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Old Spice's female fans throw focus on beauty's gendered branding

17-Mar-2014
Last updated on 17-Mar-2014 at 17:24 GMT

Rising female consumer uptake of the traditionally male-focused Old Spice brand from P&G throws a spotlight on the careful negotiation beauty brands need to make with gendered branding as the male grooming sector continues to rise.

The number of personal care launches specifically targeted at men has increased globally by 70% over the past six years according to market research firm Mintel, as more men incorporate grooming into their routine and brands rise to meet their specific needs with better placed products than ever before.

Gendered marketing is of increasing concern to beauty brands as a result, with men responding most positively to men-only brands, less engaged with ‘for him’ versions of female brands.

Men on the rise

A lot of research and studies have looked into how to engage men and communicate the correct message to them, given that the market holds huge potential.

According to Euromonitor figures, by 2016, the US male grooming industry is projected to grow to $5.8 billion in revenue.

Research from Mintel shows that younger men are driving sales of personal care services, suggesting that this is a key demographic to engage.

Brands are responding to this, with Dove’s Men + Care range launch in 2010 meeting with healthy growth to date, and British male-only brand Bulldog successfully expanding into the US last year.

P&G remodeled their Old Spice brand, launching new branding in 2010 aimed at a younger demographic than its line had traditionally targeted, remaining very deliberately a men-only brand, and indeed experts suggest this is important.

“By creating a brand just for men, it stands out, and appeals more to the male consumer,” Bulldog co-founder Simon Duffy told Cosmetics Design.

“A male version of a female brand may not work. Being an exclusively male brand can appeal to men – and it has certainly worked for us,” he affirmed.

Female interest

Yet conversely, according to a Facebook group set up and run entirely by female consumers expressing their engagement with Old Spice, women don’t seem to be put off by explicitly male branding.

The group has attracted nearly 700 fans, and opening up the target consumer profile for the brand may aid in restoring P&G’s falling stocks, already down 3% this year.

It remains to be seen how well a ‘for-her’ version of a male brand would be received by consumers, potentially the next step for traditionally male-only brands.

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