Yogurt, candles, diet soft drinks. Chick stuff, all of it.
But with a package makeover and some clever marketing, manufacturers are hoping to increase sales of all three by bringing them into the domain of dudes.
Powerful Yogurt, a Greek yogurt “designed for the active man,” has now hit local shelves.
Dubbed “brogurt” by food blog Grub Street, it comes in a larger “man-sized” serving and therefore has a beefier protein content of up to 25 grams.
At Tops, Powerful Yogurt is currently priced at $2 for eight ounces, while Chobani Greek yogurt is $1 per six-ounce cup. Powerful’s striking red and black container is stamped with a logo resembling a steer’s skull and is contoured in the middle to represent toned abdominal muscles.
Touted as a “nutritional superfood” for fitness freaks, Powerful Yogurt’s tagline is “Find your inner abs.”
“Four out of 10 consumers are guys, but we realized they’re not being catered to,” said Carlos Ramirez, chief executive officer of the Florida-based company Powerful Men. “Guys are concerned about protein intake and building muscle, but no one was talking to them about yogurt.”
It’s pretty genius, really. Without the cost of creating a new product or significantly changing the old one, a slight shift in branding opens an entirely new avenue for sales.
“What you have here is a brand manager poring over research trying to extract a single benefit that can be marketed toward men,” said Bill Collins, principal at Travers Collins.
It’s not the first time a company has taken a product that has been successfully targeted to women and tried to open it up to a broader market – often with a higher price tag.
In an extreme example, one company is even marketing maxi pads to men.
Well, not maxi pads per se, but pretty close.
With a “Guard your manhood” campaign, adult diaper-maker Depend is hawking Guards and Shields – incontinence pads for men.
Touted as a solution for light bladder leakage, the products closely resemble female sanitary napkins, complete with “leak barriers” and an adhesive strip.
Yankee Candle recently released its second limited-edition collection of “man candles” scented like bacon and buttered popcorn.
It joins top-selling man candle favorites Man Town, First Down and Riding Mower.
In 2011, Dr Pepper Snapple Group famously launched a “manly” diet soda called Dr Pepper Ten after research showed men were hesitant to drink diet soft drinks, considering them feminine.
The company’s macho “Not for Women” campaign ran commercials during the U.S. Open and featured such imagery as a lumberjack eating tree bark and an action hero shooting laser guns from a dune buggy.
Seeing a similar opportunity with yogurt, Ramirez and his partners came up with the bigger 8-ounce container and a hyper-masculine marketing campaign.
In one ad, a buff cowboy hooks jumper cables to his abdominal muscles and uses them to jump-start an attractive blonde’s truck.
In another, a macho lumberjack strikes a match on his abs and starts a blazing fire for a female camper (whose shirt pops open, revealing robust cleavage).
In the next, a man plays a match of rapid-fire pingpong using his washboard abs instead of a paddle.
But commercials for Dannon’s Oikos Greek yogurt are clearly aimed at women. Featuring actor John Stamos and the yogurt as equal objects of lust, one commercial promises the yogurt will turn “the next person you see into John Stamos for 5 seconds.”
Like Powerful, other yogurt commercials aimed at women tout yogurt’s health benefits, but instead of a protein-packed, muscle builder, it’s presented as a “diet” food.
“When you engage in gender-based marketing, you have to be really careful,” he said. “If you’re not, you can offend your target market.”
Lindsey pointed to the launch of Bic Cristal pens for women, advertised as having a sleeker design to better fit a woman’s hand and as being available in an array of feminine colors.
The product marketing was skewered as sexist in thousands of Amazon reviews. Ellen DeGeneres devoted a five-minute monologue to its absurdity on national television, complete with a commercial parody.
The parody ended with a voice-over that said, “For best results, use while barefoot and pregnant.”
To truly succeed with a product marketed for a particular gender demographic, there must be meaningful differences between product types, not just advertising types, Lindsey said.