Content for real men

Media brands have been evolving to reflect a growing demand for content that better meets men’s needs. In traditional media, free magazine title Shortlist has quickly developed a loyal following thanks to its use of witty columnists, while television channel Dave has carved out a niche by providing engaging content for men.

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The channel appeals to “everyday men”, says marketing manager Julia Restall. She explains: “We didn’t deliberately set out to call it a man’s name. But everyone has a friend called Dave – it’s an everyman name, not intimidating; a friendly, middle-of-the road name that doesn’t alienate.”

Dave’s tagline, “the home of witty banter”, is driving the channel to commission its own original content, evolving it beyond the days when it only broadcast material from the BBC archives.

It has recently launched Dave’s One Night Stand, which involves high-profile comedians doing one-night gigs in their home town. The channel has attracted male-oriented brand partners such as Cobra beer in addition to brands that wouldn’t typically be associated with men, such as Cadbury and Penguin Books.

Restall adds: “It’s less about whether a brand is male or female but about targeting brands that are like-minded and have a similar tone and personality to us.” She also reveals that Dave is open to extending its brand into products beyond TV.

It’s not just television and magazine brands that are turning their attention to what men really want. Online content is an area that brands are rushing to exploit because young men are the earliest adopters of online video, according to data from the Broadcast Audience Research Board. Content distribution service ChannelFlip is just one outlet that is tapping into this with its online video service reaching a largely male audience aged 17 to 35.

ChannelFlip has helped develop a partnership between comedian David Mitchell and toiletry brand Bulldog to create the Soapbox series (see Personal Care Brands For Men box). It has also developed and syndicated branded content for clients such as O2, Dave, Cadbury, Volvo, Olay, Pepsi, Sky and Magners.

Developing branded content is a successful approach, claims ChannelFlip co-founder Wil Harris, because viewers see the brand message as part of the show, and not as an interruptive advertisement. “By giving viewers entertainment in return for their attention, the brand understands the need to create communities and dialogue with their audience,” he says.

Sales director Barney Worfolk-Smith adds that ChannelFlip’s brand partners have evolved over the past year, moving from the entertainment and technology sectors to automotive and, most notably, large FMCG brands, indicating a growing awareness of a male audience in this online space.

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