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Abstract

More and more, men are becoming concerned with their appearance. As such, there has been tremendous focus on—as well as growth in—the men’s grooming market. Marketers are therefore interested in how best to position their men’s grooming products. A review of articles that address gender and grooming issues in marketing brings to light some important conclusions. In the academic literature, the findings were that after viewing depictions of women in stereotyped roles, viewers will be more likely to exhibit stereotypic judgment and behavior regarding women; brain structure in men and women is significantly different such that the two sexes are affected differently by and respond differently to different types of advertisements, and advertisers should be aware of this when promoting a product aimed primarily at either men or women; gender stereotypes have and continue to exist in advertisements, although this has decreased over time; grooming products for men are part of the way a man may define his self image; sex and sexual imagery in advertising are used to suggest that use of a brand will increase a user’s sexual attractiveness or activeness. In the business literature, the findings were that metrosexuals (straight men who place great importance on grooming and appearance) represent a growing body of “prosumers,” or consumers who are proactive in obtaining just the right product to affect their appearance; the men’s grooming market is experiencing growth, but retailers have not sufficiently taken advantage of this opportunity; the change in men’s attitudes pertaining to grooming is part of a greater cultural shift partly influenced by portrayals of men in the media, and consequently men and women are becoming more equal in terms of their focus on grooming products; men’s departments in large retail stores are changing to accommodate the changing attitudes of male shoppers; in the last sixty years, concurrent with social changes, the idea of masculinity has changed, and marketers are targeting those men who may feel confused about what it means to be “natural” man.

With this in mind, a focus group study and a survey were conducted to gauge how male consumers react to specific male grooming ads and how grooming products fit into their lives. The focus group participants generally had a more favorable reaction to that ads that were clever or told a story, while ads that were too blatant or aggressive had a much less favorable reaction. Respondents to the survey displayed a range of opinions regarding the questions asked of them. However, these respondents indicated that they relied predominantly on peripheral cues for assessing a grooming product.

Problem Description

Self-image has traditionally been a concern for women in society however, times have been changing. Through scientific research and observation of social trends, we can see that men are starting to find their identity in their image and care of their body, not just in their social status and/or occupation. The grooming market has picked up on this trend and is now reacting to it. Until now it has been a female dominated market, but with the rise of metrosexuals and men who are not afraid to spend the extra time and money to look younger and stylish, men have now become a viable market. And with the male grooming market rising, the mystery that has yet to be solved is how the minds of these more “feminine” men work in terms of their consumption behavior.

Literature Review (Academic)

Gender Typed Advertisements and Impression Formation: The Role of Chronic and Temporary Accessibility

Research has shown that judgments and behavior can be affected by depictions of women in stereotypical roles in advertising. To what extent these judgments and behaviors are affected depends on the confluence of the portrayal in the advertisement and the viewer’s preexisting gender stereotypes. This corresponds to the accessibility principle, which assumes that information is interpreted in terms of the applicable concept that is most accessible at the time of encoding. Gender stereotypes, with which the article is primarily concerned, are “beliefs that certain attributes differentiate women and men” of which there are four main components: trait descriptors, physical characteristics, role behaviors, and occupational status; each component has both a masculine and a feminine version. The article summarizes the results of three experiments relating to portrayals of gender stereotypes and their effects.

The first experiment examines how its participants, who have varying levels of tendency to stereotype, make associations with a category labeled “woman”; the task was to list what thoughts came to mind when given the category, and then to fill out the Deaux and Lewis scale, which asks the likelihood, on a scale of 0-100, that a woman has particular traits. The second experiment was split into two parts, involving filling out a disguised version of the Deaux and Lewis scale and then at a later time watching various advertisements and filling out a questionnaire rating a woman described according to her traits. The third experiment involved print advertisements containing women in stereotypical roles (as well as a control group of the same ads minus the women) along with a task rating the appropriateness of giving particular magazines as a gift to a woman described. The results of these studies suggest that depictions of women (as in, for example, advertisements) in stereotyped roles can lead to stereotypic behavior and judgments regarding women. This can even occur among those with a lower tendency to stereotype. However, it should be noted that the effects are short-term.


