Monthly Archives

October 2012

Today’s Man Is Living ‘Medium’

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

Earlier this year, I was sitting down with an agency that represents a major European beer brand. They shared that they were having a hard time expressing to their client that the definition of how men in Europe “live large” and how men in the U.S. “live large” has changed dramatically over the last few years. To their client, living large still meant bottle service, designer suits, getting groomed to the nines, and fancy cars. They were trying to show that living large in the U.S. has changed and men, even those with disposable income, don’t adhere to the traditional definitions of blowing their money. The new era of man would rather live large by roasting a whole pig, drinking craft beer, and serving artisan cocktails than fit the recent definitions of finer living.


Over the next several weeks, we will be debuting a new study that combines deep insights as well as survey results from over 2,000 men. We compiled over 50 hours of interviews with men across the country to get a sense of how they are living as men in 2012. One of the major themes we found was that men across a variety of ages and earning brackets are being much more conservative in their spending. While the economy is partially a factor, it is also because men are focused on planning for the long haul and being better prepared for their futures.


We asked them what they would do with $2,000 if it were given to them. They could do anything they like with the money. The top three areas where men said they would divide the funds: Save the money for a rainy day (25%), put the money into savings for a big purchase (25%), and make a purchase that would benefit the family (16%). We also asked the same group where they would have spent the $2,000 on five years ago, and 27% said they would have spent more of it on a purchase that would primarily benefit them. Clearly, their habits are shifting; is your brand ready for men who live medium?


I think we can finally put a nail in the coffin for the era of the metrosexual. The notion of the metrosexual man was that a growing segment of men were starting to care how they looked and about their own personal style. In 2012 it has become widely accepted that men care about style and grooming, but indications are that many are doing it while remaining budget conscious.  New services like and Birchbox are feeding men’s desire to care about how they look while not breaking the bank. This was discussed in AOL’s Daily Finance blog last month.


It turns out, that brand I spoke to earlier this year was dead on; there is a new definition for living large in 2012. The New York Times published a story in May that discussed how modesty was a virtue among the new generation of Silicon Valley millionaires. If you became a Facebook millionaire in the IPO and then ran out to buy a fancy car, you would be “ridiculed and berated” if you posted a picture of it to your newsfeed. Overwhelmingly, men, even those who are spenders, are being more calculated about how they spend their dollars. When they do indulge, they are poised to remain modest.


This article originally appeared on Mediapost Engage:Men September 20, 2102.

Men Get Their MTV on PS3

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

Nielsen’s September 2012 Cross Media Report shows that traditional gaming consoles (e.g. Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation) have established themselves as legitimate players in the space of content delivery directly to the consumer. They act as gaming vehicles and video content purveyors; they enable social gaming as well as DVD play and online streaming through apps. Currently 46% of homes with televisions also have gaming consoles, and Nielsen predicts their influence will continue to provide an increasing number of video options.


Among consumers having both TVs and gaming consoles, the average American consumes 14 minutes of content per day using gaming consoles. However time spent consuming content differs significantly by gender, with men consuming far more content via game consoles compared to women. Men 12-17 years old watch 44 minutes of content via game console compared to 11 minutes for women 12-17; men 18-34 years old watch 32 minutes versus 14 minutes for women. For the 35+ age group, time spent is almost the same (5 minutes for men vs. 3 minute for women).


With further market penetration of “7th generation” game consoles (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii), Nielsen believes this trend will greatly increase advertisers’ opportunities to reach young men and offset the lower amount of time men spend watching TV compared to women (137 minutes per month for men 18-49 vs. 148 minutes for women).


Millennials Are Beer Adventurers

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

A quantitative study by Slingshot looked at beer consumption and found that Millennial beer drinkers are different from the generations that precede them. They found Millennials to be more experimental, more influenced by word-of-mouth, and more willing to engage digitally with their favorite beer brands.


Over 90% of Millennials surveyed said they had tried a new beer in the past month and 54% in the past week. Survey results also indicated that 47% drink craft beer most often, with light beers being a close second. And their palates influence the bars and restaurants they frequent, with seven in ten indicating they prefer places with a wide beer selection and one in four indicating the beer selection influences their decision on where to go.


Millennials are heavily influenced by the recommendations of friends, wait staff, and bartenders when it comes to beer. Eighty percent of consumers in this generation report they are recommending beers to their friends. By contrast, less than 10% of Millennials indicated they tried a new beer after seeing advertising for it.


Millennials also appear more willing to engage with their favorite beer brands digitally and 41% reported they had previously interacted with a beer brand or brewery online.

Can Men Have It All?

