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Ladvertising To Dadvertsing

Lynx have rebranded, various ‘lads mags’ have shut shop and Playboy has covered up its models for the first time in the magazine’s history. There is a definite shift occurring in communication aimed towards men – but is this change in marketing reflective of a changing society?

Let’s start with Lynx, who until recently had a core message that revolved around transformation – it spoke to ‘lads’ and promised the power of attracting a multitude of women. However, the brand has taken a major U-turn with its new ‘Find Your Magic’ campaign that aims to empower men to be themselves and embrace their individuality. Similar to the way that Dove shook up the way that beauty products marketed to women, Lynx is now telling men that each of them is beautiful and attractive in their own unique way.

Recent research by Lynx suggested that men, as much as women, need reminding that they should have confidence in the person they are and the skin that they’re in. A survey was conducted on 3,500 men in 10 markets of which only 5% agreed when asked if they feel like an attractive man. Proving that the old style confident macho stereotype is not one that many modern men can’t relate to. Global Axe brand director Fernando Desouches summed it up when he said “We’re living in an era of unprecedented freedom and acceptance — and yet what we’ve seen is that a lot of men still feel huge pressure to look and behave a certain way in order to be seen as attractive.” A look and behaviour that is perhaps not always achievable.

Modern men are complex characters, with insecurities and problems, with multifaceted roles and responsibilities. In order to communicate to this broad spectrum of personalities, brands need to make big changes to their marketing tactics. From the type content to the tone of voice –the modern male consumer needs to be acknowledged with communication that he relates to and understands.

Responding to this need is “Dadvertising” which see’s a plethora of brands celebrating the new ‘man’ in all his glory. Just last year, Campbell’s Soup challenged parental stereotypes with its “Real, Real Life” campaign which tried to tap into real people and real lives, including gay fathers and their children.

Even washing detergent brand Fairy jumped in on the action with its Never Stop Hugging campaign. Championing the importance of physical closeness between father and son and reflecting society’s expectation for men to form bonds with and spend as much time with their children as women.

Celebrating this ‘new’ masculinity and challenging traditional notions of what it means to be a man allows brands to reach new markets and stay relevant and meaningful. This is particularly important to shopper marketing, which sees more and more men taking on the responsibility as primary shopper within families. By representing this change in their marketing, brands can continue to resonate with male consumers whilst paving the way for men everywhere to feel free to be who they are without being weighed down by out-dated expectations.