Communicating with the Sexes

Research has shown that men and women respond differently to different types of print advertisements. Women are shown to have superior affect and purchase intent toward advertisements that are verbal, harmonious, complex, and category-oriented. Men have superior affect and purchase intent toward advertisements that are comparative, simple, and attribute-oriented.

The human brain is divided into two hemispheres, where the left one specializes in verbal abilities and the right one specializes in spatial perception (Hansen 1981). Lateralization occurs when one hemisphere becomes dominant in its control of an individual behavior. Recent studies show that the two hemispheres are more symmetrically organized (i.e., integrated) in females and more specialized in males. Since the most consistent sex differences in cognitive functioning are found in tasks involving either verbal or spatial skills, the differential lateralization might underlie the sex differences in cognitive skills. This leads to the conclusion that integrated/symmetrical processors (i.e., females) are likely to value information-rich sources while specifically/specialized processors (i.e., males) are likely to value highly focused information pertaining to one or a few key attributes.

In modern times, there have been tremendous socio-cultural changes, such as increased positive attitudes about equality between sexes, higher female participation in leadership roles, etc. Gender identities are constantly evolving and recent societal changes are responsible for increased role switches between the sexes. Although society is constantly changing, there are numerous circumstances where advertisers who are targeting one sex in particular would be wise to tailor their advertising strategies according to the different procession styles found in male versus female audiences.


Gender Issues in Advertising

Advertising over the years has changed significantly, specifically with regard to gender. After examining several decades of advertising and advertising research we can see several distinct differences in the way advertising portrays both men and women and how men and women respond to/process advertising.

As far as gender portrayal goes, while gender role stereotyping has and always will exist in advertising, the majority of studies find that stereotyping has been decreasing steadily over time. With regards to processing advertisements, women tend to engage in more comprehensive processing, especially when there is some risk involved while men tend to assimilate only salient cues. Under low risk situations, women and men typically process in a similar manner, but when there are higher risk things such as more objective messages are more effective with women.

There is still controversy in assessing whether gender of the spokesperson in an advertisement has any effect. Researchers have found that at times it does and at time it does not. However, what is more conclusive is the difference in men and women’s responses to advertisements. Research has shown that women are much more likely to find advertisements sexist and react negatively towards stereotypical role portrayal. Also, females are much more accepting of male nudity when compared to men. Furthermore, men are very much aroused by female nudity while women are made tense by it.

Overall, what this article suggests is that marketers need to play close attention to the distinctions between men and women with regard to the images they portray and how their messages get across. With this awareness, marketing efforts’ efficiency can be increased and either group can be communicated to more effectively.


Making Himself Attractive: The Growing Consumption of Grooming Products

Self image and construction of that image is not only a care for women anymore. Men are as much a part of modern consumerism as women are. The identity of a man is now found in the style of dress and care of their body. And the consumption of the grooming products is a vehicle men can use to create and define their identities and image. Judgments about individuals are no longer made on their status in society and their careers alone, but their appearance and how they present themselves. Such changes in society in the now postmodern times have catapulted this market into trying to supply this growing demand.

This market that is now created can be segmented into different categories such as: fragrances, body-sprays, deodorants, men’s shaving preparations, hair care, shower gels, talcum powder, and skin-care products. Of these, the fragrances category is the largest single sector even with the rising importance of the other sectors. Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, and Sara Lee are the three biggest companies supplying these sectors.

