Dude, AOL and BermanBraun are bringing back man—at least that’s the tagline for the duo’s new men’s lifestyle site Mandatory.com, which launched today.
According to AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, male consumers are underserved online. Therefore Mandatory will serve up “what men need to know, what they need to try, what they need to see and what they want to see,” Armstrong said in a statement.
Apparently what men want are a beer map of the U.S., a slideshow of Victoria’s Secret models and Bill Murray’s greatest sports moments. Those are three of the featured articles on Mandatory’s homepage on launch day, and it seems safe to assume that Mandatory looks to deliver not so much watercooler topics as kegger content. The site splits content in five equally frat-tastic categories: Play, Know, Women, Video and, ahem, Awesome.
Little surprise then that Mandatory’s lead editor is Cory Jones, Maxim.com’s former editorial director and founding editor of edgy, Break Media-owned dude site HolyTaco.com.
Mandatory’s homepage, in what has become something of a BermanBraun trademark, is designed with a Web page’s fold very much in mind. If users aren't satisfied with the four articles featured on the homepage, they can click a “Below the Line” button.
After clicking, a user is asked if his boss is looking over his shoulder with the option to click “No, the coast is clear. Let me in,” or “Yes, but I’m a badass.” It’s a cute way of getting a consumer to confirm he's over 18 years old, as the disclaimer below the question explains. Clicking on the former returns a wrong answer notice while the latter applauds the user’s correct choice. Both choices direct the user to a naked woman with clickable content headlines like “Girl on Girl: Hand Bras” and “20 Funniest Porn Titles” inked on her skin.
Gillette has signed on as a sponsor, but its presence seems limited to the Know section, which has a Style and Grooming subcategory. AOL is running banners across the other category pages featuring advertisers such as Disney and Charles Schwab, and a sponsored links horizontal bar lives at the bottom of the category and article pages.
Adorning the top of each site page above the title bar is a link to AOL Mail, which is funny considering the knock against AOL (and Yahoo, for that matter) is that its users spend most of their time accessing the email client as opposed to its content properties. The AOL Mail link isn’t present on other AOL properties like TechCrunch or The Huffington Post.