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neither hipster, nor corporate shill... its the Dishevelled Trivago Guy
August 5, 2014 2:10 PM   Subscribe

what's with that guy?

Gone are the days of Mac vs PC, apparently. Tim Williams is the face of Trivago, a hotels.com me-too site that lets you search for... even more hotels.

While the site itself isn't terribly unique, the pitchman is. What's with the Trivago guy? Are we finally subjecting men to the same scrutiny as women? Why are we obsessed with the Trivago guy?

And of course, there's already a parody for that.
posted by St. Peepsburg (131 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
That guy is totally awesome - he is obviously a smoker, possibly in recovery of some form, and dresses like the guys down at Home Depot. And yet he is the raspy voice, mottled face, and nicotine stained fingers of a giant travel website.

It's genius counter casting. Or is it counter counter casting... uh wait a minute...
posted by helmutdog at 2:14 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Interesting that all the comments at the first link are about how creepy and dirty he looks. Elsewhere I've seen comments (primarily from gay men) about how rough and hot-looking he is. Me, I just think he's kind of odd-looking, maybe a little skeevy, ridden hard and put up wet. Slightly annoying, but not anywhere near as annoying as the GEICO gecko or the affluent hipsters who walk casually away from an exploding car in one of those car ads.
posted by blucevalo at 2:15 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


OMFG. I use the word hate very rarely in my life, but I. Hate. This. Guy. It's incredibly irrational, I know, but the phrase "with the heat of a thousand suns" comes to mind immediately.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:17 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


He's only 47?!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:17 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Huh.

Over here Trivago has just a cookie cutter cute Perky McPerkyson as their spokeswoman.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:17 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


"Hair and makeup, my ass. The last time a woman touched my hair was when she was picking pieces of a windshield out of it."
posted by theodolite at 2:23 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


If that guy's disheveled, I must look like I crawled out of a shipping crate after three months at sea.

Fine, I wouldn't wear those pants with that shirt, but whatever, he's a conventionally attractive guy who isn't glossed and pressed and airbrushed to typical commercial standards. If he were a rough-around-the-edges cop in a TV drama, he'd be appealing; he's just out of place in this type of shiny clean white-background ad.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:26 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


I ..don't get it? People kept talking about the "creepy Trivago guy" and I just see a ...German? A middle aged German? What am I missing here?
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


It's so weird because he looks pretty much exactly as I imagine I will in about 20 years. Similar hair, features, everything. We could be related. today i am not wearing a belt but at least my shirt isn't tucked in.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:29 PM on August 5


Oh, man, I look like that all the time. Apparently that's a bad thing. Major life re-assessment happening here now.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:29 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


I have seen that commercial and my only response was "Huh, he looks like he's related to Scott Bakula."
I am frequently amazed at the shit people obsess about.
He's a dude in a commercial. People actually pay attention to commericals?
Yeah. I'm oblivious.
posted by Seamus at 2:31 PM on August 5 [11 favorites]


I am convinced ts is a prank everybody else is in on but me.
posted by The Whelk at 2:33 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I've never thought he looked particularly skeevy or disheveled, but I have to say that the Trivago ads work. In a sense. I watch almost no television, and even fewer commercials. The first few times I saw that ad, probably when we were parked on the couch with a newborn, I remember saying, "what a stupid name; nobody will ever remember that."

Fast-forward four months and I've probably watched all of ten or fifteen hours of TV-with-ads in the meantime, and you bet your ass I remember Trivago. Ten years from now I'll probably think it was a boner pill, but at least I remember the name.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:33 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


His clothes and toillet are one thing, but his style of speaking is "hey, I've been around, I know what's what, let me tell you what's what, buddy, 'cuz you haven't been around like I've been around, so here's the straight story, and you're lucky you ran into me, because everybody else is going to give you some bullshit, but I'm giving it to you straight, here, pay for my drink." He makes me want to excuse myself to go to the john, and then leave through the back exit.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:33 PM on August 5 [26 favorites]


"Have you ever looked for a hotel room online? Did you notice that there's so many prices out there for the exact same room? Have you ever thought about how hard it is to tell from a website just which hotel has the most rooms facing away from the street? Or whether or not it's located in a nondescript part of town? Which one has desk staff that don't look to long at your face? Have you sat in a bar in a strange city, drinking by yourself and wondering about what happened in Tulsa? Or how the Bratislava job went south so quickly? Have you ever gone back to your room with a bottle of cheap blended scotch, and just stared at the wall, tipping your chair back slightly, and knowing that few other guests will be disturbed by the wracking coughs that occasionally overcome you, as you think about the people you left behind, and the lives you've taken? Just go to Trivago.com, type in where you want to go to escape your past, select your check-in and check-out dates, and search. You won't find the answers you're looking for, but at least you'll get a good rate."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:33 PM on August 5 [70 favorites]


I came in to say that I fucking hate this guy too. I feel this bizzare and disturbing mix of hate and nausea every time I see that damn commercial. CBC plays it incessantly.
posted by kitcat at 2:34 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


They were going for "slightly older (therefore trustworthy) but also a little stubble-y (rather than hipster beard)" and maybe their costume person/department didn't quite dress him right. Otherwise, I don't get the reaction. He's just a dude. Cleaned up a little, he'd be pretty hot. But I like gravelly voices.