Through interviews that were conducted, there were several strong reasons to why this growth of male grooming products was happening. The first of these reasons were the aforementioned need for men to create and maintain a self-image. Additionally within this issue, there was a distinction between images in the social sphere and the professional sphere. A more “fiery” and “fiercer” image was wanted when going out whereas a more “pleasant” and “educated” image was wanted in the professional context. Secondly, the fight to stop the ageing process through anti-wrinkle creams, and maintaining the youthful appearance was also a strong catalyst in the growth of this market. Thirdly, attraction towards the opposite sex was also a reason. The care and choices they made in products such as aftershave was not only for grooming purposes but also because men found that women like the smell of aftershave. In conclusion, more than just consuming these products for consumptions sake, it was an extension of their want to have an image in society and because of the meaning that was attributed to the consumptions of these products.


Sex in Advertising: Perspectives in Erotic Appeal

Sex in advertising can take many forms, from blatant nudity, to physical attractiveness of models, to subtle (or not so subtle) sexual referents. The last is perhaps the most relevant to our study and arguably the most interesting because they are implicit; they elicit or educe sexual thought in the viewer. Sexual referents depend on the viewer to interpret the message in the intended fashion. Freud described sexual innuendoes or sexually suggestive content as “a command or piece of information that triggers or arouses an idea in a person’s mind” (Reichert 24). Others refer to sexual referents as suggestive fantasies, or “appeal[s] that link the product to imaginative wish fulfillment, implicitly promising fantasy gratification of sexual motives” (Reichert 24).

Sex in advertising is an attempt to differentiate the ad from the ever “spectacle-filled”, over saturated, world of advertising. Not only do the advertisements serve as attention grabbing devices, but they also serve as arguments for buying the brand. These sexual appeals in advertising suggest that sex-related benefits can accrue to the brand user and that the user will become more sexually attractive or active: “Buy this product, use it as directed, and you’ll end up in a situation like the one pictured in this ad” (Reichert 30). However, these spectacle advertisement techniques tend to be short-lived; the next step requires the product to deliver the expected experience.

The definition of masculinity has evolved over the past few decades to include multiple representations of maleness. “Advertising serves as the primary lexicon of gender images, responsible for the wide dissemination of currently relevant masculine and feminine imagery” (Reichert 216). “The 20th century inherited the physical and sociocultural image of the true man as one who has overcome the female components of his nature” (Reichert 220).

One of the most popular male stereotypes is the superhero (Reichert 221).

“The concept of an ideal male body still reflects the equation of beauty and goodness, for societal benefits accrue to attractive men, generally considered to be happier, more successful, and more in control of their lives than those who are unattractive” (Reichert 222).

Men, despite some popular belief, are generally concerned with their appearance and image, leading to a goldmine for marketers. “Men have been found to be very aware of images of their own body and of the idea body, and have expressed the greatest dissatisfaction about weight, chest size and musculature, and waist size. Men are conscious of having to stave off fat, flab, and the signs of old age” (Reichert 223). This consciousness serves as a perfect opportunity for marketers to fill the gap between the actual and desired male image.

Literature Review (Business)

Metrosexuals Come Out

Metrosexuals, “straight urban men willing, even eager, to embrace their feminine sides,” are a group whose buying habits represent an important consumer trend. The hallmark of the metrosexual is a “heightened sense of aesthetics,” leading to an interest in grooming-related products such as hair coloring and body spray. Similar to the way in which suburban teenagers have appropriated urban culture, so have straight metrosexuals appropriated aspects of gay culture into their lives.

Metrosexual men are “prosumers”—proactive consumers who will spend more (e.g., $135 for a pair of Diesel jeans) and do more (approach the women’s cosmetics counter to buy Clinique cosmetics for men) to get exactly the right product. Retailers are hoping not only to market to those who think of themselves as metrosexuals, but also to men who may be “on the fence” as to how they define themselves. Reaching this latter demographic requires a product that satisfies both the traditional masculine and metrosexual mindsets, such as the Sharps line of shaving gels that incorporate masculine imagery on the packaging with ingredients such as Roman chamomile and green tea.


Men’s Proclivity for Preening

The market for male grooming market has been growing, but the retail industry for such a market has not been adequately harnessing this opportunity. Evidences of this can be seen in the fact that even though the male grooming industry is in its infancy stages, there is already a variety of choices for products and a high rate of development of these products. However, the problem lies not in supplying these products, but in drawing out the demand for the products. Retailers have failed to package and market these products to men without having them feel like they have to forfeit their masculinity.

