Trim, young males with just enough facial stubble look generally svelte on the subway or the dance floor in their slim-fitting suits.
But, wait! Who's the grizzled guy with the gray beard?
That's George Zimmer, 64, founder of Men's Wearhouse in the retailer's recent "Slim is In" ads.
No more. On Wednesday, Zimmer's was out - with little explanation - as the company's $2-million-a-year spokesman.
Zimmer may have seemed an odd juxtaposition for a brand trying to be hip, but an older face works for Dos Equis beer, says Eric Gustavsen of branding company Graj + Gustavsen. "There's a tipping point between being aspirational and just being old or irrelevant. Dos Equis' 'Most Interesting Man in the World' holds mystique to a younger person."
Old Spice, on the other hand, had a good long ride with its grizzled sailor, but now, Gustavsen says, "It feels likes it's in the past."
That's how the Zimmer ads were starting to feel for Bertrand Pellegrin, author of Branding the Man and founder of San Francisco consultancy b. on brand. "In the early days, George Zimmer came off as a city slicker who could sell you style at a competitive price - he later began to feel like your father. Would you buy a suit from your father?"
Pellegrin says Gen Y shoppers are savvy about style and want "silhouettes that reflect a more athletic, urbane attitude to dressing." He says Men's Wearhouse suits seem more like the "sack suits" of the '40s and '50s.
The publicity over Zimmer's unceremonious ouster also could help the company, says consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, a marketing and psychology professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. "It is a bit of a dusty brand, This will blow away some of the dust."
A new face could boost the company's image with younger buyers - or backfire if it's the wrong face, says Gustavsen. "It's easier for me to imagine a young person being more OK with an older spokesman hands-down over a cool, 25-year-old suave guy who might seem like pandering."
Story: Men's Wearhouse fires founder George Zimmer
Yarrow agrees an older face for the brand can help, noting Men's Wearhouse leans toward the "starter suit" that comes with assistance coordinating an office look. "For people who don't have a lot of experience buying suits, they make it easy. And sometimes young men do need to impress the sixtysomething boss."
But consumer Tony Bissell says it probably was time for Zimmer to go. The 27-year-old microbiologist in Somerville, Mass., has bought several suits at Men's Wearhouse, even though he doesn't wear them to work, and thinks it needs to work on its customer service and its image.
"In a tech world that seems to be moving away from suits, they need to innovate. That's not happening with a 64-year-old founder," he says.
Zimmer's exit is "the natural progression for a brand's development," Pellegrin says. "You can never be wholly dependent on any spokesperson, especially when the product barely supports the promise."