The slow death of Macho —
Finding the new male brand voice

As we all age in this atmosphere of Western affluence it seems society goes under pressure in trying to reinvent itself. Harley Davidson the classic icon of that carefree American irreverance is losing out to foreign rivals in its home market for the first time. We’re seeing less macho males going through the mid-life crisis as ageing baby boomers are not being allowed to use their noisy pride and joy in the rest home carparks.

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There are many brands facing the same challenge, having hung out there to long in an entrenched tradition of macho, they simply can’t do cool or when they try it doesn't seem to come off. It’s a subtle thing to capture the male fancy without being patronising or effeminate in a world where their territory is shrinking to ballsy women.

It’s a subtle thing to capture the male fancy without being patronising or effeminate

Men want to be men but finding the right tone of voice in the brand requires sensitive insights and the social down draught is coming fast from media, that menace and violence towards women and animals is not on. No longer can a dentist shoot lions in Africa even with a permit. So we are finally seeing the death of Hemingway’s macho myth who in fact went out and shot himself because he could no longer get it up.

 Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Replacing the virile male image and creating the cool story is about celebrating character rather than deed. Its more the laconic humour, the self deprecation, the understatement, which captures this new male brand essence more than muscle and grit.

creating the cool story is about celebrating character rather than deed

Stanley Tucci is the thinking woman’s crumpet. He is smart, articulate, funny, handsome and tactile, actor, director, producer, writer, cookbook author, father and altruist. With that special kind of manly self-assuredness that can make you laugh. We still like our male to protect, to guard, to defend if he has to, but with the brooding reluctance of Jason Bourne rather than the John Wayne punch up where Harley Davidson still clearly feel they are.

 Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci

Women undoubtedly want their men to be men, but they now have a great deal more say and influence when it comes to choosing something. Well over 60% of all personal male purchase decisions are made with partner influence, and you often see the female partner alongside the male purchase in stores. One soundless wince is enough from her and it goes back on the rack. So it’s by these associations we have to better understand the male purchase and how to do cool whether it’s a motorbike, a pair of boots or even a holiday destination.

The adventure clothing industry is probably the worst in its role model reinforcement and every photo shoot is so generic and similar in story it goes unnoticed. It seems they are frightened of a little wit and discourse or the kids who design and choose the imagery are students of design rather than human nature. There is an opportunity to capture this new brand of male voice and its going to require some courage to break from tradition.

Lumberjacks in their cabins by the river simply won’t do it I’m afraid.