At the same time, they are losing their most primary segment: the 25-34 year old age group. These are the group of people that are young enough to care and spend money on their appearance, and have the disposable income to do so. This segment has shrunk by 17.8% over the past five years. Such trends only show the consequences of the retailer’s incompetence, but it can be quickly remedied. The market is still growing steadily and in recent studies one in four men have been using moisturizers as a part of their daily routine since 2002.

Other studies have shown that men prefer male only products as opposed to unisex ones and are more prone to discounts rather than brand loyalty—they would go for the cheaper product rather than the best one. If retailers can understand these needs and create a market that becomes more male-friendly than female-dominated, the market will flourish. The male grooming market is a market that is just waiting to find a reason to grow.


The Grooming Game

Men wake up, wash their face hastily, shave quickly, and leave to do what they have to do. Women wake up, shower leisurely, put on make up and skin care creams, and spend an eternity grooming themselves. This is what it uses to be, how times have changed. It is more common now in the 21st century that men are the ones taking more time to tend to their appearance. Reasons this has happened has a lot to do with the current trends and influences in the society we live in. Men today see nothing wrong with looking as young as possible, being stylishly groomed, and sporting fashion brand fragrances. Reality shows portraying a “real” world populated by only good-looking men and women has also influenced the cultural shift, with new sections in drug and department stores dedicated to men’s grooming and health.

The men’s grooming market remains largely untapped and is expected to grow considerably given the cultural shift that has occurred. Arden Report 2003 projects that the men’s skin care segment will in fact lead market growth with an increase of almost 16% by 2006. A key growth driver is the aging baby boomer male who wants to look as young as he can, prompting many companies to add new fragrances with more choices and benefits to fit this segmentation. With so many different types of men’s skin care products launched into the market, men now face what women face-deciding which one will work best for them. No longer is it just women that care about their appearance but now men too. It is safe to say the rules have changed for both genders.


Rethinking the Men’s Department

With the increasing amount of men concerned with clothing, style and personal grooming, retailers are now changing their stores to help accommodate the new male shopper.

Retailers like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s are increasing their men’s department floor spaces, creating dedicated men’s cosmetic counters and more frequently updating their men’s styles. Michael Macko, men’s fashion director at Saks, clearly explains this phenomenon by saying that male customers “don’t want to be next to all the ladies getting makeovers”. As obvious as it may seem, this is a very important idea to remember because although men are becoming increasingly fashion conscious, they don’t want to appear to be emasculated by having to shop in the same departments as women.

Stores are also not only trying to attract more male customers, but they are also trying to facilitate their purchasing by grouping clothes together. Retailers understand that it can be quite inconvenient and/or difficult for men to shop for clothing with the way men’s sections have typically been structured. In response to this, Saks has restructured its men’s departments into “lifestyle” categories as opposed to organizing them by clothing types. What this does is allow men to purchase entire outfits in one place and not have to deal with multiple sales clerks.

While men are shopping for themselves more in general, as opposed to having their girlfriends buy clothing for them, retailers need to recognize this and the problems involved in order to help make shopping easier for men. In taking this action, retailers can effectively take advantage of this trend.


Man vs. Man: Did marketing kill the Great American Alpha Male?

How should a young masculine male behave and how can marketers reach them? That is the question this article tries to answer. The idea of masculinity has changed since the 1940’s and 50’s where the ideal man was or should have been the husband, breadwinner, father, and warrior of society. Nowadays, they are more feminized. There seem to be an identity crisis for the American man where they have forgotten how to act “natural”. This confusion creates difficulties for the marketers trying to reach them. Many marketers spend millions conducting research on this market segment, but are struggling to master the many ironies in the ideal masculine icons of today.

