A New Kind Of Young Manhood?

The NCAA finals are a showcase of young masculinity, and attract mostly young male viewers. The NCAA has standards of advertising, but in the past, Madison Avenue has been famous for pushing the envelope. You'd think the ads would try to be as MTV-ish to Maxim-ish as possible in flavor, right? But as I watched the ads last night, I was struck by the fact that sex wasn't being used to sell products. Even the beer commercials used clean humor to capture viewer attention instead of scantily-clad female bodies. For once, the immature, bawdy MTV mook version of a man was nowhere in sight.

So how were the marketing experts defining the demographic of young male viewers last night? The ads seemed to be aimed at techno-savvy twenty-and-thirty-somethings who value connections with family and community and yet at the same time want a risk-taking, edgy, successful, stand-out-from-the-crowd kind of life. Hmmm ... apart from the focus on material success and self-indulgence, this sounds more like a description of a follower of Jesus than a mook.

Here's a sampling of the advertisers and the slogans they used:

Degree: "For Men Who Take Risks"
Microsoft: "Software For The People-Ready Business"
Ipod + Itunes: "1000 Songs In Your Pocket"
Capital One: "What's In Your Wallet?"
Gillette: "The Best A Man Can Get"
Burger King: "Wake Up With The King"
The Hartford: "Prepare To Live"
Nissan Xterra: "Show Us Your X"
Circuit City: "Just What I Needed"
Citizens bank: "Not Your Typical Bank"
FedExKinkos: "Our Office Is Your Office"
JetBlue: "We Relish The Opportunity To Serve You"
Cingular: "Raising The Bar"
GM: "Then, Now, Always"
ATT: "Your World, Delivered"
Lowes: "Let's Build Something Together"
Miller Lite: "Good Call"
Mercedes Benz: "Unlike Any Other"
AIG: "Think Of The Little Ones"
Enterprise: "We'll Pick You Up"
Bud Lite: "Always Worth It"

Are the times a'changin'? Is this a trend that parents of young men can celebrate? Will the mook approach to masculinity fade from the pop culture scene? As I watched the young men of University of Florida and UCLA battle it out on the court, I found myself hoping that they'd all end up winning with a marked change in culture's warped view of masculinity.


Anonymous said...

As a parent, I clearly appreciate the point you are making. The typical commercials with the scantilly clad females are way too many and quite irritating! However, I must point out that you must have been watching the commercials much more than the game because the teams were the University of Florida (NOT Florida State) and UCLA. GO GATORS!!!

Mitali Perkins said...

How embarrassing! Yes, I was watching the ads as my husband watched the game ... congratulations on the win, Florida fans! I fixed the blog post, and thanks for the correction.

~Mark said...

I'm not a college hoops fan, but if only for the sweet release from commercial iniquity hell, I may have to start watching! :) Lol!