Advertising contributes to body consciousness among men research finds

Advertising is contributing to body and image-consciousness among young men, according to new research.

Findings from research body Mintel reveals that 17% of men aged 16-24 feel insecure about their appearance as a result of male models in advertising campaigns.

Jack Duckett, consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel, said: “The trend for using hyper-athletic male models and celebrities in advertising has grown significantly in recent years, resulting in men today being just as sexualised in advertising campaigns as women.

"Whilst this holds a level of aspiration for some men, for many more it has resulted in feelings of inadequacy. This points to an opportunity for brands to create more campaigns that feature average, everyday men.”

However, many age groups appear to not notice advertising much at all, with 50% of men overall stating that they don’t pay much attention to it. Only 8% of men, across all age groups, said they were inspired by the way men look in advertising.

A quarter of men, 25%, said they find it difficult to identity with men in adverts, while 22% said advertising uses too many stereotypes of men. Men were also critical of the way women are portrayed in advertising, with 30% stating that female models in advertising are portrayed in a way that is “clichéd”.

26% of men labelled the way female models are portrayed in advertising as “sexist” while 15% said they find advertising “patronising” towards women. The research also revealed that appearance ranks highly on men’s list of priorities. 45% of men said being in good shape is a priority for the future.

This compares to 38% who said being in a long-term relationship or getting married is a priority, 23% who said having children is a focus and 18% who said being promoted at work is.