Male Underwear: Marketing the male package 7 – Shooting men in underwear

November 20, 2007

Thong Colour Stripes

What’s the best shot to sell you underwear when you can’t touch?

Prefer full-frontal, side view, or backside? Close-up and personal or whole body shot?

I visited 30 online shops which sell Mundo Unico, and others that don’t, while researching this brand.

I noticed that the photographs belong to a smaller number of photo shoots. The shots are posed in different but distinctive styles, and the pictures cropped in different but distinctive ways. Also, the product galleries and product pages are presented with different structures.

These images are all from thumbnail, product galleries, most of which lead to a larger version of the same image on-site. Each image here has a comment – hover over them with the mouse to see.

What’s effective for online or catalogue sales?

A: simple poses, leg to head. hands on head, look at my armpitshands behind back in muscle posehands grasped behind bum, no hands flapping aroundone hand behind back, don't you stand like this?
one hand on bum, cheeky boyarms by my sides, the simple jock posearms on hips, the boy next door lookarms crossed, don't it just lift my pecs
B: He might look natural if there’s a background, whether it looks like a real place or not. blue gradient background, yeah we know it's not skyblue background, you'd think i'm looking a t the sun
blue over yellow, i must be on the beachmagnolia-painted wall, i often stand here posing
sitting in a wicker chair, come and get melarge window background, check me out in my penthousegrafittied indoor wall, cos grafitti is hardcore, even indoors
C: Let’s pretend he’s doing something interesting in these poses. seen from above, i only pose at the bottom of stairstwo open hands facing chest, when i work out my chest is this bigright hand on left chest, mmm my nipple feels gooood
shadow boxing, cos i'm toughhands pressed together, cos i'm gentle,
D: Chop his head off, then cross his arms to make him look muscley. all brawn and no brainarms crossed, now i'm feeling butchbut it's better when i lose my neck as well
E: Crop his torso tighter and tighter. Then go arty black-and-whiter. look, no arms, no chesteven less torsothat's my navel gone, and my colour tones too
F: Slimmer or musclier. Then cropped as tight as tight can be. slim memusclier me
slimmer again, but no chest nowhelp, cut off either side of my crotch
G: We couldn’t afford a model, so mannequin crotch will do. legless and torsoless, what's a mannequin to dolook closer then, but that bulge ain't the natural order of thingsmannequin crotch in profile, ouch
H: Front and rear, because you have to see both sides of the story. mannequin crotch works... in a shopmannequin butt works... in a shop
man crotch and butt works his stuffand this time cos the pattern ain't the same front and back
I: So many colours, so little space. colour swatches, work it out yourselfcolours against the manneguin crotch's natural skin tonesfront and back... mysteriously the colour changes when i turn round
J: My cup runneth over with enthusiasm. discretenot so discrete
full-frontallounging seductively
umm we cropped a bit too much off, but photographic circumcision is painlessprofile on a cold day
K: It’s all in the details. waistband and stitching qualityfabric quality

What sells? Some of the sites really fail to sell me the goods. Here’s my thoughts on garment gallery pages – for if you lose me here at the shop window, I may not come in or ever come back.

There’s a trade-off between image size, image content and quality. In print, advertising space and catalogue pages costs money. But on the web, it just depends how you design pages which show multiple items or single products – cost is more or less only down to models and photographers, or buying in stock photos if the manufacturer doesn’t supply them.

For items in different colours, the effect of overall garment colour can’t be shown with a little square of “imagine this”. The same goes for patterns. Equally, the same colour or pattern on a different cut may or may not work for different people.

If the model’s going to be cropped, make it a clean cut! No half chins or necks. For background, make it plain and undistracting, make the contrast with the garment work, and make sure objects don’t intrude or distract when cropped.

As for poses, they can bring some welcome variety, but headless posers are just weird. Sexy, sophisticated or fun – and isn’t that what designer wear is about? – isn’t just stand-like-this-there-with-that. It takes a bit of chemistry in the model’s eyes and attitude, and a photographer who can bring it out. Even a torso shot can have this, but clearly not all do.

While it’s so much more convenient to have displays of plastic crotches in a shop – you don’t have to feed or pay them – a mannequin is not a man. Online they just look cheap.

If you must put logos or other stuff on the images, keep them out the way of the clothes.

Front, sides and back matter, because colour, pattern and cut matter, because words don’t impress me much. I don’t want to look an like an ass in them, I want to have a fine one (whether it’s mine or not).

Show me detail – let the garments say, “see me, feel me”. If the garment’s got quality workmanship, be proud (in spirit, not boasts), show me, impress me much! Fabric, waistband, fastenings, stitching (outside and inside). Doesn’t have to be for every pair, there can be too much of a good thing.

Don’t airbrush or pad the crotch (that includes over-inflated mannequin crotch), it shows when you cheat. I know you’re selling me a little fantasy, but cheating with plastic isn’t upstanding model behaviour.

Slim, lean or muscular models… hmmm, open on that one – probably depends on who you think you’re going to persuade to buy! I can probably work things out, but only if you provide decent sizing information. Variety of models suggest you believe your product will be of value to a range of people – not just (excuse the stereotypes!) muscle marys or emo waifs. Of course they need clothes too, as does everyone in between or outside this range. Fashion isn’t just for the hyper-fit or ultra-slim.

If you’re feeling technically savvy… sometimes I’ll choose a pattern/colour first and then the design, sometimes design first – there’s more than one way to arrange images and pages to achieve this. It’s nice to have the choice of approaches, like being in a well laid-out shop, not digging through the bargain bin.

An imponderable… why do products change name when sold by different shops? Just curious!

Passing thought, if there’s season information, let me have that too! Although that’s probably for the really well-organised shops. I might not really be interested, but it gives an additional sense of your professionalism.

Thank you for listening!

This entry is part of the Male Underwear: Marketing the Male Package & Mundo Unico Series.

Package 6 – Cutting the cloth to fit

Package 8 – Marketing prejudice and perfection

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