Strong enough for a woman. But made for a man.

1 May

I use Dove Beauty Bar in the shower and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

That might be more information than you need, not to mention the unfortunate mental image of me in the shower.

I must not be a good candidate for all the new HE-MAN lines currently flooding the market. They’re more expensive for one, and they play to men’s insecurities about purchasing a “women’s” product.

Now there is Dove For Men.

“You’re not a woman are you? Man up!”

It doesn’t really say that on the pack but the innuendo is there. They must have agonized over the little dove image. (“We should make it look more like a hawk!”)

I don’t know what the third object is in the Dove photo. It looks suitably industrial so I am not threatened by it. If anyone knows what it is, please tell.

Some men’s products come in tough-guy containers meant to evoke manliness: there’s a shampoo called Gear Head that comes in a motor oil bottle; a moisturizer that comes in an industrial grey tub. Soon they will appear in toolboxes or in bottles shaped like mufflers and road pylons.

If it’s all starting to sound like products for kids, you may be catching my drift here.

Who is buying this stuff? Lots of men must be because they keep churning out new lines. Or perhaps our women are buying it for us? I can hear the marketing-speak internally, the incantations of “opening up un-tapped male markets” and “the masculinity represented in the diesel pump container will appeal to the low hanging fruit”. Ouch.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Dove Beauty Bar. It smells ok and it gets me clean. And if you squint your eyes and tilt your head, the box it comes in almost looks like a Chevy pickup.

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2 Responses to “Strong enough for a woman. But made for a man.”

  1. Mario Parise May 2, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    The third object is a shower scrubber.

    I agree with your comments, but I think what we’re seeing is the early stages (juvenile/adolescent) of an industry realizing men clean too.

    There’s a fundamental insight behind all of this silliness which isn’t so silly: men buy soaps, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, etc, just as much as women do. (Well, it’s probably pretty close. I’m not gonna venture an opinion on who buys more.)

    But up until recently, all these products were targeted at women.

    It’s not that men need motor-oil bottles pretending to be shampoo (though I find it amusing), it’s just that the marketing that works on women won’t work as well on men.

    I think Axe started this trend, and then everyone else realized they were onto something. Old Spice is arguably doing the best of the new he-man products. (Their spots are genuinely funny and also kinda mock our obsession with being manly.)

    Is it childish? Yeah, it is. Some of it’s down right ridiculous. But then again, we’re the same group of humans who laugh hysterically at Monty Python scenes about John Cleese teaching sex ed, stay passionately tuned in to any blood sport, are statistically shown to be more interested in just about anything if boobs are involved, and are prone to yell homophobic comments if our manliness seems in any way challenged.

    Maybe childish is the right way to go…

  2. dougbrowncreative May 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    You remember soap-on-a-rope? How about Irish Spring “But I like it too!” where the blond half-naked Irish babe is hanging about in the forest waterfall? I think the industry has always known about the other-half, but weren’t seeing the level of competition they do now, so weren’t FORCED to be creative in their approach to packaging and marketing.

    He-man only works if it’s done with a sense of humour, like Axe and Old Spice, as you pointed out. But there is a price to pay for all this slick new imaging Mario…have you seen how much Old Spice deodorant goes for? $6! I’ll stick with my humourless, emasculated brands!

    Thanks for the amusing and insightful comment.

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