One of the fundamentals of marketing is remarkably simple: Guys will be guys. Speaking on behalf of this brotherhood, since I am a guy and I wish desperately to be seen as “one of the guys,” I want to warn dudes everywhere that there are a lot of brands looking to trick us into thinking that they are guy-worthy. Because we’re self-reliant and secure in our masculinity, we can decide for ourselves, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. (Ladies, you can read on if you like, but you probably won’t get it. It’s kind of a guy thing.)
Let’s start with the new soda, Dr. Pepper 10. I must say the slogan, “It’s not for women” gets right to the point. Their commercial is all A-Team meets Jurassic Park, so you gotta love that. And at least the stuff has 10 calories, so it’s not all bad. But make no mistake, this is a no calorie drink disguised as a cool guy’s thirst quencher. It’s what you’d drink if you were on a diet. I know! That stuff is never going to make it into my man cave.
Miller Lite is working a different angle with their latest ad campaign. They’re showing some seriously weeny-looking men who apparently don’t care what kind of light beer they’re ordering. The cool guys in the spots (and their smokin’ female companions and bartenders) equate this lack of brand preference with unmanly behavior such as wearing skinny jeans (check), sporting a lower back tattoo (ok, check), or inviting another guy at the bar to go to the bathroom with him (triple check). Call to action: “Man up. And choose a light beer with more taste.”
Guys, this is, like, extra clever marketing strategy, because the Miller Lite people are telling us it’s ok to drink a light beer, as long as it’s a cool-tasting light beer that other guys drink and more importantly, that women approve of. Waassup? That’s some tricky branding going on there. As far as I’m concerned, their slogan should be, “if you’re going to be a girly-man and drink light beer, you may as well drink one that tastes better.”
Bud Light, the top selling beer brand by the way, ignores the whole gotta-be-macho thing entirely and does funny commercials that are all about the party power of having a really big supply of Bud Light on hand at all times. Open a fridge full of Bud Light (or in one spot, an entire house made of Bud Light) and let the good times roll. Which come to think of it, is kind of manly. Their slogan: Here we go!
Ooorah! See, a six-pack of light beer isn’t very guy-worthy. But a house full of Bud Light?-That’s cool, Bro.
Dudes, my family owns a minivan and has for many years. They are super practical vehicles and I am behind the wheel for maybe 10% of the miles that get put on our Mommy-wagon. Let’s just say my car is not a minivan, know what I’m sayin’? But now mini-van makers are bustin’ a Miller Lite move by re-branding their minivans as more macho. Gotta get a minivan? Get one made for guys! Chrysler has brought out an R/T version of their Caravan brand that adds 17-inch wheels and performance suspension to their best selling product. “We… feel we can change the conversation on minivans,” says Ralph Gilles, CEO of Dodge Brands. Clearly Ralph is missing the point, which is, of course, that guys don’t talk about their feelings. Duh. So keep trying, Ralph, but it will take more than bigger wheels to toughen up the family mobile.
But I have to give some props to Toyota’s Sienna minivan brand for bringing out a hilarious tongue-in-cheek campaign called, “Rollin’ in my Swagger Wagon.” It’s a series of rap video spoofs with decidedly un-hip-hop parents singing the praises of their Sienna van. While it’s no monster truck, it’s got a more macho look than past Sienna’s. If you watch the videos, and I highly recommend that you do, I think you’ll see that the husband of the family has decided that if he’s going to drive a minivan, he’s at least going to pretend that it actually is a guy-friendly ride.
Which sometimes is all it takes to maintain our self-esteem, right guys?