Sunday, March 4, 2012

Macho men deserve macho products

If you think the most blatant retail manifestation of masculine aggression is found in video games, take a walk down the deodorant aisle. It is no accident the word "Axe" is used to sell after-shave, because men love nothing better than a) sharp objects and b) things with which they can whack other things.

(Brand names which Unilever tested and rejected before settling on "Axe" include "Gat" and "Shiv.")

Violence as a selling tool is a pretty blunt instrument, and so for men predictably effective. Axe has a style of deodorant called "Anarchy," which I guess is for when civilization as we know it crumbles but you still want to smell nice.

A brand called "Every Man Jack" brings to mind hand to hand combat on the deck of a rough ship, but its body wash's masculine message is somewhat undercut by the ingredient list, which includes "coconut-derived surfactants."

DIAL has a men's body wash called "Full Force," with actual molded plastic hand grips on the bottle, which sent me into such a macho mindspace that when I read the directions ("Lather up") I thought they said "Leather up," which would not be a bad brand name either. It could compete with Old Spice's "Swagger" and "Danger Zone."

I never considered the arm pit a danger zone, but perhaps the Israelis have figured out a way to kill with it, and have passed their secrets on to Procter & Gamble. 

Degree has an "Adrenaline series" of products, because hey, nothing gets a man's blood pumping like caulking his pits.

Speed Stick (a brand whose antiquated racing reference borders on charming) has a deodorant called "Energy Surge," which inexplicably contains no caffeine, but perhaps its C12-15 alkyl benzoate really gets you going.

Dove, as you might expect given its pacifist symbolism, attempts to compete with the bruisers above with a deodorant called vaguely, "Aqua Impact." Perhaps a little less olive branch and a little more market research, people.

A fluffy body scrubber cannot be called that in the men's aisle. There it is touted as (I kid you not) a "shower tool" or, in a nod to the manly automotive world, a "detailer."

I have never seen tweezers sold in the men's aisle, but if they were, I have no doubt one brand would be called "The Extractor."

You want to sell to a man, you have to think like a man. That's what they call a no-brainer.

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