MediAvataar's News Desk
Fourth-wave feminism has given rise to populist female empowerment, seeping into every brand sector from tampons to sportswear to fintech. The #MeToo movement, the gender pay gap and intersectional feminism are on cultural agendas across the world. Brands, marketers, and newsmakers have intensively zeroed in on the female experience of late—and rightly so. And now, insights agencies, research groups and think tanks are starting to ask: what about men? In the ideological corner, they are addressing the challenges of defining manhood against narratives of toxic masculinity—not least, connecting to the men who feel alienated by these tropes. In the commercial sense, how do we market and sell to today’s man? What does he look like?
One of the higher-profile examples was released by London-based futures consultancy The Future Laboratory. In the “New Masculinity” report released in spring 2018, The Future Laboratory team takes a deep dive into the shifting definition of manhood. “One of the main things that came out of this project was firstly that we didn’t want to go from having one monolithic version of masculinity—which, from the perspective of this report, we define as being toxic or having toxic elements—to creating another monolithic version of masculinity that people have to subscribe to,” Peter Maxwell, senior journalist and author of the report, tells JWT Intelligence.
Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve also released a study at the summer 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Initiatives launched by marketers such as Carl Martin (formerly of Burberry and UsTwo) include Menmade, a collective for men who do not recognize themselves in negative, one-sided pop-culture narratives. Trailblazing brands from Axe to Nike have also started to present a more multifaceted view of masculinity.
What does it mean to be a man in 2018? Traditionally, the acceptable expression of masculinity in mainstream Western culture has been very rigid, with little room for emotional expression or vulnerability. But these constricting parameters have reached a breaking point. According to a 2016 survey by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, males accounted for 70% of suicides that year, and suicide rates for men are more than 3.5 times higher than for women. And movements like #MeToo make it abundantly clear that the destructive effects of toxic masculinity are not limited to men. As the damage it causes becomes impossible to ignore, the need for change is more apparent than ever. In response, brands and marketers are taking steps to consciously adapt the portrayal of masculinity to allow for more nuance, flexibility and compassion.
“I think what this entire conversation has been about and what it’s brought up is the need to allow men to exist in a plurality of different versions of their manhood, rather than defining specific boundaries in which they should exist if they want to perform masculinity ‘correctly’ in 2018,” explains Maxwell.
The Future Laboratory’s report also serves as a call to action for brands to destigmatize this diversified evolution of manhood. “There’s a need for brands to become involved in providing better role models for men and to undo some of the damage that they’ve been complicit in subjecting society to over the last 50 to 100 years,” says Maxwell. He stresses the importance of “creating signposts and role models that allow kids from a young age to see a bigger, more successful ‘manhood’ that isn’t based around rescuing princesses—or any kind of domination or control—but that actually can be around kinship and care.”
Harry’s, a direct-to-consumer men’s grooming label disrupting the stodgy shaving category, is one such brand working to reappropriate masculinity. In February 2018 Harry’s launched “A Man Like You,” an ad that questions what it means to be a modern man. In the spot, a boy attempts to explain the meaning of manhood to an alien unfamiliar with human culture. The boy lists all of the stereotypical things a man “should” be; “a man has to be strong… a man shouldn’t be afraid of anything.” But by the end, the boy admits that “the truth is, there’s no one way to be a man.”
“Harry’s believes the outdated rules of masculinity are too narrow for today’s world,” says Dale Austin, creative director at GSD&M, the agency that developed the ad. “Modern men embrace the ‘ands.’ They know they can be strong and nurturing, powerful and sensitive, self-assured and accepting of others. The problem comes not when we embrace the things that make us men, but when we shut ourselves off to an entire half of our humanity. In short, it’s time we stopped asking ourselves what makes a real man and instead ask what makes a good man. The answer, we believe, is the same things that make a good human.”
Men’s clothing brand Bonobos is actively continuing the conversation about what it means to be a man with its new #EvolveTheDefinition campaign. The central spot debuted during the ESPY Awards on July 18, 2018, amid a powerful moment in the #MeToo movement: the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to the sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar. “We talked about moving beyond the evolution of men’s pants to the evolution of men,” says Bonobos co-president Micky Onvural. “Our bigger purpose became starting a conversation about masculinity.” The ad, which interviews a host of men about what masculinity means to them, intends to do just that by presenting varied definitions of manhood. “I think that’s what gets us in trouble,” one interviewee says, “when we say that there’s only one way to be a man.”
