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Sex-Typed Products Marketing

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There are several general ways to differentiate sex-typed products: these strategies are called product gender positioning strategies.

Male Sex Roles

The traditional view of the male was a tough, aggressive, muscular man who enjoys “manly” sports and activities. But this role is evolving: 1. Many men are now shown as more sensitive
2. More free in clothing choices or raising children
3. Also rebelling against being shown as sex objects.
4. And more and more showing strong interest regarding fashion, home design, gourmet cooking, or personal care BUT these characteristics are running counter to traditional male sex roles.

Female Sex Roles

Companies are trying not to show women only as homemakers taking into account that women roles are evolving rapidly with the development of China and globalization.

Many companies were interested in one of both markets. For instance, lots of cosmetics companies were first only interested by women’s market. On the contrary, other companies have targeted for a long time only a male public: for example, the companies of the technological goods, companies of do-it-yourself or gardening, producers of whiskey or wine, but also many automobile companies. But BOTH markets now interest many companies. For example, if the wine and more generally alcohols are more male connoted, we can see an increase of the alcohol consumption of women, and some companies try to offer more feminine wines, due to their taste and the design of the bottles.

The industry of razors, originally typically masculine, has developed products specifically designed for women: razors, but with a design with more harmonious curves, more feminine colours, other properties for instance, but also suggestive names such as Gillette for Women: Venus.

To conquer both markets, companies have to:

1) Not consider that men and women have the same expectations towards the product. It is not enough to add of pink to the packaging. 2) Understand the gender of the product and adapt the strategy to the target: all the objects have a “gender”. For example, the cigar will rather be related to the male gender, whereas the make-up products such as lipstick or mascara will be more feminine. 3) Understand the gender of the brand and adapt the marketing strategy to the target: what gender is the original target market of the brand? Is a brand always able to widen its target, for example lingerie’s brands? An example of success in cosmetics: NIVEA

NIVEA has first a mainly feminine target and has tried to widen their range of products towards the male market. For a long time, the companies of cosmetics wanted to sell beauty to men with the same promises as for women. It is only when the firms of the sector included that men’s expectations were different that the market has begun to evolve. Today, Nivea for Men offers easy, practical and fast care, in clearly identified male packaging by their shape and their codes, far from the complex and sophisticated products of the feminine market.

+ Differences of packaging: example of the deodorants


NIVEA, which was considered before only as a feminine brand, has now succeeded to conquer both markets especially by adopting a neutral gender packaging for some daily products, adapted to men and women’s expectations in matter of beauty and care, but also by creating a range called NIVEA FOR MEN, with clearly identified products for men only. To sum up, all of ours referees who know the brand NIVEA (80% of the total referees) would buy the brand NIVEA and the majority think that NIVEA products are adapted to their gender target (86%), taking into account that 78% of them think that it is relevant and essential for a brand that sells beauty products to make a gender distinction.

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