Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Is It Risky for Gender-Specific Brands to Target the Opposite Sex?

Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Is It Risky for Gender-Specific Brands to Target the Opposite Sex?

Article excerpt

Unilever is crossing gender boundaries by adding limited-edition scent Anarchy to its Axe range.

NO - ALAN GILES, CHAIRMAN, FAT FACE

Fashion brands often subsequently launch a variant for the opposite sex - think Topshop and Topman. It's an obvious diversification strategy, leveraging the investment in awareness and brand equity. It is even more common to have gender-specific variants of the same fragrance brand.

What's riskier about Anarchy is the direct association with the Axe/Lynx brand, with its unapologetically laddish view of the world. Nonetheless, the unreconstructed heroes of the Axe/Lynx ads are portrayed in a firmly tongue-in-cheek manner, so I think Unilever will have a lot of goodwill to work with in its new target market. If not, there are always the laddettes.

MAYBE - NICOLA MENDELSOHN, CHAIRMAN AND PARTNER, KARMARAMA

As the old saying goes, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so surely you can't have a male 'predatory' product appeal to a woman? Is there a risk of diluting the strength of the brand equity built around The Lynx Effect?

And yet I must confess to being rather excited and interested. As a mum of a 14-year-old girl, I'm curious to know what the insight is and what it adds to the very complicated world of young female courtship. (I remember it being a little less straightforward than the boys' view).

If Unilever and Bartle Bogle Hegarty can demonstrate the benefit for girls in a way that stays true to the original brand, they may have themselves a winner. …

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