The sad passing of Etta James last week reminded many of the tv ad that certified her as one of the greatest – and sexiest – female voices of our time. We all remember the infamous Diet Coke break ad, but seeing it again, 15 years later was intriguing. Whatever happened to ‘the hunk’ as a marketing ploy for women? The early nineties was a great time for us ladies – for once we weren’t depicted as simpering, weak-willed women, worrying about how to kill 99.9% of germs whilst desperately scanning the horizon for our knight in shining armor. We were ballsy ladettes, drooling over shirtless studs, having lots of Sex and The City, and reducing men everywhere to mere boys with our super-plunge Wonderbras. In the midst of economic crisis, surely the females need to feel the power once more? It’s just too easy to fall back on the stereotypical gender-based ideology and imagery; men butchly spritzing themselves with deodorant, while chicks collapse pathetically at their feet. Instead, everyone benefits from cultural signalling that makes women feel like fighting the good fight with the men. Beyonce and Gaga are busy doing their bit encouraging us to Run the World, but brands too need to help us create a self-image of ass-kicking, name-taking, recession-busting glamazons… with just a few moments to spare come 11.30!