Grooming brand Axe was one of the first brands to question what it means to be a man in 2016 with its “Find Your Magic” campaign. The original spot featured different types of men, encouraging viewers to embrace what makes them unique with the tagline “Find your thing and work on it.” The brand took this one step further with the “Is It OK For Guys?” spot. Released in May 2017, the spot asks real Google search questions about what is “acceptable” for men, including “Is it OK to not like sports?” and “Is it OK to experiment with other guys?”—and whether it’s OK for men to be nervous, depressed, scared …
The spot is only one part of Axe’s larger effort to break this culturally perpetuated cycle of toxic masculinity. The brand has partnered with three nonprofits—Promundo, The Representation Project and Ditch the Label—to better understand and help correct the factors contributing to this harmful cycle. “Axe asked guys to ‘find their magic’ and express what truly makes them an individual,” says Rik Strubel, global vice president at Axe. “But we can’t just tell guys to be themselves without addressing the underlying cultural issues and restrictive definitions of manhood holding them back in the first place. It not only hurts guys, it hurts everyone.”
The bigger picture alongside this is a proliferation of new direct-to-consumer brands and media platforms that are presenting a more nuanced version of masculinity. Fatherly, the millennial men’s platform, addresses conscious but culturally engaged and irreverent male parents. Hims is switching up the dialogue around men’s nutrition and hair loss. New men’s makeup and personal care brands, with sleek neutral packaging, appear regularly. This sits against a backdrop where millennial men are becoming more engaged parents (if not stay-at-home dads); are influencing grocery spends; and are generally defying traditional marketing wisdom about gender constructs.
Maxwell notes that, undeniably, brands were “culpable in reinforcing or creating some of the stereotypes” that have contributed to the problem of toxic masculinity. Now, as he points out, it’s time to make amends. “That has been a massive negative, but also it shows the power that they have potentially to reverse some of those perceptions or attributions.”
Source: JWT Intelligence
Featuring A12 Bionic Chip, 6.1-Inch Liquid Retina Display, Aluminium and Glass Design in Six Beautiful Finishes, Face ID and Advanced Camera System
Apple announced iPhone XR, integrating breakthrough technologies from iPhone XS in an all-screen glass and aluminium design with the most advanced LCD in a smartphone featuring a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display and six beautiful finishes. iPhone XR brings the powerful A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, the TrueDepth camera system, Face ID and an advanced camera system that creates dramatic portraits using a single camera lens. iPhone XR will be available to pre-order beginning Friday, October 19 and in stores beginning Friday, October 26.
“iPhone XR helps us reach even more people with the latest iPhone innovations. It is packed with the newest technologies including a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display that goes edge to edge, the latest TrueDepth camera with faster Face ID authentication, new 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip with second generation Neural Engine and a 12-megapixel camera that takes advanced Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting photos,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new iPhone XR has a gorgeous new aerospace-grade aluminium and glass enclosure that has IP67 protection from liquids and dust, long all-day battery life and comes in six beautiful finishes. iPhone XR makes it possible for even more people to have the great experience of the latest iPhone X technology, in beautiful new designs, at a more affordable price.”
Groundbreaking New Design
A stunning all-screen design pushes the display of iPhone XR to its edges. The most durable front glass ever in a smartphone is wrapped in an elegantly matched anodised band made from durable 7000 series aerospace-grade aluminium, and the glass back design enables wireless charging.
iPhone XR comes in six new finishes: white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED. A seven-layer colour process gives the glass back beautiful nuanced hues, and the aluminium band and camera trim are colour matched to give a sophisticated finish. This new design is splash- and water-resistant, with a rating of IP67, and protects against everyday spills including coffee, tea and soda.
A portion of proceeds for iPhone XR (PRODUCT)RED purchases will go directly to Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants that provide testing, counselling, treatment and prevention programs with a specific focus on eliminating transmission of the virus from mothers to their babies.
Most Advanced LCD in a Smartphone.