I am usually first on the irrational-hate-stupid-face-punch-him-now train when it comes to smarmy TV dudes, but this guy isn't giving me that vibe. But then I've never seen this commercial before either.
posted by emjaybee at 2:36 PM on August 5


What in the hell is going on, this is a normal looking guy wearing a boring grey shirt. Is it cuz he's unbuttoned so far? I'm not seeing a 3-day beard or greasy messed up hair or anything. "Disheveled"?
posted by Hoopo at 2:36 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


I want yuletide fic of this guy and the "im the smartest raccoon i know" guy.
posted by elizardbits at 2:39 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


I mean I don't get "creepy" from his delivery as much as I get "wooden" and "Maaaaybe not English as a first language?"
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Thing is, I think part of it is HD. In the linked video on the first link, he does look pretty standard. On TV in HD, it's quite a different story.
posted by blucevalo at 2:41 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


This is really weird because I first noticed this guy today as I was eating lunch watching TV. He struck me as being from the cast of Under the Dome.

Slate has the funniest piece - the title is "The Least Interesting Man in the World" (playing off this of course) and this is from the piece:

"... sallow avatar of middle-aged masculinity, a found object and a cult item, an accidental enigma."

Sallow avatar of middle-aged masculinity... OUCH.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:42 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


I want yuletide fic of this guy and the "im the smartest raccoon i know" guy.

I just assume that is actually Duffy from 30 Rock, whom I, like Liz Lemon, find oddly compelling.

They spend Christmas with the Folgers incest couple.
posted by The Whelk at 2:42 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


He's not exactly disheveled, but there is just something...off about the ad, whether it's the guy himself, what he's wearing, and/or the copy.

The first time I saw this commercial, it was out of the corner of my eye, and I thought this guy was selling pants. The kind of pants you don't wear on a date, or, if a guy did, it was to put off a specific vibe, the kind of vibe that would ultimately end with the woman on the date answering her "get out of the date call" on the very first ring.
posted by barchan at 2:43 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I mean I don't get "creepy" from his delivery as much as I get "wooden" and "Maaaaybe not English as a first language?"
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on August 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


Oh! So he *is* from the cast of Under the Dome...
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:43 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


The Trivago ad in these here parts has the most annoying, self-absorbed female character in recorded history in it.

And hey ad companies ... when casting men it is conceivable that they might not have a beard. Fucking beards. I'm waiting until they're not trendy anymore, then I'm having a beard.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:47 PM on August 5


OMG, I thought I was the only one bothered by that guy. Whenever I mention it, nobody seems to think I'm just being a crank.

I guess he doesn't look unusually dirty and disheveled for a person in real life or anything (that's about my grooming level right now, except my hair has more sticking out parts), but for a television spokesperson, it stands out. And I just couldn't figure out what motivated that. it would be so easy to button his shirt, get him a belt, and just clean him up a tetch for the teevee that I figured they must be trying for something, but I couldn't figure out what.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:47 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


So, having studied this guy more than I should to figure out what exactly it is that bugs me, in the commercials I've seen him in I have to say it's a combination of:

* no belt,
* deep unbuttoned shirt,
* looks sweaty/slightly sick,
* weird gestures that don't quite match up with the visuals, and
* that there doesn't seem to be a need for this product so the commercial seems like a parody.

All of this combines into some sort of weird pitchman Uncanny Valley that is Trivago Guy
posted by DCCooper at 2:48 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


HD makes everyone look ghoulish and waxy I hate it
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


"primarily from gay men"

Sign me up.

Otherwise, yes, it's weird that there's so much energy being poured into this guy. Lancing the guy who got paid a little to read ad copy in front of a camera doesn't strike me as anything but mean, no matter how much one gussies that approach up with "but but women get mean comments too." Uh, ok, so stop being purposefully mean about personal appearance?
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:49 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


This whole thing is weird. That's a normal guy. I feel like I'm watching a secret-pod-people conversation.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:54 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't really give this guy a second thought. The service on the other hand, just seems like some kind of Silicon Valley insanity. These ads are on all the time, and it's for a product that's not in any way innovative or needed. Why does such a boring website have such a massive marketing campaign? I can't figure it out.
posted by zixyer at 2:55 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I realize that one doesn't generally post on metafilter to express a complete lack of opinion, but since that seems to be an unusual state with regards to this guy, let me just say this: Never noticed him, though I've seen the commercial many times. Now that I watch the commercial purposefully, I see nothing calling my attention at all. I don't see disheveled or well-dressed. Attractive or unattractive. If English isn't his first language, I haven't seen anything to point that that. His voice doesn't bother me nor do I find it especially appealing. He's a guy one a commercial. I see somehow has said he looks like a smoker -- yeah, I can sort of see that, I guess, but only because you mention it and I"m looking for it.

On preview, I have re-watched in HD. I guess he's a little wrinklier than most people allowed to be on TV, but again, it's something I kind of sort of see when I go out of my way to study his face. For all I know, other actors are equally wrinkly and I just never noticed because i don't go out of my way to study their faces.

