What Men Want In Ads

Both men and women says they dislike the ways they are portrayed in ads, but until now, most of the focus within the industry has been changing the representation of women.

During the Man Code at Advertising Week, Movember Foundation's Mark Hedstrom, Frito-Lay's Jeff Klein, Pernod Ricard's Jeffrey Moran, Ketchum's Bill Reihl and BF Goodrich's Carrie Woodward were joined by moderator Dave Holmes of Esquire to discuss how marketers best need to tailor their messages to reach today's men.

Men are different than women. Two guy friends will put a bag in between the seat at the movie theater, whereas women will sit next to each other.

One key point of Ketchum's research about men is that they are highly likely to share humorous content, but only if they are the first among their friends to do so. Younger men will also pull down posted content if they don't receive an appropriate number of likes.



Men like funny. Among Frito-Lay's vast portfolio, the Ruffles chip brand specifically targets guys, says Klein. Ruffles concentrates on digital channels in order to micro-target messages to the right male audience. The limited-edition All Dress flavor, for instance, first developed messaging aimed at ex-pats living in the U.S. since the flavor is extremely popular in Canada. The ad's tagline even made fun of Canadians saying "eh." These ads were then cut in different ways to optimize for sharing.

BF Goodrich has a different problem than Frito-Lay. "Marketing tires is not easy," says Woodward. As a result, the tire brand looks to other brands that are exciting in order to interject itself as a way to create conversation. BF Goodrich and Red Bull teamed up for the Global Rally Cross races. The brand felt that Snapchat would be a good way to reach its target audience. Goodrich first gained interest in this event after seeing attendees walking around connected to their phones, says Woodward. The brand realized it could develop content to educate them about the track and tires. Plus, "It's a shorter time span. Four hours and on-air one hour," as opposed to day-long NASCAR type events.

This partnership also gave Goodrich a reason to be on Snapchat. It needed to "tell a story that isn't sitting around an office in a tire factory."

Men don't like to feel dumb. Many ads position them as authorities when they may not have that knowledge, such as changing tires or even what to order at a bar. Pernod Ricard is attempting to change bar culture by letting drinkers know that any drink is acceptable. People may grow up drinking Malibu or vodka, there are many ways to end up drinking brown," says Moran. Whether it is scotch or blended, no one wants to look like an idiot at the bar. Our job is simply to educate them on the category, he says. "Make it yours. Whatever makes you feel comfortable."

Both Frito-Lay and Pernod Ricard are aligning with the Movember Foundation to raise awareness about prostate health where men grow mustaches during the month of November. These brands are leveraging their equity to help men talk about an uncomfortable topic. Pernod Ricard is using bar culture to get men to engage and start talking with one another. The idea is to create a poker night culture when men are at the most open. "We are giving men a place to feel comfortable," says Moran. For its part, Frito-Lay is riffing on the Ruffles shape to encourage men to grow mustaches with ridges and shapes. They submit their best looks via social media.

Ketchum's research lists the top 10 qualities that men want most in their lives, with a long healthy life as their top desire, followed by controlling their destiny, doing what they love, time to purse hobbies, time with their families, being a good parent, working to be a better person, having a good marriage, successful career, and good sex life. Surprisingly, younger men are less likely to care about sex. In fact, if the research didn't include Gen Xers and older men, it would have fallen off the list.

1 comment about "What Men Want In Ads".
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  1. L M from agency replied, September 30, 2016 at 1:42 p.m.

    Hi there, can you clarify "traveling alone does not go on their to do list. ... And yes, even when a partner doesn't want to go, they will go anyway" Are you saying travel has to be someone else's idea, and as last resort they will travel alone? 

    RE: Ketchum survey, would love to see the ranking for single men. For all men it's actually not surprising to see sex on their list... esp the older or married ones. Once they have procreated, they do (and should) have higher level priorities and the list may disclose where they feel their lives are deficient. Or, as people age, they have a more rose colored view of youth being an easier lifestage.

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