Male Underwear: Marketing the male package 8 – Marketing prejudice and perfection
November 21, 2007
Stories of stereotypical advertising, whether unintended bias or outright prejudice, are far from rare – whether it’s about TV, cinema, print or online campaigns.After looking at 30 online stores and 2 fashion shows, I wondered how Mundo Unico’s image comes over. This is, of course, not a scientific head, body or mannequin survey – but first impressions count when shopping: seeing is believing is buying, or not.
MensUnderwearGuy discusses race and the underwear industry very much to the point, with major brand campaign images that will be recognisable to many. I offer this as a first view on Mundo Unico’s image.
In Package 7 – Shooting men in underwear I noted that the online catalogue photographs belonged to fewer sets than shops using them. It’s not clear where they’re sourced from. Also, the number of products sold in any particular shop ranges from less than five to several dozen, and nowhere seems to have all of any photograph set. So, it’s not worth picking on particular shops for “apparently bad” imagery – at this time. That’s the disclaimers done with!
Overall, well … my impression wasn’t good – lots of white, fewer hispanic and yet fewer black guys, whether full body, torso and groin or groin only (including mannequin groins, which are silver or black).
Very well done to MensUnderwearStore.com, see the images at top as examples – and also for a diverse range of poses with faces.
Honourable mention (and range of poses with faces) to Audace, whose images were featured in Package 7.
The best I can say here is that Mundo Unico itself uses an ethnically diverse photograph set, but most of the outlets don’t. What this reflects isn’t clear. Mundo Unico don’t seem to be promoting themselves as a brand in the same way as the huge international companies, such as Calvin Klein, can afford to and insist on by controlling campaigns at regional and higher levels. Is this in fact because they don’t or can’t (at this stage) require particular photo sets to be used or insist on particular balances within a shoot to be maintained?
Marketing without stereotypes isn’t only about ethnic representation, although this has the clearest social effects. There are other marketing prejudices of masculine stereotypes which can affect consumers’ self-image, such as: body shape, hairiness, facial symmetry and skin condition.
|MensUnderwearStore.com also score extra points for featuring a range of body types from muscular to slim/lean.|
|Moda Audaci also deserve a mention … for obvious navel-down “treasure trail” hair. (Though no chest hair. There’s none of that anywhere!)|
Mundo Unico’s fashion show photos – featured in Package 5 – are diverse, but not just ethnically (as one might expect). If you look carefully, the faces are different, I think, from the faces we’ve been presented in western media. There isn’t an obsession with perfect symmetry. Another feature is that the guys don’t all have perfect skin, which is, I believe, very unusual.
This entry is part of the Male Underwear: Marketing the Male Package & Mundo Unico Series.