In conclusion: Meh. Never noticed him and I have no idea what you all are seeing.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:59 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


For me it's the wrinkly shirt that's rolled up to his forearms. I mean, you either roll up your sleeves all the way to your elbows to show that you're here to get some work done, OR you keep them buttoned to show that your competent and punctual. The forearm roll just makes it look like you just got off a long workday and settling in for Happy Hour at Applebee's.
posted by FJT at 3:05 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


UGGGHhhhh I hate this guy and his creepy unbuttoned shirt and his weird 5th wave web travel booking company and it seems like they are both dog-whistling for some kind of Ashley Madison service or something it makes me so uncomfortable just why do we need either of them stoooooooop talking to meeeeee about hotel rooms, guy

Thank you for posting this. I groan every time he comes on TV and no one I know has sympathized with me.
posted by tyrantkitty at 3:07 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


The "lone spokesperson in an empty space" style of commercial tends to invite criticism of that spokesperson. I remember a lot of people wondering what was up with the Overstock.com spokesperson from several years back. Why is she wearing pigtails? Is she supposed to be our friend, our coworker, or someone we want to sleep with? Is she saying "clothes" or "codes"? People just didn't get her.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:07 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


...his clothes have been woken up in. The man is seedily creased, grayly stubbled, distractingly beltless...

...dresses like the guys down at Home Depot...

Holy fucking christ. 'distractingly beltless'? Really? And people wonder why advertising agencies feel the need to craft and manipulate and airbrush every pixel of every image of every frame of everything they do?

Guess what you insane internet people: That is what a guy looks like. Like an actual person who might not have the time and inclination to fuss about fashion or photo-shoot grooming because maybe he has other more pressing things to do or responsibilities or whatever. Is it weird that they didn't primp him out for a TV commercial? Yeah I guess, but that is what a guy looks like who doesn't fucking care what some asshat sartorialist prick - whether on a blog or in GQ - says about whether or not he should be wearing a belt.

He's like the guy behind you in line at the supermarket or at the post office and there is nothing odd about him to the vast majority of people who actually walk around and live in this country and go about their lives. To anyone but the fashion police and the click-baiters and the breathless bloggers high on their own sanctimonious snark this dude is like maximum normal.
posted by jnnla at 3:07 PM on August 5 [26 favorites]


I think it helps if you understand that, these days, 'creepy' is a kind of shorthand for 'male and over 35'.
posted by pipeski at 3:12 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]


Excuse the only people behind me in supermarkets are ballerinas, soap opera actors, or Andy Cohen.

*sniff*

( Also those old Overstock ads hit the same place as Lumosity ads as in Maybe A Cult?)
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


(It's...all about the O ...it's just like a game ....SEND US YOUR TEETH okay maybe only I hear that last bit)
posted by The Whelk at 3:19 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


The first time I saw this ad, I thought it was a Cinco spot that had escaped from Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.
posted by jackrational at 3:20 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


That is what a guy looks like. Like an actual person who might not have the time and inclination to fuss about fashion or photo-shoot grooming because maybe he has other more pressing things to do or responsibilities or whatever.

Just like it would be weird and off-putting for Billy Mays to come to my house and, in the kitchen, start yelling and gesticulating wildly about the weather (even more weird because he died, but you know), it is weird for this super-casz beltless semi-buttoned dude to murmur ad copy at me from my tv. It's the dissonance (primarily, anyway).

I think it helps if you understand that, these days, 'creepy' is a kind of shorthand for 'male and over 35'.

We had no problem with Dennis Haysbert!
posted by tyrantkitty at 3:21 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


I mean I don't get "creepy" from his delivery as much as I get "wooden" and "Maaaaybe not English as a first language?"

Yeah, the real uncanny valley isn't his appearance but the weird accent — he sounds like a Texan trying to sound like he's from Ohio or something — and more than anything the bizarre line-readings. The way he fucks up the emphasis in "online," in that first link, is the kind of thing that prompts you to imagine Orson Welles screaming "that's impossible" at his director. I think people are reading the weirdness of the ads themselves into the spokesman.
posted by RogerB at 3:22 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


He reminds me of the dad from Troll 2.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:22 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Also, how about those weird dubbed-over PayPal ads? The one with the blonde lady is mystifying, especially the American version.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:25 PM on August 5


Look if it's got belt loops you wear a belt, or a piece of rope you've found, or something.
posted by angerbot at 3:29 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


I'm with the "I just don't see it" crowd. Never seen the ad before, now I watched it 4 times, trying to see what the fuss was about. His clothing is a bit casual, a bit rumpled, maybe one too many buttons open at the neck, but nothing to get skeeved about. Weird.
posted by MythMaker at 3:29 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


Well, he's from Texas but lives in Berlin.
I would imagine that explains what people perceive as a weird accent.

(Isn't the company German? He was chosen by a German company for an ad to be run in the States. I guess they did it wrong.)

