Are men not seeing enough sunscreen ads?

Bb Memorial Day weekend is over, and men across the U.S. are perched gingerly in their cubes, nursing painful, lobsterlike sunburns. Is this because they are stupid and oblivious and lack even a basic appreciation for skin-care products? Probably. But maybe advertising can shoulder some of the blame, too. According to a new study, 77 percent of sunscreen ads published between 1997 and 2002 appeared in women’s magazines. (The study looked at 783 ads in a total of 579 summer issues of 24 publications.) Outdoor and recreation magazines, typically read by men, contained less than one sunscreen ad per every six issues. The researchers think this is a large untapped market. “I’ve argued that advertising and communications should go on in boating, tennis and golf magazines,” says David J. Leffell of the Yale School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the study but does skin-care consulting for a large U.S. company. Adds Alan Geller of the Boston University School of Medicine, who was involved: “We know that men know much less about sun protection than women. Research has shown us that many, many people use sun-protection products and still get burned.”

—Posted by Tim Nudd