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Esquire Ushers in the New Male Consumer

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In what appears to be an old-school move, later this month NBC is partnering with Esquire magazine to launch a new cable network targeting men. Many are calling it out of style and out of touch, but I actually think it's quite timely and appropriate.

Men are not just ESPN these days.

There's more to their lives than just sports, just ask some. The Millennial man is not like those depicted in prior generations. No not at all. While many are rejecting the trappings of a traditional career track, they are also ignoring gender lines as well. So too are the men of other generations, including Baby Boomers, many of whom are reinventing their lives after the economic meltdown. Many are at home taking care of the family while their female counterparts have higher paying jobs.

Programmers and marketers better get on board.

You see, men are... Wait for this... Consumers! They are no longer fitting stereotypes of letting the woman control all the household duties. Men make decisions too, and are exerting their influence. Witness the rise of the Daddy blogger, right on the heels of the now infamous and wildly successful mommy blogger. Dad can write too! And express his emotions. Wow!

Yes, men are grocery shopping, doing household chores, cooking, taking care of the kids, making plans for the family... all the things we've assumed were only done by the female head of household. It's now done in partnership.

And you know what? This is how women want it too! They want a partner, not another child. They want an equal, not an emotional dependent. They want to share, not dictate.

So it's about time for an entertainment network to appeal to this new male consumer. Give him content that speaks to all sides of his life, not just the sports. Give him television programming that embraces his role in the house as well as the office. Give him role models that will motivate and excite him to be a good Dad, Husband, Friend, and Coworker. Give him all the things that women have been getting from entertainers all these years.

I guarantee the brands will follow. Guys are searching for them!

I predict a flurry of activity around this new network, with new arrivals chasing its success. I predict that more and more traditional brands will rush to this new image of the male consumer, asking for his business. I predict we'll see far less of the male image of yesterday, and more the well-rounded man of today.

Just look at the rise of male grooming products, jewelry, and even yoga wear. Products once considered all female have become staples to men's daily routines and "looks." There have been numerous occasions where P&G has tested all male aisles in retail outlets, and I'm betting that may come back with much higher ROI now.

The point here? Let's let men be men, in all aspects of their lives. I embrace the new Esquire network, and plan to watch consistently. I believe it's not only in style and in touch, but a wave of the future in brand marketing.