Real men are rough, tough guys who like a challenge. And challenges don’t get much tougher than launching a skin care range aimed at men. I have blogged about men who moisturise before. Basically, most men don’t moisturise. Everyone tells me that younger men are more concerned about their appearance and are prepared to spend money on products to look better. And it is true that sales of men’s products are on the up – but remember what a low base we are starting from.
Still, I remember that there was a lot of skepticism when magazines aimed at young men were launched in the early nineties, and they managed to become commercially successful. So is there room for a mass market grooming product aimed at the ordinary guy in the street? I don’t know, but we are going to find out because that is exactly what Bulldog is aiming to become.
The marketing approach is interesting. The packaging is plain but distinctive. I was surprised that it was white – I would have thought that grey or black would have been the choice colours for males. But the artwork is definitely masculine so I don’t think you’d be worried that people might think you’d raided your girlfriend’s hand bag. I like the name. Bulldogs are strong but reliable dogs. You can trust them. They are strong but they aren’t aggressive. I also thought that they had made an interesting choice of a celebrity to endorse the product. David Mitchell (you know, the podgy sarcastic one out of Mitchell and Webb) is very funny but is not really glamourous. They don’t seem to be out to create a James Bond or a David Beckham image.
But what about the products. I have been trying the moisturiser for a few days. This is not bad at all as a moisturiser. It rubs in easily and seems to work well. There isn’t much to distinguish it from most other moisturising creams. They have used fractionated coconut oil rather than mineral oil as the main barrier builder. This would appeal to the lovers of the natural, but I would be surprised if this is a major concern among their target market. The thing I did like was that they have not used a fragrance. The smell comes from a blend of essential oils. Judging by the smell the predominant one is probably the bergamot oil. This is a nice touch. Synthetic fragrances are fine, but I do think that real oils are easier to live with over a long period of time. The synthetics often make a strong impression when you first try them but day after day they can get obtrusive.
So do I think that Bulldog will be a success? I think it is a numbers game. What they need to do is to get enough men into the habit of using their products. This is where I think it will be difficult. If you don’t shave one morning, it won’t be long before you notice. If you forget to moisturise, well you may not notice the difference. Men may be more concerned about how they look than they used to be, but they are still a long way from being as obsessed by their appearance as women. I wish Bulldog luck, and I think that if anyone can do it it may well be them. But at the end of the day I have a feeling that this is a good product that should do well but in all probability it will probably not overcome the average male’s indifferance to what is good for his skin. Maybe they will find enough paying punters to stay in business but I don’t think it will became a household name that you see everywhere. On the other hand, if I didn’t have an unlimited supply of free moisturiser as a result of my job I think that I would probably be one customer.