Also, I wear a belt because if I don't, my pants fall down.
The belt requirement is just another one of those sartorial rules that makes no sense and makes people like me think that the fashion insistent are totally weird.
posted by Seamus at 3:31 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Ted is the guy I want to put through a Silkwood shower.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:32 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Thank you Sticherbeast! I thought I was the only one who spent way too much time trying to figure out what the the blonde PayPal woman's native language was - German? Afrikaans?
posted by bartleby at 3:32 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Also the guy who does the voice-over for Chrishhin Mingle.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:32 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


I definitely don't hate him because of his appearance. Nor do I find him sexually creepy. He's kind of attractive (I'm female as a data point) and has real sex appeal. I think I hate him precisely because he seems so real while hocking this ridiculously superfluous and redundant service. Like, he's that older dude I met outside the bar having a cigarette and had a short but 'real' conversation with after a bad year of cynicism and left thinking 'hey, the world has people with souls in it after all'. But now it's clear that he's not who I thought he was. It turns out he's really slick and what I thought couldn't be faked can be after all...Ugh. I wish someone could describe this better than I can.
posted by kitcat at 3:33 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


Oh, also, I think the attention the TV ad guy is getting is because he doesn't look like a TV ad guy. He looks like someone you might encounter in real life and think normal, which is different from 'TV normal'.
posted by bartleby at 3:34 PM on August 5


> Holy fucking christ. 'distractingly beltless'? Really? And people wonder why advertising agencies feel the need to craft and manipulate and airbrush every pixel of every image of every frame of everything they do?

I think you've got the causation backwards. People look like this in real life all the time, and it is normal and OK. But advertising agencies don't use normal looking people, so seeing one as a spokesperson is unusual.

As an American, British TV even looks a little weird at first because most people on American TV are unusually pretty and impeccably groomed. We're not used to TV people looking like real life people. It's unsettling, like they're up to something.

PS Troy Patterson is the best and handsomest.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:44 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I've never seen this guy, but I thought I had, and that people were talking about the MyCleanPC guy.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:44 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


AND I hate him because he reminds me that I am a middle-aged woman who has older man crushes from time to time, which doesn't even make sense because my actual husband is only a few years older than him so part of me is clearly stuck in my early 20s...and why am I preoccupied with this OMG I want to SCREAM!!!!!
posted by kitcat at 3:44 PM on August 5


I think it helps if you understand that, these days, 'creepy' is a kind of shorthand for 'male and over 35'.

Apparently you've never seen a commercial for an American truck company.
posted by barchan at 3:45 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Weird. I only watch sports on TV live and encountered this commercial endlessly during the World Cup. I too thought: what's with this dude? Why's he in the commercial? WHAT'S GOING ON IT'S WEIRD. I don't really know why either. As per above it's like he was sent here from outer space as aliens who studied really hard to make a robot look like an average dude but they didn't get all the pieces quite right and it's tripping our uncanny valley sensors.

He doesn't exist in nature inasmuch as I think he's probably mainly designed to be what hipsters imagine themselves to be in the future - cool and belt-less and skinny-jeaned, engineer boot type with a little bit of stubble. I am cool but I have lived and this is our little secret. At the same time they're appealing to older people (grey) and hey, everyone likes handsome no matter who you are.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:47 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Apparently you've never seen a commercial for an American truck company.

Or Cialis ads with the Malibu Road Band.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:48 PM on August 5


Apparently you've never seen a commercial for an American truck company


Or Viagra. Which often features trucks.

As an American, British TV even looks a little weird at first because most people on American TV are unusually pretty and impeccably groomed. We're not used to TV people looking like real life people. It's unsettling, like they're up to something.

We are currently watching old episodes of The Twilight Zone on Netflix and I cannot. stop. looking. at. people's. teeth.
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


Apparently you've never seen a commercial for an American truck company.

Or a Gold Bond Medicated Powder commercial featuring Steve Buscemi.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:58 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I'm a male of about that age and to me he reminds me of the guys of my cohort who were the cool, dangerous kids you know, about 30 years ago... The kind of '70s or '80s cool vibe that's so funny and incongruous when The Onion spoofs VP Biden, but here it's in an uncanny valley because he can almost but not quite pull it off to those who were raised with certain presentations and intonations being cool. It's similar to that eerie feeling I have when I remembered that the women in college I was drawn to were all into '80s metal band guitarists with big hair, and that's burned into my mind (the cool kids are like that) but nobody in their right mind thinks that look is cool now.
posted by Schmucko at 4:25 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


I should add: I don't have a problem with how the guy looks, in general. I don't find him creepy or anything, but I just can't figure out why they would carefully choose that look for a TV commercial. It's a perfectly fine look, but it makes zero sense for a spokesman to me.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:34 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I'd never seen the ad, but he doesn't seem as creepy as the creepily pleasant "helpful Honda guys" TV/radio commercials, which I guess are the complete opposite.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:36 PM on August 5


Sortof embarrassed that I know what this is about but I noticed that ad and that it was "just off" in some way right from the first viewing. And being of the demo that does not find all of "us" (male older than 27) intrinsically creepy (well yes some) but the entire ad was just off. Now was the "off"ness intentional? I'm betting there were hours of meetings discussing just how "off" it should be to make an impression. We here in this discussion are validating the work of a few really talented, yet creatively and intellectually creepy, Madison avenue executives.
posted by sammyo at 4:37 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I feel like this is relevant.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:40 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


I doubt there were lengthly meetings about how to make it just a bit ‘off’ or something along those lines.

