I really enjoyed listening to Fat Mascara’s most recent episode with Garrett Munce, Products Don’t Have a Gender. The topic of men’s grooming products and how they are marketed was at the top of my mind when I came across a soap from a brand called Duke Cannon.
I was attracted to the product for it’s large, chunky size. My husband and I go through bar soap often and I’m always looking for new, interesting kinds to stock the shower with.
The packaging was attractive and I liked that Duke Cannon Supply Co. donates a part of all proceeds to support veteran causes. So far, so good.
When I read the copywriting on the packaging, I was honestly shocked.
In 2018, the following messages are being used to market mens grooming products:
Duke Cannon doesn’t drink lattes, cry at movies (or funerals, for that matter), and he sure as heck has never had a manicure.
Duke Cannon doesn’t care much for small dogs, appletinis or shows about singing and dancing. He’s not the most interesting man in the world (nor does he aspire to be), but he once bowled a 260. And he can fix damn near anything.
Duke Cannon’s idea of a great night does not involve going to that fancy vegan juice bar downtown or binge-watching vampire dramas on the Internet. No, Duke Cannon’s perfect night is under a starry sky, by the light of a glowing campfire, where stories are told without emojis and memories are made without selfies.
Duke Cannon doesn’t spend all day typing emails on a laptop. He sure as hell hasn’t gotten a manicure. His hands build tangible things like V8 engines and two story decks. And hard work makes hands dirty. Further insightful copy from the Duke Cannon website
After all, Duke Cannon doesn’t dine with vegans and he couldn’t give a damn about your new ipad. Duke Cannon comes from a different era–an era when men had a greater purpose than building spreadsheets and spending their saturdays at banana republic.
In Duke’s time, men pursued meaningful endeavors. they worked with their hands. they took pride in the things they built, not the things they bought. and the mindset was simple: men wanted to win, not find the “win-win”.
And then the whole metrosexual trend came and screwed men up even worse.
Now exists a generation of men who have spent more time in a Pottery Barn store than a hardware store. Hell no.
Needless to say, the Duke Cannon Supply Company is not a big fan of this trend. it’s time for man to devolve, not evolve.
Yeah, I definitely do not like this Duke person. Like, at all. Smells like a man should. Should? Wow.
Duke Cannon mentions vegans and manicures at least twice. For not liking them, they sure do seem fascinated by them.
Why can’t you make your soap, honor veterans and not insult anyone?
Can you even fathom how this would be received if this product were for women and marketed similarly. If a brand was telling a large group of women, “try again sweetie, you’re just not womanly enough.”
My issues with Duke Cannon’s marketing
Keep in mind, this is not a product review but rather, why I have concerns with the marketing.
Duke Cannon’s messaging is problematic for several reasons. Among other things it:
- Perpetuates negative stereotypes about men.
- Reinforces a type of masculinity that is dangerous, especially right now.
- It celebrates a mindset that is arguably homophobic, judgmental and intolerant of others.
- It blatantly says there is only one way to be a man.
- It alienates a portion of the population, telling them they aren’t good enough to use the product.
- It uses the words feminine and girly as a negative adjectives.
- It insinuates that only certain jobs and skills are worthy and masculine.
- It discourages men from expressing emotion.
- It dumbs grooming down, telling men, you don’t know any better, you don’t care, so here, ya big dummy.
Duke Cannon makes it seem as though men are ineligible for self care and if they dared indulge in anything not overtly masculine, they’re probably going to get called a pussy for it. I’m not having it; I’m not here for it.
Masculinity is a word that doesn’t mean one one thing.
It can mean smelling rugged, but it can also mean working hard to provide for yourself and your family, whether thats via spreadsheets or sheet metal.
Masculinity can mean chopping wood and also tomatoes for dinner.
It can mean setting up the wifi, the Christmas tree and the table.
To me, masculinity is a self-assured confidence and the feeling of safety that someone provides. It is a caring nature that makes you feel loved and protected. It has nothing to do with anything else.
This is not the time, nor the place for this, Duke Cannon. And you should try a manicure sometime…unless you’re afraid you’ll like it.
Here are a few great men’s grooming lines that don’t appear to be hell-bent on insulting people.