More and more marketing campaigns that are targeted toward men are featuring guys with beards. Beards have increased in popularity over the past few years, which is why advertising reps are now using them to reach their audience. What accounts for the surge in popularity, and will the trend continue? Here are a few things you should know.
According to the New York Times, the beard trend actually took off around 2005. It was then that hipsters in the Brooklyn area first began wearing beards in large numbers. In fact, the number of men choosing to wear beards was so high, that it resulted in the term “riker” being added to the Urban Dictionary. A riker is defined at urbandictionary.com as being someone who lives in Williamsburg or the Lower East Side who also has a beard.
The beards that New York hipsters wear range from neatly-trimmed ones to those extending slightly beyond the chin. Until recently, very long beards were taboo, even among so-called “rikers.” The reality television show “Duck Dynasty” seems to have changed all that. The overwhelming popularity of this show (and its characters) have led to a good number of men deciding to allow their beards to grow to mid chest or longer. What was once a sign of being a “redneck” is now socially acceptable, and in fact is something that many men now take a great pride in.
As even more evidence that beards are now becoming mainstream is the fact that many professional men are now sporting them. Executives of corporations such as Goldman Sachs are now growing beards, as are journalists such as White House press secretary Jay Carney. Even newscasters on NBC have participated in events such as No Shave November in order to raise awareness for certain men’s health issues.
The fact that beards have become so desirable has led to another trend amongst hipsters: beard implants. Hair renewal specialists in New York City are seeing an increase in the number of men visiting their clinics for facial hair transplants. Some are doing this because they have difficulty growing a beard, while others wish to have thicker beards or fill in gaps. The fact that a facial hair transplant can cost up to $7,000 would indicate that a good number of hipsters do not plan on shaving their beards anytime soon.
What the beard craze means as far as marketing goes is that men are actively seeking advertisements targeted toward them. No longer are they content with “gender neutral” campaigns that do not take the needs of men seriously. Rather, men are looking to assert their masculinity without being overly aggressive about it. This way of thinking should not be considered an opposition to women, but instead viewed as a way for guys to receive equal attention from marketers.
Since beards are now acceptable in almost any circle, odds are that people will see more marketing campaigns targeted toward men who do not shave. There will likely be a surge in new products designed to help men care for their beards as well.