With headquarters in Germany the most likely explanation is that it’s just a poorly produced commercial by people in another country that apes an ‘American’ style. It’s cheap and ‘one-takey’ - notice the weird inflections, etc.
posted by jettloe at 4:59 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


He seems to have some kind of palsy affecting the left side of his mount.
posted by davel at 5:01 PM on August 5


I recall seeing this commerical once upon a time, maybe a month ago. Sure enough, foreshadowing this thread's existence, I recall having a reaction beyond the normal "meh, when is my program returning??"

It was: whoa! spokeperson/salesman who carries a look in line with my general 3/4-kempt appearance! I could have never imagined this look had such advertising potential!

...I'm not googling to check if such a version exists, but I swear that the commercial continued to promote "trivago.ca", and at once I quickly categorized my initial thoughts as, "oh, yeah, it's a Canadian look."
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 5:01 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


This is what the patriarchy looks like.
posted by huguini at 5:02 PM on August 5


I couldn't help but laugh uncontrollably through that whole ad. There is just something so weird about it, and I don't know what it is either.

The guy reminds me of this boss I once had who was in his 40s but definitely still trying to be cool in this sort of debauched, dissipated way. Like he'd hit on a few ways of dressing, acting, flirting, being when he was 23. And when he was 23, those ways had allowed him at least an aura of coolness and maturity, because they made him seem older and wise to the ways of the world to other 23-year-olds. But when you're still peddling that schtick at 45 or whatever, it's just kinda weird and off-putting.

Come to think of it, this boss dressed pretty much exactly the same as well.
posted by lunasol at 5:03 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised people watch TV commercials with the sound on. The great revolutionary invention of my lifetime was the mute button, right up there with Space Food Sticks and free porn. I'd never heard this commercial until now. That said, I must concur, even with the SOUND OFF I thought this guy was strangely off-putting. I assumed I was the only one, but clearly I'm not.
posted by Tube at 5:03 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


...I'm not googling to check if such a version exists, but I swear that the commercial continued to promote "trivago.ca", and at once I quickly categorized my initial thoughts as, "oh, yeah, it's a Canadian look.

I am Canadian and one of the people who have no idea what you're all on about. Maybe whatever is off about this guy is okie-doke with Canadians, like the flapping heads on South Park.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:10 PM on August 5


As scruffy, enigmatic spokesmen go, this guy ain't diddly-shit next to the My Clean PC guy. Around my house we call him the hobo Matrix agent. The freaky thing is, I think that's exactly what they were going for. He talks like Agent Smith and he's got the suit and everything, but he looks like he slept under a bridge. I think they even put a little dark makeup under his eyes, so he looks extra sickly.

I can't remember the product, but there's a commercial making the rounds right now where this vaguely Latin guy is looking right at you while he goes on about flavor, and it's so intense and weird and sexual that it seems sort of like a parody and sort of like he's about to eat your liver. Ring any bells with anybody?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:11 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


I'm exactly this man's age, have the same body shape, and wear similar clothing. I'm often a bit unshaven, just like him. My tone of voice is similar. I'm not as handsome as he is. It's off-putting to hear so many negative opinions about him, because whatever you think about him, you would probably think about me, or worse.

I've been thinking about this need to have opinions about strangers recently, because Tom Petty has a new album out. Tom Petty has been on the radio and thus "in my life" since I was 11, and I've had many thoughts about him, none of them kind, in the intervening 36 years. Tom Petty has never done me any harm, but I've been mentally shitting on him for 3/4 of my life. Just a week ago, I wondered what it would be like if Tom Petty had spent the past 36 years expressing lazy opinions about my worth, just dropping tweets from time to time, like "[Ferdydurke] is a creeper! He looks so dirty to me! Oh yea, he does have a weird body and that gray shirt doesn't help." as a commenter in the first link writes.

So anyway, now I know.
posted by ferdydurke at 5:21 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Why is his torso so long? What is he doing with his arms? Why are those graphics so crappy? Why does he have no accent except on certain vowels when he has ALL THE ACCENT? Why is he lit like an interrogation room from a 1980s cop show?

Why, LORD ABOVE WHY, is he so weirdly intense about a service for which numerous options already exist???

(I've been actively avoiding looking at the TV when he's on it for a month, but hadn't examined why I found him unsettling. I'm relieved it's not just me.)
posted by mostlymartha at 5:22 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


Over here Trivago has just a cookie cutter cute Perky McPerkyson as their spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the only Trivago adverts I've come across are the ones on the Tube, featuring a character who looks confusingly like Mr Lazy (of the British picture book series Mr Men).
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:23 PM on August 5


Pssst. PSSSSST. Over here.

If you have Xfinity, click here.

If you have Comcast, click here.

