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No ‘Man Aisle’ For This Dude


I love many things about branding, marketing and selling. But for me the marketing concept of “Man Aisles” in grocery stores is too cute for comfort.

This story from the Progressive Grocer landed in my in-box last week. “Taking its cue from a recent ESPN study finding that 31 percent of men are doing the shopping for their families — up from just 14 percent in the 1980s — Westside Market NYC this week rolled out a Man Aisle, which CEO George Zoitas describes as “a place where males can go within the store that features items that they are interested in.”

Shoppers at Westside Market’s 110th street location in Manhattan can now make a beeline for such typically masculine items as barbecue items, hot sauces, beer, cereal, soda, beef jerky in one place that’s thoughtfully located right across from the beer aisle.”

I guess the metrosexuals of Manhattan need guidance from a grocer as to what to buy when they’re feeling manly. You know, barbecue stuff and beef jerky. C’mon man! Get a clue.

I’m no Einstein but I’m also a few floors above a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I make regular stops at a number of different grocers including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Target and Cub Foods. If my only destination was the Man Aisle our kitchen pantry would be overloaded with barbecue items (whatever those are) and beef jerky. Each trip to a grocery is a mission to re-supply on a variety of staples and fresh meats, vegetables and fruits.

The only moderately clever element of the Man Aisle concept is convenience. And that’s where grocers have missed the ball. Guys, and I’m speaking for all men now, want to go in and get out of a grocery store asap. No wandering around, no label reading, no price per ounce comparisons – just grab and go.

If grocers really wanted to capture the male shoppers attention they’d be better served to listen to the guys they want to shop in their store…instead of marketers who think it’d be manly to swagger in, stop at a conspicuous “Man Aisle” display to grab barbecue items, beef jerky and beer. I’d like any grocers ear on the subject because this dude is avoiding the “Man Aisle” just like I avoid the cosmetics aisle.


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