Last year, the metrosexual was the man of the moment. The age of the preening, pedicured man had arrived. Marketers responded, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy paraded into prime time. But now, the metrosexual is courting criticism. Comedy Central is running a Queer Eye parody called Straight Plan for the Gay Man. And the word metrosexual was recently deemed the most overused word in Lake Superior State University's annual "List of Words Banished From the Queen's English." The metrosexual is suffering from that most American of marketing traits: overexposure. "People just get saturated with it," says Arthur Gallego, vice president of New York City marketing communications firm LaForce & Stevens.
"I'm as sick as everyone of metrosexuals. But it's something we need to incorporate [into marketing strategies]," says Schuyler Brown, trend spotter for Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, the ad agency that launched the original metrosexual study a few years ago. The extremes of metrosexuality are easy to make fun of, and that's where the backlash is happening. "It's on the edges of a shift in the way men are acting and [buying]," Brown says. The metrosexual trend, she adds, showed marketers how much they were stereotyping a changing male audience.
Entrepreneurs need to target multiple audiences and have something different to offer while tying it all back into the same brand. "You can't just hitch your wagon onto one customer profile," Gallego says. "Customers are smart, and they're evolving."
So where does the metrosexual go from here? He won't disappear; he'll just be relabeled. One variant, the technosexual (defined as a straight man who is in touch with his feminine side but has a fondness for electronics), has its own Web site at www.technosexual.org. "The next article could be about how 'Vain Man' is to 2007 as metrosexual was to 2003," Gallego says. "[Marketers will] find a new way to categorize it."