You don't have to suffer through Trivago, Christian Mingle, or "Chicken Fat" ever again!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:27 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


I saw this commercial a lot during the World Cup, with the sound both on and off. Yes, there is something odd about it. What I find off-putting is not so much how he is dressed as how he moves. When he walks towards the camera, he does something akin to a runway model walk, with one foot straight in front of the other, not parallel to each other. And when he is standing still, he doesn't stand up straight - he always has one shoulder dropped, or one hip jutted out, or one arm held at an awkward angle.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:30 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Ferdydurke: I'm no Tom Petty, this isn't a tweet, and I've never actually seen you, but based on your description, I think you look just fine. Carry on with that just-being-some-guy look you have going on. It's fine by me. If anyone gives you any trouble, consider moving to Canada.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:32 PM on August 5


What is: Malbec?? ...a field, a galloping horse, a sunset, a dream... Malbec is.. trapiche. is argentina
posted by theodolite at 5:35 PM on August 5


It's the accent and the kind of Euro-tint jeans. Also, it's for a useless website and he's trying to tell you the features it has which are the SAME ones as every there hotel booking site! I CAN SEARCH BY RATING OH MY GOD LET ME GET MY VC.
posted by marylynn at 5:37 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


He reminds me weirdly of Bob Benson from Mad Men. Like, this is where Bob ended up after the ad charade played itself out.
posted by COBRA! at 5:48 PM on August 5 [10 favorites]


Ferdyduke: Years ago, I read a review by Robert Hilburn in the Los Angeles Times which referred to Tom Petty as a "bleating scarecrow" and I have never gotten that description out of my head. And I like Tom Petty.

In conclusion, I have no point.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:50 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Ursula: that's an El Pollo Loco commercial, I believe.
posted by persona au gratin at 6:10 PM on August 5


I logged in just to say this:

I have zero doubt in my mind that had David Morrissey not been available, this guy would have played The Governor on The Walking Dead.
posted by Thistledown at 6:22 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


I think people are just getting too used to the android perfection of newscasters and ad actors and so on these days, almost all of whom look horrifyingly artificial to me, at least.

Christ, I wish I was as good-looking and... heveled as this guy. It would take some work for me (at just-turned-49 and in good shape but not that good) to get cleaned up to that level of dissipated-and-rumpled.

That is what a guy looks like. Like an actual person who might not have the time and inclination to fuss about fashion or photo-shoot grooming because maybe he has other more pressing things to do or responsibilities or whatever. Is it weird that they didn't primp him out for a TV commercial?

Here's the thing, though: I have no doubt that they spent hours of getting the hair and stubble and faux-casually-rumpled wardrobe just right to project that air of casualness, so it's almost certainly just another flavor of artifice. I'm not saying that the actor doesn't look much the same in his everyday life, but capturing that for a camera I have no doubt was not a matter of just pushing him onto a soundstage after he'd had a quick smoke.

Now I feel dirty and stupid for even talking about this. Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:25 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


My wife is disturbed by the length of his torso.
posted by charred husk at 6:51 PM on August 5


Wow, that's mostly how I dress. With the shirt untucked. older, more beard, less ( a LOT less) hair, short, and kind of ugly. Now I feel sad.
posted by evilDoug at 7:00 PM on August 5


Trivago guy? I'd go drinkin' with that dude. But the Usell.com guy? I just want to punch him in the face.
posted by spilon at 7:48 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


The difference between the criticism of this guy and the usual criticism of women is that most people are criticizing this man's grooming, which could be fixed in 5 minutes with a shave, a belt, and a button. Most criticism of women in the media involves their weight, boob size, skin, hair, perceived femininity, etc. Not things they can change quickly, if at all.
posted by desjardins at 7:52 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


And all you guys that are feeling put down by this - if you're going to the grocery store, or even for drinks with friends, you're just fine. You're normal. If you're on an international TV commercial, maybe clean up a bit.
posted by desjardins at 7:54 PM on August 5


Maybe he used his belt to strangle the last person who criticized his looks
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:06 PM on August 5 [10 favorites]


I don't really agree with this supposed need for cleaning up. Or a belt. Or even another button closed. But I do think his look is very deliberate. That someone has made a lot of specific decisions about how he should look as a hip, attractive, slightly older dude. (But not too old. Gray-haired, but still quite attractive, don'tcha know? Appealing to both men and women. And anyone else too!)

I seem to start a conversation about this guy every time he is on. But it's no slag on him whatsoever, he's quite an attractive guy.
posted by Glinn at 8:39 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


The difference between the criticism of this guy and the usual criticism of women is that most people are criticizing this man's grooming

That is probably indeed so, but the reason that people are talking about grooming/demeanor/voice/posture/gestures is because in terms of physicality, he's basically a middle-aged male model with a thin veneer of spray-on authenticity and a dash of rote-masculinity talcum powder: not so much, I suspect, because of his gender.

Also, you'll note that someone did mention his hyper-long torso, which is, one must admit, really really long. But you know: who gives a damn, as long as he doesn't have teeny little donald duck legs, I guess?

