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Enough of Tough

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Old Brawny Man is blond, strapping and lumberjacky. Will his successor be dependable, sensitive and poetic?

Since his debut in 1975, OBM has lost his ax, switched from flannel to denim, trimmed his mus tache and moved his hair part to the side. But, as Martyn Straw memorably said, he still looks "like a 1970s porn star." "He does seem diametri cally opposed to clean ing," admits Michael Adams, Brawny marketing honcho at Georgia-Pacific Co. But New Brawny Man isn't. He loves to clean and do chores and be a good guy. To find him, the client set up BrawnyMan.com (a site that, frankly, was lucky not to provoke Adweek's anti-Web-smut software) and asked for nominations. "We knew we'd get the physical side, but we were surprised by the richness of the essays, the value entrants put on individuals who are always there for them," says Adams. "The little things—guys getting up early on Saturday to do chores."

A rescue diver, a fire fighter, a firefighter-turned-risk-manager, a para medic and a social worker are now duking it out to be NBM (or they would be, if fighting weren't so passé). The top vote getter will appear on packaging until spring 2003. No doubt he will be much like "Mr. Sensitive," the charac ter who appeared on Brawny Man.com after Shoptalk took the advice to "Create your own Brawny Man" by answering a few multiple-choice questions. His interests: "Candle light. Sunsets. Love letters. And that's just the beginning."