The beautiful 6.1-inch all-screen Liquid Retina display2 is the most colour accurate in the industry, with wide colour support and True Tone for a more natural viewing experience. Precision-milled glass, advanced pixel masking and sub-pixel antialiasing allows the display to follow the curves of the device, while a new backlight design enables the display to stretch into the corners.
iPhone XR supports fast and fluid iPhone gestures like tap to wake, swipe up to the home screen, swipe down to access notifications and the Control Center, and the new haptic touch feature for pressing on the home screen to instantly launch the camera or flashlight.
A12 Bionic Chip with Next-Generation Neural Engine
The Apple-designed A12 Bionic, the smartest and most powerful chip in a smartphone, features the first 7-nanometer chip ever in a smartphone that delivers industry-leading performance in a more power-efficient design. A12 Bionic features a six-core fusion architecture with two performance cores that are up to 15 percent faster, four efficiency cores that are up to 50 percent more efficient, a four-core GPU that is up to 50 percent faster, powerful Apple-designed Image Signal Processor (ISP), video encoder and more. All of this unlocks new experiences for games, photography, video editing and graphics-intensive apps while still offering great battery life. Even with all this power, iPhone XR lasts up to an hour and a half longer than iPhone 8 Plus.
Face ID, The Most Secure Facial Authentication System Ever in a Smartphone
Face ID is faster on iPhone XR, enabled by software optimisations and a faster secure enclave. The TrueDepth camera system uses precision depth-sensing technology that goes far beyond the capabilities and security of two-dimensional facial scanners to unlock iPhone, use Apple Pay, gain access to secure apps and many more features with just a simple glance.
Advanced Single Lens Wide-Angle Camera
iPhone XR features a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture wide-angle lens with an all-new sensor, delivering faster auto-focus, while larger and deeper pixels improve image fidelity and low-light performance on photos and videos. Improvements to the ISP, Neural Engine and improved software algorithms enable portrait photos with a beautiful bokeh effect. Smart HDR brings better highlight and shadow detail across photos.
New Depth Control allows users to adjust the depth of field both in real-time preview3 and post-capture to create striking portraits with a beautiful bokeh effect. Selfies have never looked better with an enhanced Portrait mode on the front-facing TrueDepth camera and Portrait Lighting for dramatic studio lighting effects.
iPhone XR uses LTE Advanced for fast download speeds4 and introduces Dual SIM5 through the use of a nano-SIM and digital eSIM.
Featuring iOS 12
iPhone XR comes with iOS 12, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iOS 12 changes the way iOS users see the world using augmented reality, helps people rediscover and share photos, and makes communications more expressive and fun with new Animoji and Memoji. Screen Time helps customers understand and take control of the time they spend interacting with their iOS devices, Siri Shortcuts give any app the ability to work with Siri and new privacy features help protect users from being tracked on the web.
Pricing and Availability
iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED starting at INR 76,900 MRP through Apple Authorised Resellers.
Customers will be able to pre-order iPhone XR beginning Friday, October 19 with availability beginning Friday, October 26, in more than 50 countries and territories including Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UAE, UK, US and US Virgin Islands.
The great thing about social media is you can become anyone you want to be. The bad thing – at least from a brand’s perspective – is that you may not exist at all.
If your brand works with paid online influencers, you’re probably familiar with one of the technique’s biggest risk factors now: influencer fraud – a dilemma that occurs when paid tastemakers use artificially inflated follower numbers to increase their asking rate for engaging their audience on behalf of a brand.
What was once an isolated trend has exploded in recent years, to the point where the digital landscape is reeling from all that fake follower activity. To put the scope of the problem into perspective, up to 20% of mid-level influencers’ followers are likely fraudulent, according to a Points North Group study.
Up to 20% of mid-level influencers’ followers are likely fraudulent via Points North Group study. @joderama
Regardless of whether an influencer partner intentionally participates in deceitful practices or may be an unwitting victim of a third-party effort to game the system, the cost to your business – and its content – remains the same: precious budget dollars wasted to curry favor with fake followers.
And, even if you aren’t paying popular social stars to help drive interest and increase reach, your content marketing activities still may not be immune to fraud and other influencer marketing pitfalls – as you’ll see from some recent news stories.