So: point taken, of course, and it's a fair one, but.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:42 PM on August 5


Now that Toaster Strudel kid, that's some sick shit right 'tare.
posted by sharksandwich at 8:48 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Trivago clearly knows their target market, and this guy is the embodiment of that. Their customer is the baby-boomer who is old enough to remember when everybody in the office got their first IBM PC clone at their desk, but not young enough to have grown up with a Commodore 64 in their bedroom. This demographic has never really trusted the internet and not so secretly thinks it preys on their ignorance. They've bought airline tickets online (hey, they aren't grandma) in the past, but they were really annoyed to discover the price changed while they were browsing around.
posted by spudsilo at 9:22 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]



He reminds me weirdly of Bob Benson from Mad Men.


I was thinking the same thing. So maybe that's why I find this guy strangely attractive?
posted by littlesq at 9:27 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Huh, I find him attractive as well. This seems to be a sort of cilantro / PTC situation.

It probably doesn't hurt that to me, he looks like he'd fit in perfectly as the slightly-older guy in my music composer circle of friends; he has that frazzled, pack-a-day "my client has no idea what they want and I haven't slept more than 4 hours in a month" look which I know all too well. Just want to hug him and tell him it's okay, just hold down C5 on Omnisphere for 2 minutes when you get back from your trip, and call it a day.
posted by jake at 9:49 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


i just want to know what's up with CRAZY BEARD GUYS
so many
some look like hobos in suits (vonage) some look like male models wearing a costume beard
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:48 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


[...] he's a conventionally attractive guy who isn't glossed and pressed and airbrushed to typical commercial standard [...]

Another way of saying this: "He looks attainable."
posted by yonega at 3:55 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Man, so weird of a reaction to me.

He looks like a completely unremarkable TV spokesman to me. Reasonably attractive if I take the time to think about it, but otherwise... 100% shruggo?

But as someone pointed out above, it's very usual for TV people in Britain to look more or less like the rest of us. Personally, that's something I'm really glad of. The weird buffed-up polished-down supermodel look of American TV is equally weird/mildly-unpleasant to me.
posted by Drexen at 4:07 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I find the Trivago guy creepy, although I really don't know why.

Ted the Milkbone Guy is WAY creepier, though; nobody should be that bug-eyed happy about dog treats.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:02 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


dresses like the guys down at Home Depot

I can't help but wonder if the Home Depot you frequent is somewhat different than the Home Depots that I have experienced.
posted by snottydick at 8:24 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


OMFG. I use the word hate very rarely in my life, but I. Hate. This. Guy. It's incredibly irrational, I know, but the phrase "with the heat of a thousand suns" comes to mind immediately.

Here in the frozen north, we went through this stuff more than a decade ago with The Canadian Tire Guy (Ted Simonett, actually) whose commercials were retired because of the incessant mockery, widespread hatred and parodies.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:00 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


As a mildly-interesting bit of info that probably has nothing to do with the ad but it's oddly fitting, "Trivago" could be read in spanish as the prefix "Tri" (Three times, as tricampeón) and "vago" (which can mean vague and lazy, but also vagrant or hobo). Hobo x 3.

Personally, the first thing I was reminded of was of Uncharted's Nathan Drake, who is a rough adventurer and looks like it (he has a belt, but he always has his shirt only half-tucked). That was kind of the impression I got form the guy: "I wasn't here for the ad, I was pulled from other activity I was currently doing, otherwise I would've changed clothes. But this is important."

Someone mentioned the CINCO ads, and the controversy really ties with the core message of a lot of Tim and Eric skits. They have this production formats and formulas already set in stone (advertising, morning shows, variety shows) but they cast actors who don't look "TV pretty" but who otherwise have nothing wrong with them physically (their acting ability is another matter). With our own expectations in place, we could be tempted to say "hey, get off the stage, you don't belong there". Knowing how ridiculous TV is, Tim and Eric fire back: "why not?"
posted by infinitelives at 9:26 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Oh, huh. So that's not Colin Ferguson slummin' it.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:58 AM on August 6


I've never seen these commercials, and I didn't find anything out of the ordinary about this guy, but the ensuing discussion about commercial pitchmen reminded me that Sheriff Carter from "Eureka" is the new Maytag Man.

While I'm glad to see him getting work, it bums me out, because I miss Eureka.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:05 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


pxe2000, funny you should mention.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:05 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


That guys looks like he smells of vodka and cigarettes.
He looks like the kind of person that tries to get your attention in the parking lot of the supermarket to tell you a sob story about how he just needs $14.50 to buy the tire for his 1992 toyota to make it back to see his daughter in the hospital.

He does not inspire confidence or trust in the brand being advertised.
posted by exparrot at 10:48 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I don't get it either. My friends have mentioned it, my parents (of the same age as this dude) have mentioned it, now MeFi.

The only weird thing I see is the lights shining directly in his eyes. His eyes look really glossy and the white reflection over the pupils make his eyes look otherworldly.
posted by Monochrome at 12:19 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I find this phenomenon sufficiently odd that I'm getting to the bottom of this: Please take the Trivago Guy Survey only if you have seen the commercial and regardless of whether your opinion or positive, negative or neutral.

I should note that it does include a question about what people like/dislike about him. I left off some things I've seen here -- even things I've said myself -- because it just feels weird and yucky to be rating some things about a person's appearance, particularly those things that are inherent to the person and not choices made by an ad agency.

