How is the way men’s products are marketed changing? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Brian Jeong, Cofounder & CEO of Hawthorne˚, on Quora:
In the past several decades, personal care products have been marketed to men in the U.S. market through a heroic and often fantasy lens. The ads have muscular men on yachts on the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by beautiful women; the product names often sound aggressive and hyper-masculine, and they mostly have nothing to do with the functionality or smell of the product; and, in fact, most American men do not even know the name of the product they use, just that it was “the blue one,” “the red one,” “the green one,” etc.
Men, though, have gradually become more sophisticated personal care consumers. They know in general terms what kind of skin they have (dry, sensitive, oily, etc.). They’re not only looking for something that smells good, but functionally will make them look and feel better. And, thus, the industry has slowly adapted to these increasingly perceptive consumers. Personal care brands have begun to adapt and tone down their non-functional marketing tactics. A good example is the wild success of Unilever’s Dove Men+Care line. The bottles are not a sharp, contrasting color, but rather a very muted grey. The copy on the packaging talks about “sensitive shield” and “deep cleansing” in additional to “fresh,” “cool,” or even “phoenix” and “dark temptation.” The focus is on the product and the functionality.
Furthermore, in addition to caring and looking for functionality, men are slowly revisiting their relationship with culturally imposed definitions of masculinity. Gillette ran an ad a few months ago that go a lot of attention due to its head-on (maybe over-the-top) approach of addressing evolution. And as men gradually strip away these societally-defined masculinity norms, what we are seeing is a search of new identity: one that hopefully has its foundation in individuality and self. The older brands have taken notice and even hyper-masculine brands like Axe have launched new lines and campaigns such as Axe You, which celebrates and welcomes individuality and diversity.