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Marketing to men by appealing to "manfluencers"

We did not invent the word "manfluencers." They did.

Hooray for gender equality! We’ve finally discovered something to rival the insultingly asinine results you see whenever some company’s marketing department tries repackaging gender-neutral items “for women” --  the insultingly asinine results you get when another company’s marketing department tries repackaging gender-neutral items “for men.”

Case in point: it was undefendibly ridiculous when the Bic corporation decided to take ordinary gender-neutral writing pens, make them in pastel colors, raise the price fourfold and sell them as “Bic For Her” pens.  

And it is equally if not more ridiculous when yogurt companies decide to take ordinary yogurt and turn it into manly yogurt by putting it in black-and-red packaging. (Ubiquitous pastels are annoying, yes, but at least they didn’t spend the bulk of the 20th century known as “the official color scheme of Nazi Germany.”)

Here is what the staid Wall Street Journal says about the trend, in a story titled “Groceries become a guy thing”:

Food makers, including giants Kraft Foods Group Inc. and General Mills Inc. eager for any potential new sales, are trying to win over men. Research indicates men are doing a greater share of the grocery shopping and meal preparation.

In a June survey of 900 meat-eating men ages 18 to 64, 47% were deemed "manfluencers" by Midan Marketing LLC, a Chicago market research group focused on the meat industry. Manfluencers are responsible for at least half of the grocery shopping and meal preparation for their households.


“Manfluencers.” They actually used the word “manfluencers,” and while we’ve never advocated a zero-tolerance policy toward the use of portmanteaus, “manfluence” sounds like a macho-ized version of the flatulence people of both genders suffer after eating too many improperly prepared baked beans.

But no. The way to influence a manfluencer and make him buy your processed food product offerings is via things like “Powerful Yogurt, a Greek yogurt launched in March featuring a bull's head symbol on red-and-black packaging and an image of stomach muscles next to the slogan ‘Find Your Inner Abs’.”

The quest for manliness also explains the new black-and-red color scheme now found on boxes of “Ultimate” Hamburger Helper—the WSJ helpfully explains that “ultimate” is a very manly buzzword—and included such case studies as that of Ultimate Hamburger Helper customer Jeremy Alinder, a divorced 39-year-old who often prepares Ultimate Hamburger Helper his three young daughters.

The daughters of men eat differently than do the daughters of women, you see; that’s what manfluence does to our society.

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