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 “guardyourmanhood.com.”
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: