Monthly Archives

June 2012

Down For the Cause?

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When it comes to supporting charitable causes, men are not as easily influenced or as likely to change their behavior as women. Men are more likely than women to say “supporting causes has become a fad” (43% vs. 37%) and less likely to say “supporting causes makes me feel good about myself” (73% of men vs. 80% of women).


Men also are significantly less likely than women to have changed their behavior due to cause marketing or personal involvement (48% of men vs. 55% of women). One such behavior would be switching to brands that sponsor a cause the person supports; 16% of women switched brands for this reason vs. 11% of men.


There are plenty of reasons why brands can and should seek to align themselves with charitable or social causes. Unfortunately, doing so with the goal of influencing male customers may not prove particularly fruitful.


A Modern Love Affair

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A survey from Spike TV found that 88% of men said they “loved” their smartphones, with half saying they were actually addicted to their handsets. They also said smartphones made their lives better (80%), made them more confident (73%) and made them feel smarter (68%).


Due to smartphones, 72% of respondents said they were using maps and GPS more often, and another 72% said they were communicating more with friends. Women also may be doing more of these activities, but this change plays to stereotypes of men rejecting the need for maps or keeping up with friends.


If the smartphone makes certain activities easier or more acceptable to men, then marketers now have a great avenue for reaching this audience. The trick is understanding what elements of men’s lives can be influenced via smartphones.

Do Men Value Careers Over Fatherhood?

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The classic figure of a distant, career-focused father who spends lots of time at the office and who has little time for his kids might be getting outdated, a new study shows. A nationwide survey found 77% of men (both fathers and non-fathers) rated being a good father as “very important,” while just 49% said the same about having a successful career.


Most of the men agreed or strongly agreed with the statements

  • “Having children is important to my feeling complete as a man”
  • “I always thought I would be a parent”
  • “I think my life will be or is more fulfilling with children” and
  • “It is important for me to have children.”


So it appears men now want to balance work and family, similar to the struggle women have experienced with their increased presence in the workforce.

Ascent of the “Gastrosexual”

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A new trend has hit male society. Increasing numbers of men are taking up cooking in a bid to seduce their ladies, giving rise to the “Gastrosexual.”


According to a UK study, the ability to cook is now a key factor in attracting women along with salary, status, personality and appearance. Other factors driving this trend are increased numbers of women working full-time and men learning how to feed themselves due to marrying at a later age. The boom has been fuelled further by superstar chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, who have made cooking a macho pursuit.


This new combination of food, sex and masculinity implies products typically marketed to women—kitchen appliances, cookbooks and specialty foods—are now open to a whole new demographic.

Why Men Need to ‘Hang Out’

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It’s a banal truism of gender studies and romantic comedies that men bond over activity, while women bond over emotions. If a guy has something to get off his chest he’ll let it out on the job or on the court, since men tend to express themselves primarily through action.


One big exception calls this phenomenon into question; men are known to be avid connoisseurs of “hanging out,” which is to say, getting together with the express purpose of doing absolutely nothing.


Hanging out is not what men do with their gym partners or softball teammates. These activities involve a high level of focused energy. Hanging out, on the other hand, is precisely about losing focus. Hanging out frees men to connect without any obligation toward action, words or feelings.


So if you’re trying to connect with men, you might try just hanging out for awhile.


Play Into Their Hands

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The “freemium” business model provides a product or service for free and then entices users to purchase additional or premium features. Among all types of mobile apps, freemium games generate the greatest revenue and account for more than 65% of total mobile app revenue.


Flurry Mobile Analytics says the freemium audience is one of the largest concentrations of educated and affluent consumers in consumer technology today, and brands are taking notice. Those looking to reach men should pay particular attention, because men tend to outspend women in the freemium game arena.


Although time spent on mobile freemium games is evenly split between males and females, men lead spending across all age groups and account for 58% of total revenue. The highest spend occurs among men 25 – 34 years old, representing 29% of overall spend. At a transactional level, men spend an average of 31% more at $15.60 per transaction versus $11.90 for women.

Men’s Facial Skincare a Growing but Challenging Sector

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The NPD Group reports that over 90% of men are using some sort of grooming product these days, meaning facial and body skincare, shaving, hair care, and fragrance. Used the least among these (by only 25%) are facial skincare products, which include cleansers, moisturizers, lip and eye products, and anti-aging treatments.


Nonetheless the men’s facial skincare market has grown 11% in dollar sales in 2011, compared to 2010, and appears ripe for future increases. The challenge is getting them involved and engaged,” says NPD Group. “There is a feeling that facial skincare products are not needed unless you have a specific skin problem such as acne. For men to use a product, he first must be aware that there is an underlying need. Once men know they have a need to fill, their problem-solution orientation will fuel their desire to find products to alleviate their grooming challenges.”


These need-based opportunities seem most pronounced with Black and Hispanic men, as well as men ages 18 to 34. To create life-long users, marketers will need to build awareness of the benefits products offer and show these products can be seamlessly incorporated into the grooming routine.

Celebrating Vanidad Over Machismo

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In the fast-growing U.S. Latino market, men’s personal care products might have gained a whole different kind of shelf life.


According to an Univision study, Latino men take grooming much more seriously than their mainstream counterparts. They spend an average $8 more per month on products, and see nothing wrong with the occasional manicure or application of wrinkle cream. They even shower twice as often.


But these vanidosos aren’t getting all done up just for amor; 76% of Latino men say their grooming is all about maintaining their appearance in the workplace. This opens up a whole new range of ad strategies for advertising men’s personal care products. But make sure the pitch is in Spanish at least some of the time; Latinos cited Spanish-language advertising as significantly more relatable than English-language ads.


With grooming such an integral part of Latino men’s aspirations, this audience creates an extremely strong and vibrant growth opportunity for male personal care brands.


Hear the One About Men Being Funnier Than Women?

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A stereotype exists that men are funnier than women. So a team of researchers designed two studies to see if men are actually funnier than women, or simply perceived as such.


In the first study, men and women were asked to write funny captions to accompany cartoons. A group of raters evaluated how funny the captions were without knowing the author’s gender. Overall, both male and female raters judged captions written by men to be funnier. Males showed an even stronger preference for captions written by males.


In the second study, men and women were shown the funniest and least funny captions from the first experiment and told who wrote the captions. On a memory test, they were asked to remember who had written the captions in the “funniest” category. Individuals of both genders tended to misattribute humorous captions to males.


So it appears men are perceived as funnier, because they are funnier.

Real Men Don’t Read Instruction Manuals

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Men will fume, swear and sulk rather than admit they can’t understand basic operating instructions. Or they’ll blame their new smartphone, iPad, or game console and say it doesn’t work. Women, on the other hand, are much happier to accept help according to a study for Geek Squad.


For men, 28% would never ask for assistance if they couldn’t work out their new toy. By contrast, only 16% of women said they’d refuse help.


“In my experience [men are] much more likely than women to say that the product doesn’t work.’ They’ll go into a shop and say they want to return a product, and the truth is that they simply haven’t understood how it works” says Geek Squad.


With more gadgets being used for everyday activities, tech products makers need to think beyond the point of purchase to avoid return of their products by frustrated men.