Marketing For Men Only!
In today’s marketplace there are a lot of consumer products that are marketed towards men and men only. Before I officially got my foot in the door as a package designer I often wondered ‘what makes a product just for men?’ And now that I have two years under my belt in the women’s bath and beauty industry I can tell you…Packaging and Marketing. That’s it.
The perfect example of this is AXE. In my opinion, AXE has paved the way for Men’s personal care. As a man, think about what you used before and what you use now. Before, we had the options of bar soap and generic unisex body wash. Or, you could suck up your pride and buy something like Dove’s essence of woman, packaged in a pink bottle with lilac and cherry blossom, depicting pretty pictures of flowers. The latter of the three worked the best in my opinion, but what man wants that in his shower? Women’s products have been tested over and over again to give them the nourishment and essential ingredients that they need to keep their skin looking and feeling healthy. That’s not very manly though, so the manufacturers decided to take out all of that crap and keep it simple. They just made sure that it cleaned your skin, killed germs, and didn’t make you smell like a woman.
About 10 years ago bar soap was about as masculine as you could get when it came to soap, but a majority of them left your skin feeling itchy and dry – the generic body wash wasn’t much better. Now, if you look in the aisles at your local stores you will see an entire section dedicated to men’s bath and body. You will find everything from age defying creams to body washes – all for men.
One day, some guy (or woman) decided, “Hey, men need to take care of their bodies just as much as women do. We should make *$#^@ for men!” And just like everything else in consumer goods, someone made some money and people realized that they had something and the rest followed.
The perfect comparison for men’s versus women’s products is shaving razors. Take a look at a men’s razor and a women’s razor. They consist of the same basic components; razor blades, a moisturizing bar, and a handle. What makes them different other than the color? Nothing! It’s the SAME! So why is one for men and the other for women? The same is true for a very large number of other products.
Packaging and Marketing, that’s what makes a product “just for men.” I should know because I design packaging for both men and women. I am the one who writes the ingredients on the back of a label that no one really reads. We use Latin words, scientific words, coded numbers and everything under the sun that the government requires us to put on there. If you took a bottle of women’s shampoo and a bottle of men’s shampoo and looked at the ingredients, they are basically the same. They just have different technical names for the same ingredient. And they do the same thing – clean your hair. But, are you going to buy a shampoo bottle in pink or black? What about the commercials? Imagine a white background with classical music playing and a woman in the bathtub versus a guy getting mobbed by women because he is using a certain shampoo – it’s the same stuff with different commercials. But, which is going to make you more inclined to buy their product?
The way that I see it, we are all human beings. We all need the same things when it comes to personal hygiene – clean healthy skin, hair, and teeth. We all need to shave one part or another. And we all need to smell unoffending. So why act like a tough guy and say “Body wash is for *$#^@%, I’ll take bar soap any day!” or “Only chicks use lip balm, I’m a man. I don’t get chapped lips.”
So now you know. Go out and buy some body wash and an AXE detailer (aka loofah). Get yourself some CHAPFIX+ for your lips and a good skin moisturizer. Just make sure that the packaging is black and labeled for men.