The male identity has evolved in many ways due to social changes. Since feminism happened after WWII, women’s demands for jobs, equal rights, having children without fathers have greatly affected the mind set of men. They are no longer influenced by the male figure in their lives during their early years and have a set identity after college in society of how a “natural” man should behave. Women, mothers and peers, influence the American male greatly after this period. Such influences created the new generation of metrosexuals; men who are comfortable approaching women openly as an equal. This segment of male consumers is more in touch with their feminine side, and very different from the traditional view of the typical male consumer. Redefining the “natural” male makes the male consumers today feel lost and more vulnerable. Marketers are taking full advantage of this period to help the American male “find themselves”.


Conclusion

In general, men seem to be more inclined towards simple and attribute-oriented ads while women lean toward complex and category-related ads—men are more cerebral while women are more emotional. However, with both sexes crossing over and blurring those lines, marketers are having trouble with deciding what to hold onto regarding the “natural” man, and what to embrace with the “feminine” man. One option is for the retailers to approach metrosexuals and those “on the fence” in the way that has appealed to men until now: simple advertisements that highlight features and deliver its benefits in a clear and concise way, but do away with the stereotypes that were present in those advertisements. The second option is to target the feminine side of these men and create hybrid advertisements that can appeal to the cerebral, while at the same time touch upon the budding emotional side of these males. Both choices seem to be very possible, and what is left to do is further probe and accurately predict the role in which men will play in society regarding their image and care for their body.


Hypothesis

Our hypothesis is to follow the first option in advertising to the new male grooming market.



Reference List

Byron, Ellen. “Shopping: Rethinking the Men's Department”. Wall Street Journal: Oct. 8, 2005.

Johar, Gita Venkataramani , Page Moreau,Norbert Schwarz. “Gender Typed Advertisements and Impression Formation: The Role of Chronic and Temporary Accessibility” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 220–229: 2003.

Kohane, Jack. “The Grooming Game”. Pharmacy Post. Scarborough: Jan. 2004. Vol. 12. Iss. 1; pg. 34.

Lindsay, Greg. “Man vs. Man: Did marketing kill the Great American Alpha Male?” Advertising Ages: June 13, 2005.

“Men’s Proclivity for Preening” Marketing Week. Sept. 4, 2003.

Putrevu, Sanjay. “Communicating With The Sexes". Journal of Advertising, Vol. 33, no 3 (Fall 2004) pp. 51 - 62.

Reichert, Tom and Jacqueline Lambiase. “Sex in Advertising: Perspectives in Erotic Appeal”. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. London. 2003.

Sturrock, Fiona and Elke Pioch. “Making Himself Attractive: The Growing Consumption of Grooming Products”. Marketing Intelligence and Planning: 1998.

St. John, Warren . “Metrosexuals Come Out”. The New York Times: June 22, 2003.

Wolin, Lori D. “Gender Issues in Advertising - An Oversight Synthesis of Research: 1970-2002". Journal of Advertising Research: Oct. 2003.

Part II (Focus Group Study)

Overview of Study

A focus group was conducted in order to gain initial insight into our respondents and make sure our survey captured all the nuances of the demographic.


Hypotheses or Predictions

Males appreciate “male” advertising, even in the traditionally more feminine grooming products space. Males will not have the motivation (both motivation and ability are needed for central processing of advertisements) to scrutinize product ingredients or product attributes, but will instead be more influenced by the “flashiness” and humor of the advertisements (peripheral processing).


Actual Procedure through Research Results [this part I left out because it was hard to format. But it generally looks fine. Kate and I will work on it further if necessary. --Ben]

Discussion of Results

a. Interpretation of Results: An initial interpretation of the focus group results was done in order to make the survey more robust and comprehensive.

The focus group confirmed a lot of our thoughts about male reactions to advertising in the grooming products market; however, it also led to some new insights. We found that males tended not to be interested in the “fine print” describing the products and their attributes, but instead reacted more favorably to humorous and clever advertising. Additionally, the males in the focus group appreciated the masculinity of the advertisements. They did not want to be treated any more feminine because they cared about their appearance and style. This leads us to believe that there is a very different market for male grooming than for female grooming. (This thought will be further explored through survey analysis.)

