They need to be bold enough to stand at the department store make-up counter or peruse the night creams in the drugstore aisles – both very female environments.
So, what’s a guy to do?
Stay under the radar, by having his wife or girlfriend buy it for him? Or head online – to the sanctuary of anonymity?
Because most men likely do feel they have to hide this sort of purchase, this trend may be slow to build (whether men are buying/using such products will be hard to verify, if nothing else).
Lately I’ve been exploring how traditionally female-oriented industries (skincare/apparel, for example) tend to unnecessarily alienate a lot of male prospects by, well…being too “pink” in their approach. The interest from men is there, but the barriers and affronts to society’s expectations for masculinity are a lot to ignore.
Now, those expectations are slowly evolving (there’s a great comment in a discussion about this in RetailWire, that mentions something called “situational masculinity”), but the as yet default marketing to women approach (known here as “Pink Thinking”) isn’t helping. And, I’m guessing women themselves may be wondering how long brands will continue using this type of cutesy/pink approach.
Take the recently launched campaign for the Today Sponge, for instance. According to an article by Jane L. Levere in the New York Times, the packaging – and web site – has a more “modern look” using, not pink, but “wine” and “fuchsia” as its primary palette.
Hmmm. That doesn’t sound too modern to me. The campaign does have its positives, in terms of interacting with customers and gathering their stories, but in other ways it seems to have made some grand assumptions about women.
But, back to the risks a brand may take in losing prospective male customers while going overboard grasping for the womens’ vote.
These days women may be a lot more comfortable entering a man’s consumer realm than vice versa. Women have simply had to do it to get what they want for a lot of years. Now brands are truly scrambling to meet the needs of women, but are taking the easy way out – by pinkifying. This means they will be more likely to turn off any possible male customers that may come along.
Marketing transparently to women, thus serving perhaps higher standards for customer experience, shouldn’t alienate men – and so should give the brand two or more customers for the price of one. Pink Thinking, on the other hand may attract attention in the short term, but in the long run the approach will be too superficial to keep female customers loyal and it may very likely exclude men altogether. So, the negative far outweighs any potential positive.
Careful what you pink for.