If you took any business classes in College, you’ve certainly heard the mantra that the woman is the decision maker in the household. But the world of advertising is ever-evolving, and ESPN is now saying that the adage might no longer be true. Ed Erhardt, President of ESPN/ABC Sports Customer Sales and Marketing, conducted an interview with Media Post, and says there’s been a shift towards targeting men….

For years, advertisers that targeted women believed they played a “head of household” role and made the majority of purchasing decisions for the family. But ESPN’s Ed Erhardt says that cause-and-effect relationship is changing.

Men are becoming more involved in making household spending choices–perhaps because of the economy–and that could increasingly open doors for ESPN with its male audience.

“Most of the research now shows it is a dual decision,” says Erhardt, president of ESPN/ABC Sports customer sales and marketing. “A guy is very much involved in that, so I think there’s a change in the male consumer–there’s a change in the economy and we like our position based upon that going forward.”

In ESPN’s case, Erhardt says large packaged goods companies (Kraft and Johnson & Johnson, for example) along with travel advertisers and other traditional female-oriented marketers are shifting dollars in an attempt to reach men.

Very interesting. You could certainly see this coming with all of the “Men’s” products that have come out in the past few years. I personally always thought that the woman as the “decider” line of thinking was a little off base, because years ago women were mainly homemakers. As the business environment changes, and roles in the household become equal between men and women, so do the target audiences of ads.

ESPN’s Erhardt: Men Changing, Advertisers Reacting (Media Post)

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