Friday, July 16, 2010

Rise of the 4 Dimensional Man?

Bauer Media owns a few "men's magazines" (FHM, Q, Kerrang!, Zoo, Empire, Mojo and Car), none of which are very progressive or focused on psychology, spirituality, philosophy, or personal growth.

Mostly, they feature T&A, gadgets, cars, popular media, music, and T&A. Their market research suggests that men (14-35 age group demographic, by my guess) are changing - they call these new men 4 Dimensional Men.

They say the 4D man is "confident, individual and has varied interests and passions" - they also call it a "retrograde hyper masculinity," though I'm not quite sure what that means.

I'm not sure what to make of this. There might be a shift happening, but I would not have guessed it was happening with readers of these magazines.

I think younger men are less rigid in their definitions of masculinity because they were little kids when Boy George and Prince and George Michael were all over the television - they have been exposed to more diversity as they began to define themselves, so they are less traditional. Anyway, I HOPE that's what happening

From Media Week:

Bauer identifies a new '4D' male readership

Bauer Media has recognised a new male demographic for its men's magazines which the publisher has labelled "4D" or 4 dimensional man.

The company unveiled a year’s worth of research in a presentation to agencies and clients last week which focused on the man of 2010, his motivations and needs.

Bauer believe it has identified an emerging generation of young men, said to live by a more "individual interpretation of masculinity than their predecessors".

The 4D man is not as tribal as his predecessors, the metrosexual and the lad, where you were either one or you weren’t, according to Liz Martin, research and insight director at Bauer.

She said that the research indicated the 4D man was increasingly interested in culture and is more health conscious.

She added: "The 4D attitude squeezes out lad attitudes – he is confident, individual and has varied interests and passions".

Bauer’s presentation acknowledged that the developing media has been integral to the 4D man’s evolution as the modern male consumer engages with multi digital platforms.

The study involved more than 1,500 men aged 15-40 to reflect the main age range of Bauer titles such as FHM, Q, Kerrang!, Zoo, Empire, Mojo and Car. 60 men in the same age bracket were chosen to document their lives via video for the study.

Geoff Campbell, managing director of men’s lifestyle division for Bauer, said: "The late 80s and early 90s spawned the lad culture, then in the noughties we had metrosexuality and it’s shifted again to retrograde hyper masculinity."

The research was compared to results of a similar study undertaken by Bauer in 2001.

Campbell said: "Despite ongoing challenges of the men’s magazine market, we engage with and have a dialogue with men more often and in more places than we did even at the height of the men’s magazine audience".

Phil McNamara, editor of Car magazine, said: "The multi-media era has hit us. What we can now do – aside from produce beautiful imagery and maintain high production values – is bring cars alive on the internet. The consumer can hear a Ferrari and see how it goes around a corner; it’s so much more engaging."

Campbell added that as well as "meeting the needs of 4D men" Bauer titles "are pivotal in helping the men who read them become more 4D."

He said: "They want to learn everything about something".

Paul Rees, editor of Q magazine, said: "The 4D man has come into being in the last couple of years. There used to be all this tribal way of consuming music. Men are terrified creatures – if they're in a record store with a mate they are not going to buy a Katy Perry single, even if they secretly quite like it. Now men can download Katy Perry and no one would know."

Paul Keenan, chief executive of Bauer Media, said the research would be used "to meet the evolving needs of readers and audiences, and the needs of advertisers who want to reach and interact with men."

As part of the study Bauer also conducted research with academics in the psychology, sociology and media fields to examine recurring themes thrown up by the research.

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