Below the belt: Manscaped discusses its aggressive, yet humorous, social-first marketing approach

Tyrone Stewart

Below-the-waist grooming is often something that people feel uncomfortable talking about and this was something Manscaped wanted to change.

Founded in 2016 by Paul Tran, in response to a gap in the male hygiene and grooming market, the company decided that it wouldn’t succumb to this awkward feeling by marketing its male private part-focused products discreetly, instead opting for a more open – yet humorous – approach.

“At Manscaped, we aim to shatter the stigma around below-the-waist grooming,” says Tran, Founder and CEO of Manscaped. “It’s silly to think that, in this day and age, men (and women) are hesitant to talk about it or address their health and hygiene down below. Evoking confidence and empowerment is the essence of our brand, and we want that messaging to reverberate in everything we do.”

Manscaped’s robust and aggressive social-first strategy has helped toward its products being used by over 2m men around the world, with shipping available directly to the consumer in more than 30 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and across the European Union.

“Social media is an integral part of our marketing strategy. It allows us to get our message across, reach new consumers, build community, and engage with our followers. Through social posts and videos – both produced and spur-of-the-moment – we are able to effectively use humour as means to destigmatise the conversation around below-the-waist grooming,” says Tran.

“We were one of the first DTC brands to lean into channels like Instagram and TikTok because they enable us to explore and highlight our brand personality. We are proud to have built strong and diverse communities across all channels.”

As with any company adopting a social-first approach, Manscaped’s main focus is on those in the ‘Millennial’ and ‘Gen Z’ generations – a focus which makes sense as those are the two generations most comfortable with addressing historically taboo topics. And Manscaped “found that Millennial and Gen Z men feel the most comfortable talking about their hygiene routines” too, according to Tran.

Nonetheless, Manscaped had to find a way to engage men under 40 not just to encourage open conversation about the grooming of genitals, but to also encourage them to purchase the company’s products.

To do this, Manscaped opted to use humour in its marketing, helping it to “earn the right to speak to these young men about this particular grooming practice” by making men feel more comfortable about manscaping their nether regions and “[breaking] down the walls that men put up when talking about this area of the body,” says Tran.

A big part of this comedic approach was the creation of a character named ‘The Grooming Guru’, who appears across multiple Manscaped ads ‘helping’ men with their grooming regime.

“Our Creative team spent hours in discovery and planning to formulate The Grooming Guru character,” explains Tran. “This fun and playful persona is a prime example of how Manscaped pushes the boundaries of traditional advertising.”

Away from social media, Manscaped has, understandably, placed a lot of emphasis on marketing within sports that are heavily followed by men.

The male grooming company has partnered with organisations, teams, and athletes including the UFC, San Francisco 49ers, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hibernian FC, Los Angeles Kings, Barbarians, Sydney Roosters, as well as professional athletes from within the NBA, NFL, NRL, MMA, and Nascar, among others.

“Our sports marketing vertical is essential in accelerating our overall business goals, such as increasing brand awareness globally, reaching untapped audiences, and driving sales,” says Tran. “Partnering with iconic sports organisations like UFC, the San Francisco 49ers, and so many others that collectively embrace our brand, has helped legitimise Manscaped and convey our mission to countless consumers.”

Manscaped has also picked up awards for its campaigns, recently winning the Most Effective Retail or FMCG Campaign award at our very own Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. And that award was for advertising within mobile games, showing another area where Manscaped’s marketing has excelled.

The campaign, developed in partnership with Tapjoy, utilised rewarded advertising to promote Manscaped’s Perfect Package 3.0 bundle. The US arm of the campaign delivered a conversion rate of 2.7 per cent, resulting in over 100,000 purchases. Our judges, which included me (shameless, I know), said the campaign was “flawless” from start to finish.

“Reaching new audiences is an ongoing challenge to garner greater brand awareness and new customers. Acquiring new users that we may not reach on some of the main channels, such as Google and Facebook, is something we are always striving to achieve. For those reasons, we decided to test rewarded advertising in mobile games with Tapjoy,” says Tran.

“We expected that the mobile gamer audience would overlap with key customer personas but hoped that Cost Per Action (CPA) bidding would offset risk while we found our footing. Another draw was that the value exchange model would allow us to enhance the consumer experience and increase brand affinity.”

On the back of the success of the rewarded ads campaign in the US, Manscaped has continued its partnership with Tapjoy and taken the campaign global, which ties into the company’s ambitions to continue growing engaging new and existing audiences internationally.

“We have a very aggressive and exciting product roadmap that we will continue to activate on a global scale,” concludes Tran.