Brogurt, guyliner and mantyhose – how the supermarkets are manning up to appeal to the guys
Everyone knows that Yorkies aren’t for girls, that McCoy’s are man crisps and that Snickers will help you get some nuts.
But did you know that men’s cosmetics and grooming products, or rather ‘urban camouflage’, are among the fastest growing segments of the beauty industry? There are mantyhose to provide warmth, aid circulation and tackle unsightly bumps and beer guts. ‘Mandles’ are the all-new testosterone-packed answer to a candle, featuring scents such as Man Town, Riding Mower, and 2 x 4, because Clean Linen was evidently not a universally appealing smell. Weight Watchers have even launched a ‘lose like a man’ campaign.
Now, in the wake of the recession, which has seen more men lose their jobs than women (a mancession?), the so-called ‘mansumer’ trend is spreading to our everyday groceries, too. In 2013 a Yahoo survey of 1,000 fathers found that 51 per cent claimed to be their household’s primary grocery shoppers. This compares with the meagre 14 per cent of men who literally brought the bacon home in 1985. A separate Chicago-based research group found that, of 900 men aged 18 – 64 surveyed this June, 47 per cent were ‘manfluencers’, that is men responsible for at least half of the food shopping and meal prep in their household.
As guys take the reins of the shopping trolley – presumably carrying a murse and wearing guyliner – supermarkets are adjusting their marketing strategy and winning them over with male-friendly foods and testosterone-touting packaging. In America, chains such as Walmart are experimenting with ‘man aisles’, presumably to lessen guys’ discomfort when struggling past pink razors and tampons.
But can bread, cereal and frozen yoghurt really reach the dude demographic?
Everyone knows that only girls buy yoghurt. What man would chase down the dairy aisle for a delicate, floral carton heralding improved digestive health and low fat content? No more. Powerful Yogurt (brogurt?) launched in March 2013 and features a bull’s head symbol on black and red packaging and an image of stomach muscles next to the slogan: “find your inner abs”. Each pot weighs 8 ounces, compared to the typical 5/6 ounces, and includes 20-25 grams of protein.
Finally a macho answer to over-sweet, flavoured lattes with sprinkles on top. Stumptown Cold Brew is a black, cold brew coffee “now bottled and ready to tuck into coolers on camping trips, park picnics [and] backyard BBQs”. The bitter drink is available in a vintage-look, dark-amber beer bottle as well as in kegs and growlers.
What better way to spice up breakfast in bed than his-and-hers granola? Sexcereal is being sold as a libido-boosting, natural Viagra. “Because men and women have different biological and nutritional needs,” explains its creator Peter Ehrlich, “there had to be one formula for men, and one for women.” The female cereal claims to balance hormones with a blend of flax, chia seeds and ginger, while the men’s uses wheat germ, goji berries and camu camu to support testosterone and energy levels. Pornflakes anyone?
Put ‘diet’ or ‘light’ in a product’s name and it’s blatantly for the calorie-counting, body-conscious woman. Put the same product in a different can and soft drinks companies have successfully made diet drinks acceptable for the rougher, tougher sex.
Compare Diet Coke and Coke Zero. The contents and nutritional information of these two sugar-free colas are near identical. Yet when Diet Coke was first released in 1982, men shied away from it, seeing it as a woman’s drink. The company’s answer to this predicament? Coke Zero. Complete with a shiny black can, Coke Zero’s ad campaign absolves men of their sporting addictions and defends the notion of “guys being guys”. Diet Coke’s latest marketing drive? A series of cans designed by Marc Jacobs.
‘Men’s Bread’ by The French Meadow Bakery is hearty loaf full of fibre and proteins. Its packaging features a man cycling, a man in a suit and a man hand-ploughing a field. This bloke bap claims to be “delicious toasted, grilled or for a sandwich”.
Sorry Ladies, there’s no ‘women’s bread’ – you’ll just have to stick to Hovis.
This article was originally published on planetivy.com.