Good Old-Fashioned Male Dominance

08 February 2010

There was a nasty rumor going around that this year’s Super Bowl ads would be far more targeted to men than last year’s rise of female-targeted commercials.  You can’t get much more macho than kicking off the first ad break with Rogaine, Callaway, Bud Light and Nike Basketball.  Well, maybe “macho” is the wrong word – more “new man”. 

It was all there last night:  man cave humor, gorgeous girls, cheesy drama, adultery (E*Trade’s Girlfriend), and, for the more tender chap, Dove’s Manthem.  Even the animals were more suitable to a male audience – less of the cuddly variety that appeal so well to women, and more robust animals featured by Bridgestone in its Whale of a Tale, and in Coke’s Sleepwalker.  The only cutesy animal was Monster’s Fiddling Beaver, and he got the girl in the end.  And let’s not forget the parade of the tighty-whities featured by both Career Builder’s Casual Fridays and Dockers’ Men Without Pants with a call to action that it’s “Time to wear the pants”. 

Why is that women were virtually ignored this year… when women have more purchasing power than ever before?  Did advertisers think women would take a bye on this year’s Super Bowl (perhaps working over the weekend)?  Or have marketers realized that it takes more than the traditional push-marketing approach to appeal to the feminine senses?  Women are much more “surround sound”  – they want to hear about brands and products from their friends, they want to have conversations about them, to touch and feel them, try and sample them, and generally engage more.  That can still be sparked by a Super Bowl ad, but needs to be followed up by more participative marketing engagement.

I will look forward to next year when perhaps we’ll see more of a mix.  For the time being, I’ll console myself with my favorite ads of the evening – Doritos’ Underdog - because the dog wins over man, and I love dogs!…and the short Late Night ad featuring David Letterman, Oprah and Jay Leno all sitting together on a couch.  You won’t find that one featured by Advertising Age, but all of the others are there.

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