How to advertise to “guy guys.” Six things you’d better know.

Awesome!Men have evolved. We change diapers, do housework, have discovered our sensitive side, some are even “metrosexuals.” Yes, we have come a long way too, baby. However, there is (thank God) still a large portion of guys out there who are guys in every sense of the word. The hunting, firemen, classic rock, UFC-loving, beef-jerky-eating, messin’ with Sasquatch kinda’ men.

I’ve been around a lot of “guy guys” in my life. I grew up working construction with my burly, tattooed-armed dad, and my uncle Jack, a curb setter who could swing a sledge, and still put a much younger man (me) to shame when he was 60 years old. I’ve also played lots of sports, and spent a lot time in locker rooms around testosterone-filled guys. When it comes to marketing, I have worked on numerous “guy” brands including Wrangler Western (cowboys are the ultimate guys), Captain Morgan, Crown Royal Whisky, and so on. Based on this combination of life experience and work experience, here’s what I’ve learned about talking to guy guys.

1. Get to it, man
Don’t give them any of the flowery set up crap. There’s no need to rev the engine, just drive already. Guys want it quick and to the point. They don’t want a lot of discussion or a poll of their friends’ opinions. It’s like how they shop for clothes. Get in, buy a shirt, get out. They’re not browsers. They’ll take what the mannequin is wearing.

2. Make it simple to understand
This applies to everyone, but especially guys. They have to get it before they can like it. If they don’t get it, they’ll dismiss it as some a-hole who thinks he’s smarter than they are.

3. Simple doesn’t mean simpleton
Yes, guys like the Three Stooges and “football in the groin” (Homer Simpson reference), but they expect more cleverness from their advertising. A few years back, many of the Super Bowl beer commercials were simplistic fart jokes. Guys backlashed.

4. Don’t smack of femininity
“Guy guys” like guy things: guy colors, guy typefaces, guy music, guy brand names. Once I was in a focus group for wine, and a man really liked a brand called Layer Cake. In front of eight other guys he kept saying, “it’s really good wine, trust me.” He was apologizing, and saying I’m not a sissy who drinks a wine named Layer Cake (sorry Layer Cake). What wines did all the other guys like? Carnivor and Earthquake. Duh.
Also, never be “cute.” New espadrilles are “cute.” That bob haircut is “cute.” The romantic comedy is “cute.” “Cute” is a woman’s word in both usage and tonality. Keep it as far away from guys as humanly possible.

5. Honesty only
Guys call each other on their bullshit. It’s part of being a guy. Be full of shit, get nailed by your friends. So give it to them straight. No need for all the emotional histrionics either. (BTW, they wouldn’t like the word “histrionics.”)

6. Be positive
Guys don’t dwell on the bad, they dwell on the good. They’re not stressing about their weight gain, or worried about their hair color, or aggravated by the obnoxious thing Kim Kardashian said (don’t care). Guys are generally positive by nature. Great game last night. Cool car. Beer is good. Keep it simple and upbeat.

With rare exception, I believe deep down most guys want to be “guy guys,” at least a portion of themselves. Why else do soft-bellied corporate milquetoasts suddenly buy Harleys? As a result, appealing to guy guys is not niche marketing. You reach a lot more people than you think.

So there you have it, some pointers on how to talk to “guy guys.” And remember, if all else fails, you can always blow some shit up. Awesome!

Rob Baiocco
CCO, The Baiocco And Maldari Connection



How to Get to a Galvanizing Global Brand Point of View

GlobeThere are many global companies that have impressive global brand footprints, but few have the privilege of owning global brand points of view. At The Baiocco and Maldari Connection, we have a pedigree for doing just that for Procter & Gamble (Pringles), GlaxoSmithKline (Aquafresh and Sensodyne) and Diageo (Captain Morgan). We have a unique perspective and way to deliver and over and over again. Here are some principles we have learned, and you can implement if you want your brand to take flight in multiple countries.

Know your constituents – Take the time to listen. In global companies, most senior leaders touch multiple brands. Chances are they have a point of view about the one you are working on. Get their perspective. Sounds simple right? Well, frankly it doesn’t happen. The US wants to do it their way. The UK wants to do it their way and China and India are completely unique and want it done their way. No one has a vested interest in the global brand except perhaps the Global Marketing Lead that doesn’t own the P&L or maybe just shares in it. Listen to their issues, concerns, and find the commonality that elevates the overall Brand position.
Connect the dots – When everyone is driven by their own P&L, the Agency has the opportunity to be neutral. If you are an astute listener you will find all the ways to bring the leaders together. The key is to identify what motivates each leader, each region, and ultimately, the consumer in that region, and then bend the idea so there is something in it for everyone to participate and win.
IT ALL ABOUT THE IDEA – Ideas speak to people and, regardless of their location, people share the same basic human needs. Ideas might need to be nuanced to fit culturally but the guiding principle is that we are more the same then we are different. A truly great idea has no boundaries because it is built from the DNA of the brand. Every brand should have a short, compelling phrase that nails the brand meaning. We call it a One Shot AnswerTM., a single message that is undeniably linked to the core of the brand and is communicated in the same voice with the same words regardless of location. This is the key to galvanize diverse leaders to act.
Identify the ideal Champion – Every great idea needs a champion. Pick the leader that will deliver and serve as an inspiration to the other leaders. Someone who has the money and is willing to start the movement. Shine that light brightly and move fast.
Get points on the board – Everyone gravitates towards winners. The fastest way to bring a team together within a large corporate structure is through success. Success is a great aphrodisiac. The wins don’t have to be big; they just have to be tangible and relatable.
Be in it. Good or Bad. – The process is never pretty and it’s certainly not for those agency fly-by-nights looking to move on after the first production is finished. But it’s the most gratifying for those of us who are truly motivated by building great global brands. To us, it’s a gift because when you make it to the finish line, the brand is impenetrable.

Follow these principles and your brand will be on the path to an enviable global point of view. Once you have that, the creative options to activate will be contagious and create energy that only a great galvanizing idea can achieve.

Maureen Maldari
CEO, The Baiocco and Maldari Connection