The world of men’s marketing on the whole is ‘macho’ – from crisps and chocolate to deodorant and shower gel. Advertising often portrays men as ‘The Player’ or ‘The Beer Drinker’, reinforcing that they are a ‘Man’ or that they can get the girl.
A study found that as a result of this macho marketing, it isn’t only women that advertising has a negative affect on. Men too are becoming increasingly affected by media messages about body image, often feeling dissatisfied with their own bodies when exposed to muscular males.
However, when it comes to fashion, this has primarily been an area targeted at women. Retailers have an overwhelming tendency to focus on women's clothing rather than men's. In shops, men's clothing is often found at the back or in a secondary space. This is because whilst women want to shop, men simply want to buy.
But it would appear this is changing and there is currently a growing buzz around men’s fashion. In the UK, men have become so fashion-conscious that they are now outspending women on items like shoes. Figures from Mintel reveal that menswear now contributes £12.9 billion to the UK economy.
As a result fashion brands have moved to expand their menswear offerings, introducing broader product ranges and dedicated menswear stores – alongside, of course, a greater emphasis on marketing geared towards men.
The increase has grown with the rise of the metrosexual male – men with an interest in shopping, fitness and personal grooming. It is apparent through the marketing of men’s fashion that the metrosexual is an aspect of the macho man, but a more sophisticated variant.
Men are starting to invest more in their appearance and this has increased with musicians, actors and athletes paying far more attention to fashion, and collaborating with some of the world's biggest brands.
David Beckham, for example, has fronted several campaigns for high street store H&M. He’s a typical metrosexual and successful male, and wearing this clothing reinforces the idea that buying it will buy you tiny slice of their lifestyle, which is appealing to men.
The research from Mintel also found that men are four times as likely to prefer to buy classic styles that will last beyond the seasons, than to buy the latest fashion, and that 65% of men will shop for this online.
Men choosing to shop online means that digital is the perfect place for retailers to direct their marketing at them. They can be targeted through social media, video content and banner ads – which can keep popping up to remind them that they really need to return to Tic Watches and buy that timepiece they were looking at.
Men aren't generally interested in scrolling through endless pictures of clothes and shoes - they want stories and information. The key to reaching men is to create a digital message that focuses on lifestyle.
East London-based online fashion retailer The Idle Man – founded by Oliver Tezcan, who previously headed up the menswear section of ASOS - plans to pitch affordable menswear directly to the consumer. Tezcan believes men don't want choice, unlike women – they just want to find what they need quickly.
Men want to shop by being guided to what they are looking for - they want less browsing and more direction. Effectively they want to be told what to buy and the process of buying it to be as simple as possible.