In the last decade, we've seen an explosion of male oriented products hit the shelves. From grooming products that are traditional (beard dyes and shaving oriented), to the now quite famous Axe brand of scented lotions and potions to attract women. Ostensibly...
Whether products like Axe actually work to attract women, or are just being sold on that basis becomes irrelevant because the success of the campaign will promote the message. Just like Gillette Fusions promotion of Adrien Brody, who is not good looking by any standards, as a style setter, the viewer is expected to believe what they are seeing and hearing. Blades and related items are certainly male oriented, but soda?
The expansion of offering all products to men as a sub-category came out of the desire to increase buyers for any products since women have traditionally been 85% of buyers for the vast majority of products from cars to clothes. The expectation is that guys just don't like to shop and if they do, they go buy specifically what they need and nothing more. They rarely browse and have limited spurts of last minute buying binges. So by offering men an alternative to what is perceived as women's products, the expectation is that they to will develop a shopping sensibility.
The trend catches on like a bad virus, just as Dial tried to capture some of the viral success of the Axe brand from it's competitor. Unfortunately for them, they didn't use the "sex sells" mantra with the same abandon as the Axe brand managers, or other product categories that have used scantily clad women in their promotions with very little apology such as in the beer brewing industry.
The brands that are typically targeting men are generally humorous and action packed with a fair amount of women in them. Stereotypical, or realistic? The impression is that the short attention span and inability to multitask are the main reasons for offering up campaigns like the newest "man product" from Dr. Pepper 10 where the self-admitted catch phrase is "So you can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks" after ninjas on black motorcycles are whisked away in a net and the main character jumps in an open dune buggy shooting of his machine gun in a jungle. All action, no sentiment or sensitivity. Based on another famous saying that "movies for guys that like movies" have all of these same features.
Where Are the Products For Guys That Like To Watch Shows About ... Pain?
If you want to see testosterone at it's best, have a look at the newest reality shows like Full Metal Jousting (FMJ), which likely has very few female viewers. The advertisers on the program are consistent with what you are seeing on the program, like getting hit in the chest by a battering ram, yet far less aggressive. There is a lack of true testosterone in the advertisements and it seems the placement agencies don't have enough product like Dr. Pepper 10 or Axe to fill the slots. Instead, Geico is advertising a man being castrated by three teen girls every time he tries to eat fatty food. Hardly manly. They FMJ competitors say it isn't painful, but it most certainly is. Violence, natural aggression and destructiveness all before lunch, hey, that's what guys like. Their products should reflect that theme as well too, shouldn't it?
A recent report has also come out that is highlighted in Dr. Bonnie Eaker-Weil's book "Make-up Don't Break-up" indicating that women have turned a corner accepting "guy humor", which is typically considered sarcastic, juvenile, geeky and raw. Think Benny Hill and Monty Python, if you can get by the 1970's fashion and thick British accents. While most women don't enjoy these shows or the humor in them, men are starting to stand up for their unique gender specific sensibilities and not compromising. The end of the 20th century with the introduction of "Metrosexual" and the desire for women in North America to have boyfriends and husbands that are sensitive, caring, soft, multitasking creatures is finally getting some push-back. For those women who are happy to have a stereotypical man in their lives, they can partly thank men themselves for having had enough of the desire for them to be in-touch with their feminine side, to bringing back what women subconsciously find attractive about men in the first place.
So it would seem that men are finally getting weary of chick flicks and grooming, skinny ties and man-makeup. Enough so that the marketing guru's at major multinational health and beauty product companies and other consumer products companies have taken notice and are spending substantial amounts of money targeting those retrosexuals referenced in the diagram above. Personally, I don't believe real men have ever left the shoppers realm, they may have just reasserted themselves with the other categories being left in the demographic dust for their small and limited representation. Ladies, fret not, you are still the retail queens and the vast majority of money will still be spent on you and your product interests. Just let the men have their snicker here and their and welcome back their independence, if not their poor grooming habits and tendency to ogle at other women's body parts. It isn't any brands fault, it is quite literally testosterone's fault.