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Marketing Masculinity in an Age of Male Anxiety

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Posted on Nov 15, 2011

¿Quien es mas macho?: Dr. Pepper goes for the dudes with Dr. Pepper Ten.

What better way to jack up men’s flagging sense of masculine prowess in these times of economic instability, with gender roles shifting by the minute, than by introducing a line of house paints that includes the colors “Bro Code” and “Zombie Apocalypse”?

Consumerism as cure-all is not a new idea, but as this Ottawa Citizen story suggests, marketers are finding creative new ways to make a play for men’s lunch money, even repurposing that staple of fabricated femininity, the diet soda, to appeal to male shoppers. Because nothing says “macho” like a syrupy, artificially sweetened low-calorie beverage. But as the article also notes, some scholarly culture watchers aren’t buying it.  —KA

See for yourself: The ultra-manly Dr Pepper Ten commercial is posted under the excerpt below.

Ottawa Citizen:

Canada’s CIL Paints just launched its first “paint colours for men” collection, rebranding popular household hues with more manly names: Butterscotch Tempest, for example, becomes Beer Time; Juliet’s Potion is now Zombie Apocalypse; and Venetian Turquoise has been dubbed Bro Code.

Dr Pepper’s “It’s Not for Women” tag line is designed to get males to rethink diet pop, which market research suggested was perceived by that cohort as too girlie.

[...] Jeffrey Hall, a communications and gender scholar, notes that economic data shows the men hardest-hit by the recession were those in the lowest socioeconomic classes. In other words, not the ones with the disposable income to “worry about the type of skin care they’re using.”

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, November 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Well why not, fercrisake! We females have been marketed for eons, from douche, tampons, creams, powders, dyes, wax jobs, perms, depilatories, ointments, tooth whiteners, ad nauseum. Women have suffered feminine anxiety ever since the advertizing agencies were born. Why not play to masculinity anxiety? Does it sell? Youbetcha. Remember the Marlboro man?

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By bigjosh, November 16, 2011 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has the vibe of those st farm commercials. I think its not about failing masculinity at all, but rather this fast paced, banal schizoid response to reality. A response that tries to laugh in the face of the horrific absurdity of crumbling society. I think it’s just as much about women as men.

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