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

Just half of men in relationships consider themselves the primary breadwinners in their households, according to Break Media’s landmark study of 2,000 men ages 18-49. Additionally, more than two-thirds (68%) of men would sacrifice career advancement for more time with family; and, an increasing number of men consider themselves stay-at-home dads.


Yet, much like women have fought to “have it all,” the majority of men are no longer deterred by traditional gender stereotypes. “The data in the study show that gender role-reversal reflects how men want to shape their lives at home and their careers, pick the products they buy and the media they view,” said Break Media CEO Keith Richman. “No longer is the modern man the macho master of the universe – instead, he’s a ‘Modern Mensch.’ In today’s post-recessionary environment, that means a new identity rooted in a good-natured, family-oriented measure of happiness and success.”


For full details check out the infographic.

Connected TV Is Next Big Ad Platform

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

Connected TVs (i.e. TV can stream Internet content) are poised to make major headway among consumers in the next few years. About 25% of all TVs shipped in 2011 had this capability built in, and viewers without such TVs are using game consoles (77%), Blu-ray players (34%) and set-top boxes (25%) to connect their TVs to the Internet. In total, 30% of Internet enabled households have the ability to stream online content to their TVs.


A study by YuMe finds that connected TV viewers skew slightly male (58%), are ethnically diverse (44% are non-white) and have a mean age of 34. However only 7% of these households are occupied by people who live alone, suggesting families and multiple roommate situations are central to connected TV usage.


Connected TV viewers have a highly positive response to advertising, suggesting the platform may give marketers a lot of bang for their buck.  The vast majority (90%) of connected TV viewers recall seeing ads before or during the content they watched and around 70% have interacted with an ad. Connected TV viewers also appear responsive to calls to action, with 30% visiting the website mentioned in the ad and 19% actually purchasing a product as a result of an ad they saw on connected TV. Almost two-thirds (60%) of connected TV consumers prefer ad-supported content to paid (and thus ad-free) content; they see ad-supported content as a win-win—they have access to good, free content and in exchange for viewing ads.


Connected TV represents a tremendous advertising opportunity for brands looking to generate consumer awareness and meaningful interactions. Advertisers need to move fast in order to capture this highly engaged and attentive audience, and first movers will undoubtedly realize the biggest benefits.

Men Take to Mobile for Shopping

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

A survey by uSamp finds that men and women engage in most of their mobile shopping while outside the home. For example, 12% of woman shop on their mobile devices while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and 25% of men shop on mobile while at the office.


But men are more engaged with the mobile shopping experience compared to women. Men scan barcodes more often (91% of men vs. 85% of women), write reviews of purchases (26% vs. 16% of women), and use mobile payment methods (46% vs. 32% of women). Men also purchase items over their mobile devices more often (45% vs. 34% of women), with relatively high purchase rates for consumer electronics (27% of men), movie and event tickets (23% of men), and digital content (30% of men).


The only areas where women have strong engagement are use of mobile coupons (35% of men vs. 44% of women) and taking photographs of clothing (22% of men vs. 34% of women).


Dad is King of the Aisle

By | Acumen Insights, Blog | No Comments

Cone Communications says one-third of moms agree fathers’ influence on grocery purchases has increased over the last few years, and that 52% of dads now are the primary grocery shopper. Although two-thirds of both moms and dads create a shopping list beforehand, dads are more than twice as likely as moms to solicit input on grocery purchases from other members in their household (34% of dads vs. 12% of moms). Dads also are more likely to plan meals for the week ahead of time (52% vs. 46% of moms) and perform background research on grocery products (24% vs. 11% of moms).


For brands to reach dads, Cone Communications says it’s important to leverage tried-and-true marketing strategies like advertising and media relations. Dads’ top three channels for gathering product- and other grocery-related information are: in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40%). But marketers shouldn’t ignore online media either because 44% of dads overall seek out online sources for information, including product websites (15%) and social networks (11%).


“Historically, when brands of any kind market to dads, the conversation has been very one-way,” says Cone Communications Vice President Byron Calamese. “But now dads are saying, ‘You can reach me in other ways.’ Marketers need to surround dads with an integrated approach to storytelling – one that is ownable, talkable and shareable for the brand.”

The Acumen Report: Definitive Guide to Men

By | Acumen Insights | 8 Comments

As an audience, men are vastly under researched.  Women, moms, Tweens, and Millennials have received an abundance of attention; but for as important as men are as a consumer group, there is a shortage of insights being surfaced about them.

Thus Break Media set out to understand the zeitgeist of men today and the culmination of this effort is The Acumen Report. The report is based on interviews with leading experts in the men’s space, over 50 hours of interviews with men around the country and a representative survey of 2,000 men ages 18-49. The Acumen Report is about where men are now and where they’re going in the future.

Download an Executive Summary and review this site for other articles and videos from The Acumen Report.