The commercial opens on the Manhattan skyline at dawn. Quick cut to a random close up of some leaves, then a busy New York street scene.
The look is edgy, moody. The earnest piano music in the background signals we are about to hear Something Very Important.
Cut to an intense looking dude striding in slow motion down a gritty New York street. Intense Dude is clearly on a mission. He looks angry. The Dude's name dissolves up on screen: Chris Riccobono. Chris Ricco-what?? Hmm. His expression is rather scary. And Intense Dude gets even scarier when he opens his mouth. He sounds like a hipster mob boss from Jersey (apologies to my home state). His delivery is flat -- and deadly serious -- as as we hear his voiceover:
"The best ideas come from solving common problems."
Ok. I'll bite. What problem did Mr. Intensity solve? He drones on...
"My problem? Like a lot of other men, I couldn't find a shirt that looked good untucked."
Okay, stop right there. You couldn't find a shirt that looked good untucked?? Dude, THIS is your problem?
As our hero strides purposefully through the city streets in perpetual Slo-Mo, modeling a series of UNTUCKit creations, his voiceover continues:
"So this became my passion..." (Of course, it was just a matter of time before the dreaded "P" word was uttered).
"...to design a shirt that captures the perfect balance between length and fit." (Thank God someone finally tackled this sartorial crisis.)
"Easy to say. NOT that easy to do." (Really? Can't you just lop off the bottom 3 inches of the shirt?')
"But with some innovative design changes, we did it." (Oh, right, you're an Innovator...)
"OUR problem. MY solution...."
Cut to logo:
"UnTUCKIT.com." Fade to black.
Dude, you know what OUR problem is? It's pretentious, sanctimonious assholes like you who cloak themselves in self-righteousness while hawking their dubious "innovations".
When this commercial first aired, I honestly thought it was a spoof. But now, with UNTUCKit stores popping up faster than bacne on a teen, I know it's only too real. And I really can't get over it.
For me, this commercial — and the entire UNTUCKit phenomenon — encapsulates everything that is wrong with the world today. Ok, maybe not everything. But our current fetish with "innovation" and "innovators" is way out of control. And it seems like just about everybody is deep into the punch bowl.
I call it Silicon Valley Syndrome. Today, you can wrap just about anything in a shroud of self-important, self-congratulatory bullshit. The more trivial the idea, the better. As Sam Biddle says in his brilliant take-down of the hypocritical tech culture, "...this is why we have a start-up that mails your dogs curated treats". Bingo.
Chris Riccobono, the genius behind UNTUCKit, is just following in the mold of all those grandiose tech titans and start-up savants. In his "UNTUCKit, the Brand Story" spot, Mr. Riccobono comports himself with an air of grandiosity that would be laughable if it weren't so completely cringe-worthy. His shirts look nice enough. But he looks (and sounds) like a total asshole.
I'm not the only one who reacted this way to the UNTUCKit spot. Some of the comments on YouTube are priceless:
"That right there is some innovation (snicker). This is what happens when everyone gets a trophy...I guess everyone is also an innovator. Maybe they can work on car windows that can be rolled down next?"
"'My problem? I couldn't find a short that looked good untucked.' Hm, I don't think that is your problem."
"Elon Musk, move over."
"He's so brave to come forward with his story."
"So what, you guys made the shirts a little shorter?"
And my favorite:
"Next, he'll tackle world peace."
Clearly, a lot of folks have been snickering at this commercial. There must have been some backlash, because Mr. Riccobono felt the need to follow this spot up with a video explaining how "Sometimes, it's the smallest innovations that make the biggest change." While Mr. R. makes a valiant effort to appear likeable in the video, he can't hide his innate surliness (I can picture a marketer advising him, "Dude, for Pete's sake, lighten up.").
In another TV interview featured on a website called -- I'm not kidding -- HipNJ.com, Mr. RiccoB explains the genesis of UNTUCKit. He'd always hated how normal length shirts looked sloppy untucked. So he conducted a survey with men in his hometown of Hoboken, NJ. (the undisputed fashion capital of the world). Sure enough, all of these guys agreed with him! I can just picture those dudes sitting around, complaining about how those hideous, long, sloppy shirts had been destroying their carefully cultivated "look". It was high time someone disrupted this long-standing fashion faux pas. Mr. Riccobono to the rescue!
During the interview, we also learn that it took one year and 31 prototypes to get the perfect fit ("Everyone told me, 'We can't do it!"). But thank goodness, our intrepid entrepreneur persevered. Thus, after one year and endless design innovations, UNTUCKit was born. Crisis averted.
Like I said, I have no problem with the shirts. They look nice enough. It's the attitude I find so UNattractive.