What is the Masculine/Feminine Appeal?

The Masculine/Feminine Appeal is one of roughly twenty advertising strategies that marketing professionals use to persuade people to buy a product, pay for a service, donate to a cause, or otherwise be persuaded. The Masculine/Feminine Appeal seeks specifically to portray the “ideal” man or woman to consumers who hope to achieve society’s and their own ideal perception of being a man or a woman. Very similar to the Less-Than-Perfect-Appeal–which attempts to make consumers feel inadequate in nearly any way–the Masculine/Feminine Appeal has a strict focus on perceptions of being a man or a woman.

When Should I Use the Masculine/Feminine Appeal?

The Masculine/Feminine Appeal is especially common when the product or service you are selling is aimed specifically at either men or women. The Masculine/Feminine Appeal tends to be most effective for beauty, fashion, cosmetic, and toiletry products and services. Use the Masculine/Feminine Appeal when targeting men or women specifically. Be conscious of the ethical concerns with this appeal, as it is often an appeal use to exploit women’s and men’s insecurities about sex, gender, and their personal perceptions.

How Do I Apply the Masculine/Feminine Appeal in Advertising?

When using the Masculine/Feminine Appeal, you typically work within societal perceptions of what the “ideal” is for men and women and you use imagery and language that showcase these perceptions. Think in terms of the ideal body, the ideal hair, the ideal smile, and so forth. As you can imagine, there are many consumers who (rightfully so) who will be offended by the concept of the “ideal” man or woman, since every person is unique and ideal in their own way. Thus, be cautious of offending or over-exploiting concepts of ideal-ness in masculine or feminine ways. The more blatantly you claim that people are imperfect men or women unless they use a product, the more likely you are to offend and perpetuate stereotypes.

Examples of Masculine/Feminine Appeals in Action

*Note: The examples below show both good and poor uses of the Masculine/Feminine Appeal. You can see how some advertisers use this appeal in negative ways.