The 5 Manliest Brands In Social Media

A man sits at a computer in an office, looking at the blog. A beautiful woman enters, walks to him, and reads over his shoulder, then looks back at the camera: “Manly, yes, but I like it, too.”

You may not remember the line from the 1970s Irish Spring soap commercials. Just know that the attempt to convince men that a wise choice of consumer packaged goods makes them more manly is nothing new.

However, in an era of social media, this particular marketing habit has changed, and largely for the better. Humor often brings a nod and a wink that helps draw in the audience while telling the men, “We know you’re really above this.” Here are examples of some of the most manly-man-targeted social marketing around today.

1. Axe

Axe must be the ultimate example of the male marketing dorks-will-get-lucky message. That is, if the dorks are generally attractive enough to be models but still unable to get some loving attention.

Even though the premise of spray for play is absurd, it must trigger something in its target of young men because the products are wildly popular. Surely it’s not because international giant Unilever owns the brand. Maybe it’s the humor, as some of the advertisements running on YouTube have clever twists, like angels dropping out of the sky and tossing away their halos as they converge on one man now supernaturally attractive, thanks to Axe.

Axe does face the potential problem of being seen as chauvinistic. But given that the target audience is males 18 to 24 years old, by the time the label bothers them, they’ve likely already grown out of the target demographic.

2. Captain Morgan

You know you’ve done it — lifted your right knee and taken the Captain Morgan stance. That’s thanks in part to such social media as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which have become vital tools for the brand. Beverage giant Diageo runs guerrilla campaigns, getting the Captain Morgan character to appear at public events, almost guaranteeing some television time. PR stunts then get fed back into social media to help further the hip angle on the brand. (Is that a wooden hip, by any chance?)

The Captain’s first mate in this success is the integration of social and traditional media. Diageo doesn’t treat social media as a curiosity. It’s completely mainstream. Well, except for the swords, ships, and parrots. And the speed has let it advance a spirits brand faster than normal in the industry.


3. Dos Equis

Some of the manly-man brands are aimed at the younger set. Dos Equis looks for more … experienced audiences. The “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign — with the bearded gentlemen who has been everywhere, done everything, and says, “Stay thirsty, my friends” — actually has its own Wikipedia entry (itself a smart bit of social media marketing).

Unlike many other male-oriented brands, Dos Equis uses an older spokesman: American actor Jonathan Goldsmith, who is in his 70s. But the demographics doesn’t mean a traditional marketing campaign. Dos Equis makes smart use of Facebook, including one thematic contest after another.

Another campaign designed to go viral is “A Toast Most Interesting.” Participants make a video in which they reach to the right to accept a bottle of Dos Equis, giving a toast, and then offer the bottle to the left. The visual result is a bottle passing from one person to the next. Talk about a way to get people to buy beer just to participate.


4. Jameson Irish Whiskey 

The Jameson Irish Whiskey brand goes back to 1780, when John Jameson (irony of ironies, a Scott) opened his distillery in Dublin. This is hardly a new and hip product, though it’s the single most popular Irish whiskey in the world.

Nevertheless, French distiller Pernod Ricard, which owns the brand, has invoked the social network Blarney Stone and shown that mature doesn’t necessarily mean out to lunch. Jameson has made use of media contests, inviting people to produce 60-second homages of their favorite films or, more recently, write a short script based on a legend or tall tale, with the winner getting to direct Kevin Spacey in the finished short film.

Not bad for 231 years old. Sláinte!

5. Old Spice

The ultimate example of old media blending into new is the Old Spice Guy campaign, in which former NFL receiver Isaiah Mustafa explained how you could be as awesome as he if only you wore Old Spice.

The campaign was a marvel of taking an old and even tired brand and completely recreating it. Brand owner Procter & Gamble used mainstream advertising to create awareness and then moved online. A Twitter account started getting a load of messages, so P&G had Mustafa respond to some with personal videos that went onto YouTube. Now that’s interactive entertainment.


Put humor, inventiveness, interactivity, and social media together, and you could have a massively winning marketing campaign too.

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