Some insights that we did not anticipate were the males’ reactions to specific colors, fonts, and spokesmen. Additionally, we did not anticipate the appeal of cleverness or subtleness. The males in the focus group continued to react more favorably to the advertisements that “made them think” and were more turned off by the overly aggressive advertising. (As noted in the analysis of Advertisement #5.) We were also surprised to hear that a wide variety of options was important in the selection of grooming products. (As evidenced in the analysis of Advertisement #2.) All of these unexpected nuances will be further explored in the survey analysis.


b. Managerial Implications

Men tend to appreciate clever and witty advertisements based on the results of the focus group. Managers of the grooming industry might benefit from using the information to target their consumers more effectively. Based on the focus group, males tended not to be interested in the “fine print” describing the products and their attributes, but instead reacted more favorably to humorous and clever advertising. Additionally, the males in the focus group appreciated the masculinity of the advertisements. One of the most important factors are the spokesperson who were used in these advertisements. Favorable attitudes were present for figures like David Beckham, while unfavorable attitudes tended to be in the case when models, who were too “girly” looking, were used in the ad. Males especially look up to figures who were thought of to be masculine, charming, and smooth. They do not like it when the spokesperson were perceived to be too feminine. Managers should use all this information extracted from the focus group to better target males through advertisements. They should use clever and witty advertisements, and use spokespeople who are masculine, charming, and smooth (i.e., David Beckham, Brad Pitt, etc.).

c. Limitations of your study and areas of future research: One limiting factor in the focus group setting was the number of participants. Time warranting, it might have been beneficial to interview more respondents to see if we could gain any additional insights or confirm our current hypotheses.

Part II (Survey)

Overview of Study

We drew up a list of 15 questions (both quantitative and qualitative questions) to analyze the male segment and their attitude/behavior toward grooming products. The purpose of this survey is to measure how the male consumers feel about grooming products, their general grooming behaviors, and their purchasing behaviors. We also wanted to analyze how these consumers feel about current advertisements of grooming products.

Hypotheses or Predictions

We predict that even with the growing popularity of the male grooming product market, where more and more men are using more grooming products, the male segment is still predominantly more attracted to the traditionally “male” advertising. The traditional “male” advertising appeal more toward the peripheral of information processing. Male consumers are attracted to peripheral cues such as positive feelings, humor, and short and simple message length. Men still use grooming products based on their previous uses or products that are recommended by their fathers or close friends. The male segment is not finding the type of appeal to the grooming advertisements that would normally appeal to women.


Actual Procedure

We tested 30 different male consumers. Three of the group members each distributed 10 surveys to friends, people in school, or people on the street. We did not monitor the subject when they were answering these questions, they did not have any time limits, and gave back the survey when they finished filling it out. Our survey consists of 15 questions (Appendix 2). The survey is predominantly quantitative questions on a scale of 7 or 9 with 4 being the neutral position. To measure attitudes of grooming products, we used the semantic differential scales with opposing adjectives. We used this technique to measure the frequency of use of different grooming products, the importance of different product attributes, effectiveness of different advertising techniques, and consumer attitude of their image (psychoanalysis). We also used open-ended questions to see what products they are currently using and for what purpose. Questions 14 and 15 of the survey was used to test if consumers are aware and remembered current advertisings of grooming products and why these advertisements caught their attention. General questions such as age, race, income, and education was asked at the very end to collect demographic information of the consumers we tested.

Subject Information

The subjects of our survey were strictly male consumers. These subjects where chosen at random. Of the 30 subjects we sampled, 14 were of Asian Americans decent, seven white, and two people of Hispanic decent. All subjects were within the age group of 19 to 25 predominantly with income lower then $30,000 and a college degree (mostly in their fourth year in college).

