Over the past few years, brands have turned their attention to millennials—especially millennial men who consider themselves “bros.”
Brotailers, as Bloomberg calls the brands, are popping up all over the place. Chubbies markets its brightly colored shorts to the bro masses by recreating classic video games in live action. Criquet makes golf shirts with names like You’re My Boy Blue. Birddogs makes shorts called Thrusters that have built-in underwear. There’s even a detergent for men: Frey.
The AXE Shower Thoughts video series—part of the brand’s Find Your Magic” campaign—focuses the conversation around male self-expression, authenticity and individuality. “In a busy world that moves nonstop, guys need a moment to reflect and let their minds open up to a world of possibilities,” says Carlos Andrés Gómez, AXE spokesperson on masculinity and individuality.
There are plenty more brotailers—and most sell their product exclusively online. What sets brotailers apart is they are more a mirror than an ideal, notes Bloomberg.
The name brotailers came about after a bunch of young men came up with an idea, pooled their resources and made it happen. “We were graduating school in a time where the job market was a bit tumultuous,” Chubbies co-founder Tom Montgomery, 30, told Bloomberg. “On the weekends, when it was nice out, the uniform all of us naturally settled into was a pair of shorts that were handed down from our dads. They were the hallmark of all of our best days and our best weekends.”
Of course, social media plays a big role in the lives of millennials. Instead of simply getting recommendations from family, millennials are much more likely than generation X-ers and baby boomers to “listen to the views of friends and colleagues, as well as strangers, reflecting a willingness to take account of online reviews and social media interaction,” Just Style reports.
Menswear has been the fastest-growing product category online over the past five years, according to IBISWorld. And the bro market is a big part of that. Ogilvy discovered in January that 53 percent of the adult men it surveyed described their style as “basic bro.” That topped “practical,” “professional” and “rugged.” “It’s almost like these brands are creating safe spaces where dudes can be dudes,” Heidi Hackemer, founder of marketing agency Wolf & Wilhelmine, told Bloomberg.
It isn’t just menswear, either. The rose gold iPhone that launched last year ended up being a big hit with millennial guys instead of solely succeeding in the women’s marketplace as it was more expected to do. “Young men today are not abiding by traditional rules of masculinity,” reports MediaPost. And brands are taking notice. After all, for them it isn’t just about where the boys are—but where the dollars can be found.