By: Robert Davies
When we look at advertising in the past, it is very apparent that commercials and advertisements geared toward a male audience generally featured women in bikinis, underwear, or other suggestive material as the focal point. This has long been the easiest, most effective way to gain the attention of the male audience, and it is still used today, particularly in the “controversial” GoDaddy.com Superbowl commercials featuring Danica Patrick.
However, this “sex sells” approach is becoming less and less common. In today’s advertising world, the material with which companies advertise to men is drastically changing. Fewer commercials created for a male audience are featuring scantily clad women. Instead, these new commercials feature men doing an array of activities with their guy friends.
Jeans commercials that used to show a man and woman kissing now feature guys playing football and doing other manly things. One industry that has taken to this new kind of advertising is the alcohol industry. Dos Equis commercials feature a man… “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” in fact… rather than a scantily clad woman or two. Even Chivas Regal scotch has launched a new ad campaign called “Here’s to Best Friends,” which features a group of four friends out-and-about on their wild adventures. So why the shift in the content of advertisements?
I personally attribute much of this shift to a changing dynamic in popular culture. Box office hit movies like “I Love You, Man,” “The Hangover,” and “Horrible Bosses” all chronicle the wacky adventures of a group of friends. The stranger the group is, the funnier the adventures seem to be. When we watch a movie, we all realize that our groups of friends don’t look like the cast of “Ocean’s 11,” and don’t engage in the some kinds of activities as “The Avengers.” We want to connect with the characters in the film, so the more quirks of imperfections a character has, the more we identify with them. As movies like these become wildly popular, commercials have followed suit and shifted their focus to the relationships between men and their friends. As long as “bromances” continue to be so prevalent in popular culture, commercials will continue to capitalize on the fact that men want to believe that their group of friends is fun and capable of engaging in ridiculous shenanigans like in the movies.