Social media shakedown
The magnitude of social media’s shady side is sending shock waves up and down the digital landscape – starting with the social networks themselves.
For example, a New York Times investigation recently revealed that 15% of Twitter users were likely automated accounts designed to simulate real people. Twitter responded by embarking on the “great purge of 2018,” shedding millions of locked accounts, which carried a higher likelihood of being fake. According to several sources, including Variety, Twitter’s purge resulted in significant follower count drops for some of the platform’s most powerful influencers – including an estimated 7.5 million from its @Twitter account.
15% of #Twitter users are likely automated accounts designed to simulate real people via @nytimes.
Trickle-down marketing economics
The realization that their faith in influencer endorsements may have been misplaced has many consumers feeling swindled by their favorite social networks – Facebook chief among them. When news of Facebook’s bot problem surfaced, it seemed likely that eroded trust would drive scorned users off the site. Those chickens may just have come home to roost: TechCrunch and MarketWatch, have cited growth and engagement declines as contributors to Facebook’s recent market cap drop of $123 billion – more than most startups or public companies are ever worth.
Consider: For content marketers, follower reductions on your brand’s social profiles due to scrubbed accounts or mass exodus from the social channel can amount to millions in wasted ad spending. CMI founder Joe Pulizzi has pointed out the fragile nature of marketing on “rented” social media lands, citing the likelihood of these channels unexpectedly changing their rules and decimating the consumer relationships you’ve earned on them. The potential for your brand to get unwittingly caught up in spambot warfare is yet another reason to follow his advice and focus on building your content audience on channels you fully own and control.
Build your #content audience on owned channels to avoid getting caught in social spambot warfare. @joderama
Can brands tackle the issue downstream?
If consumers’ trust in social media remains in free fall, will the rest of the marketing economy be dragged down with it? Not if companies like Unilever have anything to say about it. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the consumer-products giant, which spent more than $9 billion on marketing its brands last year, is looking to crack down on fraud by banning influencers who pay for followers or use other deceptive means to inflate their rankings. Keith Weed, Unilever’s marketing chief, has been particularly vocal in his desire for greater social marketing reform as well as in calling for an increase in measurement and oversight to ensure that problems like this get solved.
@Unilever may ban influencers who pay for followers or use other deceptive means to inflate rankings via @WSJ.
And, speaking of weed …
While it doesn’t involve an act of fraud, another recent story on influencer marketing partnerships has risky behavior practically written all over it: Digiday recently reported on the ways cannabis companies are enlisting influencers to help them attract new customers in places where recreational use is legal. These efforts skirt the ad bans established against the industry by Facebook and other social platforms. For example, MedMen is using Los Angeles-area micro-influencers as part of a $4 million campaign promoting its retail outlets in high-end shopping districts.
So far, most influencers seem reluctant to risk the potential social media and legal repercussions of endorsing a product banned on the federal level in the United States. But this may change as the cannabis industry continues its quest for full legalization and further legitimization.
Consider: Even if your designated brand influencers aren’t tempted to work with risky businesses like MedMen yet, it doesn’t mean they aren’t engaging in other questionable activities, personal proclivities, or conflicting client relationships that could come back to haunt your brand if they come to light. To minimize the potential for unpleasant surprises, look for influencers whose social personalities align strongly with your content strategy and mission statement, and be sure to go beyond their follower counts when researching the benefits they might offer your brand.
Look for influencers whose social personalities align strongly with your #contentstrategy, says @joderama.
Fighting bots with bots
If you can’t beat the bot-follower problem, why not embrace the technology enabling it? That’s a question some brands are asking themselves as the possibility of using virtual influencers – online personas fashioned wholly out of the imagination and programmed to interact as a real person would – takes shape. As Adweek recently pointed out, working with these artificial intelligence-driven accounts eliminates the threat of a spokesperson going rogue while still tapping into the massive, engaged audience that these mecha-marketers can amass. While intellectual property ownership, morals clauses (covering the creator, not the actions of the bot itself), and ability to sustain long-term engagement are among the potential business and legal pitfalls, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that “Pu-Δ-π” -could someday be considered a safer alternative to working with the PewDiePies of the social world.
