Male Demo Tougher to Reach

NEW YORK Just a few years ago, marketing to men, 18-34, seemed as simple as staging a mud fight between two buxom women for Miller Lite.

Times have changed, however, and reaching that key demographic has become a more complex proposition as technology has improved and the media landscape offers more choices, according to panelists at the Marketing to Men 18-34 Conference held here this week and presented by Ripe TV and hosted by Adweek and its parent, the Nielsen Co., among others.

One way marketers can keep the demo hooked is to literally “surround” young men with the message by using multiple media channels and leaning on branded entertainment vehicles to drive their points home.

Case in point: Axe’s “Gamekillers” by Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which plugged the men’s deodorant and body sprays in an MTV show and Internet iterations.

The effort’s fun, multimedia approach helped keep it fresh and combat the “seen it, I’m over it factor that often plagues the demo,” said David Rubin, director of brand development at Axe parent Unilever, and Greg Anderson, director of engagement planning at BBH.

According to Rubin, the year the show was on sales of the product rose roughly 96 percent. “Expect to see another show on MTV this September,” he said.

Branded entertainment, of course, has been coming to the fore, and Ralph Santana, vp of Internet and sports marketing at PepsiCo, predicted this would be an even bigger area of focus going forward.

Patrick Bradley, president of Ripe TV, noted that the digital entertainment company recently signed a deal with the Creative Artists Agency to work with Hollywood’s top talent in the branded entertainment space, further emphasizing the synthesis of brands and media.

A challenge here, panelists agreed, is combining talent and brands that make sense together.

For example, in the African-American community, the paring of rapper 50 Cent and Glaceau’s Vitamin Water to create the grape-flavored Formula 50 drink succeeded because both the artist and the flavor appeal to that market segment, said Chris Lighty, CEO of Brand Asset Group and Violator Management. (50 Cent is a Brand Asset client.)