The advertising companies hired by Careerbuilder and Docker’s are supposed to create messages to build the brands of their clients. But what they did in the process is create a profile about the average American man. Their picture isn’t too pretty.
What is it with a bunch of goofy, dumb-appearing men running around their offices and in farm fields in nothing more than their underwear? It is offensive to the sense and sensibility of real men everywhere. Okay, we’re not looking for realism from ads, but we just don’t do that!
The new economy created an opportunity for a clear break from tradition. Men, perhaps, could now sit in their underwear at home while tunneling into their corporate jobs, or while managing their privately held enterprise, no salacious pun intended. Men working in fields where appearance standards were once firmly held over a very long period of time, such as finance, accounting, and banking, now could redefine convention and dress differently. The secret codes and rules behind the “dress for success” playbook have certainly changed and liberated men.
A solid argument can surely be made that men have “slacked off” too much about their personal appearance and style because they dress in a way that can only be described as casual – without any thought or planning. But have men slacked off so much that they forget to put on pants in public?
The advertising agencies have gone too far this time, marginalizing men’s roles in society. I don’t appreciate the sentiment for men in general, and don’t like the message they’re sending.
One crucial, subliminal, offensive, and physical message they’re sending is that unfit, heavier men are men to be laughed at. Note they didn’t “use” any men with ripped bodies in the commercials. That would have conveyed a different message entirely. Heavy men are equated with triviality, and fit men – by their absence from the ads – are no laughing matter. In addition to advocating physical fitness, I strongly urge mental fitness, and don’t like the men’s body image and mental image messages as depicted in the ads. This is clearly why more men continue to develop stifling personal image issues.
Anyone who works with me to develop a personal visual style and brand image could never identify with the messages of these Superbowl advertisements because they’ve developed a sense of self that defies the profile created by these advertisers. You could say my clients aren’t their demographic.
Unfortunately, the marketers know they’re reaching that vast population of American men who are caught with their pants down. It’s a terrible message. The commercials were dumb and didn’t build the brands of either company. But it’s one of those moments when I have to say that the truth hurts.
So my message to all the unemployed men out there: It’s time to get some style. Put on some nice pants and get a job. Hey, they don’t have to be Dockers. Aim for a higher standard. That’s what ensures success today.
Designing and managing your image is the secret science to your success.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps professional men, women, and corporate workgroups create effective visual brands. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.