Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

The Consumer Lab is the consumer insights and brand strategy group at Alcone Marketing Group, a consumer activation company.

The Marketing to Men 18-34 Conference 2007

The Marketing to Men 18-34 Conference 2007

The following is my recap of the man conference…..

Unfortunately, I arrived late to the Marketing to Men Conference due to some serious flooding in Grand Central. I missed the Sports Talk given by high level marketing people from various professional sports leagues including MLS, NBA and the NFL.


The second presentation was given by Massive Network, an in game ad company. Ian Ali discussed the most recent gamer demographics. Here are some key points from that discussion:

  • About 70% of Americans are gamers
  • Gamer classification:
    • Casual Gamers
    • Core Gamers (18-34 year old males that enjoy specific genres of games),
    • Title Gamers who are most interested in games that use TV or movie characters or extremely popular games
  • Core and Title gamers spend approximately 30% of their income on games
  • Men 18-34 who are core or title gamers spend about 2 hours per day
  • 5 Channels for ads in and around games
    • Advergames More Complex
    • Customize games
    • Sponsor a gamer event
    • Ads within games
    • Banner / Button within games Less Complex
  • Gamers do not want to see fake brands – they like realism in the game environment

Massive also presented some findings from an in-depth study they conducted among gamers to understand the impact of in-game ads. They found that gamers that see ads in game are more familiar with a brand, give a that brand a high rating and are more likely to buy products advertised in games than gamers who do not see ad in the games they play.


Mike Mohamad from A&E and Ralph Santana of Pepsi participated in a panel discussion titled Madison Avenue 2.0.

Santana brought up some interesting trends to watch:

  • Men 18-34 are not a elusive as we think, they can be found through sports, the digital interactive space and in the right cable networks
  • Men 18-34 are consuming media differently – they are multitasking
  • The media mix has continued to evolve to get more impressions in the digital space
  • The key is figuring out the consumer’s passion points and building from there. Just being the official sponsor of a sport does not mean anything if it is not related to the passions of your consumer (but sponsorship gets you floor space)
  • Mixed Martial Arts – is now becoming more popular with M18-34 because it has been sanctioned by ESPN and that “officially” makes it a sport.
  • Men 18-34 have many differences, they are at different stages in their lives – segmenting this group is important. Consumption patterns are different ex. A 34 year old may be watching a football game at home while a 21 year old guy is at a bar with his buddies.
  • Brand-content integration is what many brands have begun experimenting with in order to reach these guys in a new way

Here are some of the take-aways from Mohamad:

  • Men 18-34 require compelling content
  • Thy have very different consumption patterns than any before them – they are watching the same amount of TV, but doing other things while watching – targeting them in non-traditional ways is key
  • TV has to constantly be coming up with TV events to attract this demo
  • You have to make sure you are not over branding and that the brand naturally fits the content


The next presentation, Reaching Men through Pop Culture, was given by Chris Lighty of Brand Asset Group and Violator Management. Lighty talked about some important insights when trying to reach men 18-34 specifically the urban segment.

  • Music is a huge part of this consumer’s life
  • Organic brand integration creates a huge cool factor
  • Capturing the nuances – authenticity is most important, this audience will test everything and throw it back at you if they don’t like it
  • Urban culture is ever changing
  • Have respect for the culture
  • Men 18-34 are watching videos on YouTube – they make up about 2/3 of YouTube’s audience. 75% of this demo send and receive video links
  • Health is an emerging trend among M18-34


Irene Gustaitis of Nielsen gave a great presentation on using research to help guide the integrated marketing approach. She discussed the research conducted for Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth. They wanted to understand who was watching Discovery and what makes them tick. They developed interpretive phrases to define that consumer, and then the goal was to create content that speaks to that consumer. Through this research they found that male consumers were most interested in content that delivered predatory action, technical info and unique content.


The Nielsen presentation was followed by Peter Leinbach of ESPN. Here are some interesting points from that discussion:

  • 94% of men 18-34 consider themselves to be sports fans
  • 95% of African American men 18-34 are sports fans, with 64% of them avid fans
  • ESPN properties make up over 1/3 of media consumption for Men 18-34
  • ESPN finds that exposure to a brand across their various media platforms increases brand awareness and purchase consideration





A panel discussion titled Bright Ideas began with presentations form each of the panelists.


Rob Freakins of Publics kicked it off by describing his view of a realistic portrayal of men today. Freakins advised the audience to connect with the average guy by show an accessible heroic, a guy successful in competition by using intellect and wit, icons somewhere in-between Rambo and Boy George. Marketers should also give regular guys credit for good taste and creativity. And by the way, guys love fantasy sports.


Peter Geary from BBDO discussed the emerging trend of infusing a brand with content and creating an emotional connection to a quality product. Lastly, Joe Johnson of Ogilvy talked about the importance of a 360° marketing plan.


The panelists tackled a number of issues including the massive number of communication channels. Geary talked about the convergence of medium and message, while Freakins recommended capturing the POV of the brand and adapting the message to the medium. More channels mean more ways to reach consumers and according to Johnson, marketers are still trying to figure out the best techniques. The fact of the matter is that you have to put your message where you know the consumer is – find the shows the watch, the websites they visit and the places they go.



Greg Anderson of BBH and David Rubin of Unilever presented the audience with some facts and best practices they learned in developing the Axe campaigns and creating a TV show called “Gamekillers”. The insight that brought them down the road of creating content for their target audience came from the fact that they started to look at the competitive landscape differently. Axe’s competitors are not only the other brands in the category, but all the media out there that this target consumer is consuming.


Some challenges the Axe marketers found with marketing to men. Guys are…

  • Too busy
  • Scatterbrained
  • Skeptical of Marketing
  • Don’t want to be told what to think
  • Don’t want their time wasted
  • They are the target of many brands and content providers


Some fundamentals of the brands guys like…

  • Have a POV
  • Give something consistent to identify with
  • Give them a sense of discovery
  • Engage them in compelling ways



The final presentation was given by Gareb Shamus of the International Fight League. He discussed the growth of mixed martial arts and the marketing opportunities available.


Overall I thought the conference was very insightful and had some great speakers.

Filed under: Men

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