Not So Tough Now, Are You Guys?

by Duncan MacRae

A new approach is required in the development of advertising and creative campaigns capable of successfully target different generations of men.

This is the suggestion from a study by comms agency CreativeRace, which found that gender perception is changing. Less than 10 per cent of Generation Z (16-21 year olds) identified with established male or female stereotypes, which for men included being ‘strong’, ‘masculine’, ‘athletic’, ‘tough’ and ‘not emotional’.

Fluid gender perceptions

Notably, the research also shows that across generations male gender perceptions are becoming more fluid with one in ten men even describing themselves as ‘gender neutral’. The study also pointed to a rapid change in the way men are consuming media, with the uptake of news via mobile and online completely reshaping the marketing landscape.

While newspapers still play an important part in the media mix, with half of men (52 per cent) reading one, online is now the main source for news and content. As much as 62 per cent of men visit YouTube for news, lifestyle, culture, music, opinion and sport and 61 per cent Facebook, in comparison to only 28 per cent who pick up a magazine. Community newsfeeds such as LADbible, Buzzfeed and Unilad are also increasing in popularity with LADbible reportedly the 12th most visited website in the UK.

The new report from CreativeRace, entitled ‘Man size no longer fits all’, looks at the types of media men are consuming as well as exploring how generational attitudes to gender are changing. The report also analyses which brands are successfully resonating with modern men, such as Lynx with its recent ‘Find the Magic’ campaign, and outlines what marketers need to think about in order to engage and meaningfully communicate with men, today.

Joey Whincup, Insight & Planning Director at CreativeRace comments: “Men have radically changed the way they consume media and interact with brands. The death of the ‘lads’ mag’, marked by the closures of Zoo and FHM at the end of 2015, heralded a new era in publishing and marketing.

“As well as a decline in ‘lads culture’ over the past two decades, the uptake of news via mobile and social media by men has completely reshaped the marketing landscape. As a result, a new approach is needed in the development of advertising and creative campaigns that can successfully target different generations of men.

“It is evident that societal shifts are taking place. Younger generations are becoming more progressive and accepting of differences, embracing their own individuality. At the same time men are re-evaluating their own role in society. Brands have a unique opportunity to help men shape new, clear and real identities and through this develop long-term meaningful brand relationships.”