Generation Z’s and Millennials’ Perception of Masculinity in Advertising: a Challenge for Advertisers
Keywords:Advertising, marketing, masculinity, consumers, perception., advertising, marketing, masculinity, consumers, perception
Purpose of the article: To explore Genneration Z’s and millennials’ perceptions of masculinity in advertising and determine which type of masculinity and which masculinity characteristics consumers favour in a masculine character or the advertising message centred around masculinity. This can help advertisers to understand what type of masculine character to focus on and whether advertisers’ offered version of masculinity is in alignment with consumer preferences.
Methodology/methods: Methods included qualitative video content analysis of advertisements centred around masculinity and quantitative research methods such as survey research and A/B testing of younger consumer segments such as Generation Z and millennials. The empirical results were analysed using the SPSS 23 statistical software.
Scientific aim: To see whether social construction and social identity theory can help advertisers and researchers understand consumers’ ever-changing perceptions of masculinity. In addition, the research aims to test the essence of congruity theory suggesting that consumers prefer content (advertisement) that aligns with individuals’ preconceived notions.
Findings: The survey results showed that Latvian Generation Z and millennial men and women are evenly split on whether they like or dislike how masculinity is depicted in advertising. From people who say that they do not like the way masculinity is depicted in advertising, 49.7% of them say that depictions of masculinity in advertising affect their buying decisions. A/B test results showed that consumers give preference to competitiveness as a traditionally masculine characteristic, while heavily preferring the display of affection and love and depicting masculinity less stereotypically in modern masculinity advertisements.
Conclusions: Advertisers mainly focus on traditional masculinity as it is the most common masculinity type used in popular advertising in the last decade. On the other hand, consumers tend to approve of modern masculinity in advertising, with women approving of modern masculinity in far more convincing numbers than men. There is a statistically significant difference in men’s and women’s preferences when it comes to depictions of masculinity in advertising.