I will post results when 100 people have answered (the limit for free surveys) or when nobody is filling it out. Whichever comes first.

And yes, this is super-unscientific, I know.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:38 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


Please take the Trivago Guy Survey

I'm a little unsure about Question 6: Which do you like best? Yes No
posted by achrise at 1:55 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


oops...it's one of the surveyMonkey default questions that kept showing up and I kept removing. It looks like at least once I changed the answer options instead of removing it.

If you answer it, I'll just treat it as a sort or Rorscharch on your general orientation to life. ;)
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:59 PM on August 6


Why is his torso so long?

Long waisted. I'm built exactly the same way. My reaction to seeing that video just now was "hey he looks like me". I'm 6'2" but have only 32" long legs which means that my torso is 2 to 4 inches longer than most people my height.

You don't want to sit behind me in a theater.
posted by octothorpe at 4:00 PM on August 6


I like Yes better than No.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:26 AM on August 7


God, I'm about this guy's age and I just got up for coffee and found that I (completely inadvertantly...this is my first cup) had that same button unbuttoned. But damn if he doesn't look way older than me and I'm wearing a belt. Advantage = me.
posted by malocchio at 8:06 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


he looks like he had a drunken hookup, left before his partner woke up, and forgot his belt in the hotel room.
posted by desjardins at 9:20 AM on August 7


What's funny is that in two of the linked articles they interview Trivago guy and he basically admits that there were stylists who gave him his look before they shot the ad, meaning they either told him "no belt" or let him film it without one. The "disheveled" look is calculated. Those clothes aren't even his.
posted by jpolorolu at 11:22 AM on August 7


I cannot be happier that If only I had a penguin... made a survey about this guy and I filled it out enthusiastically. There has always been something unsettling about him that I've had a hard time putting my finger on. And it's not really his looks, because he's an attractive dude.

Anyway, I still like him better than anyone in the DealDash.com commercial. If you have to call yourself "the fair and honest bidding site," you probably aren't.
posted by misskaz at 11:54 AM on August 7


Update: I just saw a new Trivago ad where his shirt is ironed, the sleeves are unrolled, and only one button is undone. Furthermore, he's wearing a belt. Now that he's less rumpled, it's just his voice, mannerisms, and gaze that weird me out.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:27 PM on August 7


Maybe they are playing a long con? Start him out looking like a rumpled alcoholic drifter and gradually shift his look/voice/everything so that by the end you can't help but think he is the most fashionable, appealing man in the world?
posted by Rock Steady at 2:06 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Maybe that's why we have this negative subconscious reaction... He looks like a frustrated, hapless victim of the competition, instead of a happy, content Trivago customer.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:37 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I mentioned this in If only I had a penguin...'s survey, but I suspect it's something about the accent that's driving a lot of this. Multiple people in the thread have mentioned something about it being a little off, and that struck me as odd given that he sounded totally normal to me. (He also looks utterly ordinary, even quite handsome, to me.)

I'm Australian though, so that leads me to wonder if the US Mefites who are reacting strongly to him are picking up something that I (and other non-US types) don't have enough immersion in US accents to notice.

Maybe it's subtle enough to be pinging people's WRONG WRONG WRONG sensors, but not so much that they're consciously able to realise what it is?
posted by pseudonymph at 7:09 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


he looks like he had a drunken hookup, left before his partner woke up, and forgot his belt in the hotel room.

I wanna know more about what happened to the belt

I'm picturing the belt hitch hiking down the highway like Stewie imitating the incredible hulk
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:42 PM on August 7


There are 33 responses as of now, but they're trickling in, so I'm not shutting it down yet.

I won't give away any results yet, but when I do have the final results, does anyone know how I could post them? I think I can make a PDF showing the results overall and broken down by sex, age, canadiannness, britishness, and general life orientation. Is there some imugr type site for PDFs where I can put this when it's done?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:01 PM on August 7


can you just take screen shots of the PDFs? and then post them to imugr
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:00 AM on August 8


Scribd, I assume.
posted by Monochrome at 3:21 PM on August 10


The results are now available on scribd, here.

Sorry about the crappy formatting and because it's screen-captured, it's not searchable. 've provided overall results, followed by results divided by sex, age, Britishness and Canadianness and Yes/No Preference.

As a free bonus: I was watching this commercial today with my mom. I asked her what she thinks of Trivago guy and she said "He's really good looking, but dirty."

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
-A slight minority feel negatively about Trivago guy.
- 2/3 of responding mefites prefer yes.
- Intonation/Manner of Speaking and Number of Buttons Buttoned, are the most negatively viewed characteristics.
- General attractivneess and hair are most positively viewed.
- Females are more likely to view Trivago guy negatively.
- Posture/Walk is the Trivago guy characteristic on which men and women differ most.
- People who prefer no, especially dislike Trivago guy.
- People who prefer yes are more likely to be neutral on Trivago guy's characteristics.-
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:03 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


They're turning this debate into yet more free publicity, of course.
posted by pahalial at 4:46 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


pahalial: "They're turning this debate into yet more free publicity, of course."

I called it.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:16 AM on August 28


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