Depends For Men: Guard Your Manhood


On the buying and selling of toughness and aargh!

This morning, Tony Siragusa – former NFL defensive tackle and current host of Man Caves – was featured on Huff Post Live to push his “Guard Your Manhood” campaign for Depends. He talked about how one-in-six men will suffer from prostate problems, including leakage, and how he didn’t think it right that products simply didn’t exist for men out there. “I saw it as a challenge,” he said.

One can assume by “challenge” he meant taking a product and a brand that is, especially among men, inextricably linked to the elderly, and making it cool and “manly.” Selling it by wrapping it in over-the-top gender-role theatrics.

In an article titled, Examining Media’s Socialization of Gender Roles, Dr. Warren Blumenfeld said this of the campaign:

“A brawny Tony Siragusa shouts out over the television screen that for men “who leak a little,” using Depend Shields and Guards for Men will “guard your manhood.” Siragusa reminds us that he “has been around some of the toughest guys in football,” and advises the leaking men in the audience to use “man-style protection” and to create “man space” in their bathrooms replete with a dart board and darts, bowling ball, free-standing weights, poker chips, table ice hockey set, and a humungous sports trophy. For further training by the former football star, guys need to connect to the web at “”

As one scrolls down, a series of objects jump to the fore (a set of billiard balls, guitar, boxing gloves, and, of course, boxes of Depend Shields and Guards). Tony’s video “Know Your Gear” appears for the viewer to begin the “training.”

Using his deepest of deep voices, “First, let’s talk about the tools of the trade.” Reminding the guys that “Ladies have their own stuff,” while he grabs and lifts a white flowered basket filled with brightly colored, primarily pink, products, he sternly warns: “See this? This is for girls. This is NOT for you!,” as he forcefully hurls it to the floor. Pointing firmly with both hands (no hint of a limp wrist showing) to the boxes of Depend: “This is for guys … This is made for men! You don’t see any pink do you? No girly package.”

So do the stereotypes work? That is, are men more likely to purchase this product because of its association with all things sport and tough and aargh!? Unless advertisers simply have money to burn, something about this campaign must be working. The commercial below launched back in April and it’s still being used today. Check it out and post your thoughts:


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About Cameron Conaway

Cameron Conaway is a former MMA fighter, an award-winning poet and the 2014 Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Penn State Altoona. He is the author of Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet, Bonemeal: Poems, Until You Make the Shore and Malaria, Poems. Conaway is also on the Editorial Board at Slavery Today. Follow him on Google+ and on Twitter: @CameronConaway.


  1. i see nothing wrong with the ad.
    using big burly nfl Tony Siragusa to recast the product as masculine, and giving men cover to themselves and importantly to their women partners, was a wise choice

  2. Anything to avoid any appearance of possible vulnerability! THATS the crucial thing, after all! (sigh)

  3. Hi Cameron

    What is the problem here?
    With leakage of urin comes smell,and men’s sens of smell are said not to be as good as women’s.

    Lets be glad we have products like this, so life can go on as usual after cancer or when we age.

  4. It seems to me that associating a product with images that have positive connotations is standard practice in advertising. The objections to the commercial are directed at the traditional masculine images. I don’t have an issue with traditional masculine images. I don’t see all tradional masculine images as false social constructs, but real physical biological realities. I’m in the Camille Paglia school of thought on this one.

    And if there is an issue with using masculine stereotypes in advertising ,aren’t you guilty of this as well? You do bill yourself as the cagefighting poet. On your website you have juxtaposed a photograph of yourself at a mic apparently reciting a poem next to a photo of yourself pummeling your opponent in a cage fight. i’m not criticising you for it , but juxtaposing those two photographs looks like a deliberate attempt to counter the effete images associated with poetry with the masculine images of a fighter. I know you are multitudes and all, with contradicatory aspects of your personality like everybody else, but billing yourself as the cagefighting poet looks like a good sales gimmick.

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