How to spot frauds
In a world where machines can simulate human emotion, politicians’ tweets seem to be devoid of it, and a well-dressed pug can earn thousands of dollars per Instagram post, how can you tell which influencers offer authentic engagement and which ones are flashy frauds?
MarketingProfs recently addressed this question with a list of clues that can help marketers discern the methodology and underlying mechanisms an influencer uses, as a way of determining its authenticity and worth.
Social media’s power and popularity enable practically anyone to build a public-facing persona, grow a following, and serve as a pitch person for your brand and its content. But if you want to tap into an influencer’s pool of loyal followers, you should make sure what they have to offer is more than a shallow mirage.
Written by Jodi Harris, Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute
Signs Olympics Medalist P.V. Sindhu as Brand Ambassador
HARMAN International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced that Olympic medalist and top Indian Badminton Champion, P.V. Sindhu has been appointed as the brand ambassador for JBL’s new range of sports earphones in India.
Speaking on her association with HARMAN, P.V. Sindhu said, “JBL Endurance earphones are ideal for athletes like me, who like to carry their music everywhere. From practice matches to intense workout sessions, JBL Endurance has become my constant companion now. They are designed for a perfect fit and can handle the grit and grind of an athlete’s workout perfectly – I am very impressed!”
“It’s an honor to have a young sports icon like P.V. Sindhu, who is idolized by millions of Indians, associated with JBL. The all-new JBL Endurance earphones are designed for athletes and sportspersons like Ms. Sindhu, and almost anyone who likes growing fit listening to their favourite tunes. Combining our award-winning patented ergonomics with technology that withstands the most intense athletic performance, JBL Endurance earphones offer a range of solutions that can work with any athlete’s routine,” said Sumit Chauhan, Vice President - Lifestyle Audio, HARMAN India.
Global Survey Breaks Down How Consolidation, Digitization and Changing Consumer Habits
Are Blurring Definitions Across Media Lines
Ogilvy announced the findings of the second half of the 2018 Global Media Influence survey. The survey found that nearly 60% of respondents worldwide believe that local media must adapt to the changing environment or face extinction. Similar to global media outlets, local journalism has been significantly disrupted by the advent of new digital technologies and behaviors.
Consumers have more options than ever before, and whether news is happening next door or across the continent, consumers can be informed with the same ease of access. By leaning in on local news and sharing unique, niche content that cannot be found anywhere else, Ogilvy’s survey found that local media can continue to play a significant role in reporting the news agenda.
“Today, we are living in an earned first world where influence trumps everything else,” said Jennifer Risi, Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Communications Officer and Managing Director, Ogilvy’s Media Influence. “The lines between global, national and local media are increasingly becoming obsolete as consumers have access to an unprecedented wealth of content at their fingertips. Brands that partner with communications experts who know how to navigate today’s media landscape will be in the pole position to drive their own narrative, and thereby mindshare with their key stakeholders.”
Additional key findings:
Globally, 55% of journalists agree media mergers and consolidation will be positive for the industry. However, there is a clear divide between journalists in EMEA and Asia Pacific compared to their North American counterparts who, for the majority, believe that media mergers and consolidation will be bad for the industry overall.
North America – 24% of surveyed media agree; 76% of surveyed media disagree
EMEA – 67% of surveyed media agree; 33% of surveyed media disagree
Asia Pacific – 74% of surveyed media agree; 26% of surveyed media disagree
58.3% of global media believe local media needs to change the model.
North America – local media is more important than ever [42.0%], needs to change the model [42.0%], is dying [8.7%], or other [5.8%].
EMEA – local media needs to change the model [63.0%], is dying [16.0%], is more important than ever [15.1%], or other [5.9%].
Asia Pacific – local media needs to change the model [70.0%], is more important than ever [21.7%], is dying [4.4%], or other [3.9%].
Globally, 31.4% of surveyed reporters from all three regions [North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific] agree that television has been the most successful traditional media platform to adapt in an increasingly digital world.
Looking ahead, streaming services [42.5%], or revived television emerged as the new “old” media that will be king in 5 years followed by the feed, (i.e. headlines, newsbytes/newsletters) and podcasts.