a Trivago-guy shirt for Christmas. I was surprised to discover that it was a very expensive, made-to-measure item and not the thrown-on-out-of-the-laundry-pile shirt I thought it to be.

I loved his image. The Trivago guy was everything I dream of in a bad boy.  You never get too old for fantasies, right?

Anyway, they killed the dream. Whoever makes the decisions for Trivago decided that he should become more clean-cut. Now he is clean shaven, has combed hair, and is wearing a suit! What were they thinking? He still has the flirty smile, but otherwise the bloom is off the rose. He has become the man my mother wishes I had married, and he has suddenly become less attractive.

Maybe my mother is haunting the board rooms of Trivago. She would do that. She always knew about the power of the appropriate image, and she never hesitated to let me know what that was.

I know the company took a lot of ribbing about the Trivago guy’s dishevelled look but, corporate people, that was your bread and butter. You killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, and I want it back.  Not the goose. The guy. The just-woke-up-on-the-beach guy.

When you don’t have much in the way of fantasies going on, it matters when you take one away.


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