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
rob@thebam.com

TheBamThinks#17

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