Research Results

After analyzing the results of the survey, there were no significant correlations between answers to specific questions, however there were some averages worth noting. With regard to factors leading to purchase grooming products, Brand, Price and Features received average scores of 4.6, 4.8 and 4.8 respectively, with Ingredients receiving the lowest average score of 3.5. When asked if physical appearance was important, the average score for respondents was 6.1 and when asked if “fine print” was always read, the average score was a 3.7. Also, when asked later in the survey how carefully product descriptions and ingredients lists were read, the average scores were 4.6 and 3.4, respectively. With regard to what products respondents are using or have used, the majority used typical male grooming products such as deodorant, cologne and hair gel quite regularly, but there were some (although few) that reported using “non-traditional” grooming products such as Hair Volumizer, Body Lotion, Hand Cream and Face Cream to some extent. When asked about what sources of information were used when purchasing grooming products, there were no outstanding scores any source except for Previous Use. Of note though, was the fact that respondents just about equally rely on recommendations from both male and female friends. The averages scores were 4.6 and 4.9 respectively. When presented with the statements “I follow current trends/fashions” and “I am a sensitive person”, the average scores were 5.3 and 4.9 respectively. Finally, roughly one third of respondents could not recall an advertisement, but of those who did, seven recalled an Axe ad citing reasons such as humor, sex appeal, comical innuendos and frequency of presentation for remembering the ads. Other ad recalls were not so consistent in reasons for remembering. Reasons ranged from frequency of ad on T.V. and respondent currently using the product to a high-tech appeal and Chuck Norris being the spokesperson.

Discussion of Results

a. Interpretation of Results:

In general, our results confirmed our hypothesis that the male segment is still predominantly more attracted to traditionally “male” advertising, relying on predominantly peripheral cues. As can be seen from the survey results, although respondents did show some level of concern for their physical appearance and current trends, which coincides with the growing trend of the more “fashionable male”, respondents were typically not so concerned with things such as product ingredients when purchasing a grooming product (information that would be key to central processing). Also, a significant portion could not recall any ad at all for a grooming product that did, but of the respondents that did, humor, sex appeal and ad frequency were the reasons for remembering (all pertinent to peripheral processing). This also coincided with the fact that respondents predominantly relied on previous use as a source of information when purchasing grooming products, as opposed to T.V. and print ads. Interestingly enough, with regard to information sources, we had expected men to mostly rely on recommendations from male friends concerning grooming products, but an almost equal amount said that they relied on recommendations from female friends. Another interesting observation was the fact that there were actually respondents who reported using things such as facial cream, body lotion and even hair volumizer. We did not expect many, if any at all, to report using these products. We suspect this also coincides with the growing trend in the more “fashionable male” or “metrosexual” that is concerned with his physical appearance.

b. Managerial Implications:

Coinciding with our hypothesis, although the contemporary male consumer is more fashion/image conscious (a traditionally “feminine” concern) than the traditional male consumer, it is important to acknowledge that despite this, they are still men and react to advertising that has typically been shown to be more effective with men. This means that in effective marketing to the current male consumer, central processing cues such as product ingredients and product features/benefits are not as important as peripheral processing cues such as humor, sex appeal and frequency of exposure to the advertisement (such as the approach that companies such as Axe or TAG have been taking with their body sprays).

c. Limitations of your study and areas of future research:

The main limitation of our study was the sample size. A sample of 30 individuals is nowhere near enough for a truly representative portion of the male market. Furthermore, respondents were typically between ages 19-25, undergraduate students and of low income with significant portions being Asian or White. This of course is due to the fact that most of the study was conducted on campus, but there may have been some critical observations or correlations across other demographics i.e., older, more affluent individuals of more varying ethnicities. Another possible shortcoming of our study has to do with social bias by the respondents. When dealing with questions of traditional “masculinity”, men can be very uncomfortable in admitting that they are trendy or sensitive (which we asked directly in the survey). On the other hand, being in contemporary society, a male respondent may want to seem or would like to think of himself as trendy or sensitive and so may answer to reflect that when in fact he is not so trendy or sensitive at all.

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