The Future of American Men -- Spike TV Commissions "State of Men 2008" Study

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Social Technologies and SPIKE TV collaborate on groundbreaking study on how men 18-49 feel about fatherhood and family, politics, relationships, role models, stress, technology, women, and work for Spike's "State of Men 2008" study.

But today there is no set model or path, and men's identities and experiences have become fragmented

What are guys' lives like today? What is important to them and how can we better relate to them? That was what Spike TV asked the Washington DC-based futurist research and consulting firm Social Technologies to help the network find out.

As the home of everything "men," Spike TV commissioned the study to gain a deeper understanding of the many facets of men, according to Kimberly Maxwell, senior director of brand and consumer research. "We wanted to check the pulse of American guys to be better able to understand their lifestyles, their daily habits, and values," she says, noting that the research builds upon Spike's 2004 "Guy's State of the Union," which delivered a wide-ranging overview of guy's lives.

Maxwell worked with Social Technologies' senior analyst Chris Carbone to investigate how men aged 18 to 49 feel about fatherhood and family, politics, relationships and women, role models, work and stress, technology, and more.

Five types of American guys

Penn, Schoen, and Berland Associates (PSB) designed and fielded a survey in support of the research which resulted in a segmentation characterizing five types of American guys aged 18-49. Social Technologies analyzed the segmentation and created composite personas, used by Spike to better understand different types of men and how their lifestyle and consumer habits may change in the near future. So what are these five types of American guys?

Young Carefrees (23% of guys). These guys are living out their post-college and early career years, and in many ways have yet to hit their stride. Seven in 10 are single, and they are the least likely to have kids. They are less successful than they thought they'd be at this point in life, but are optimistic about the future. Having grown up with technology, these guys are digital natives who often take advances like Facebook and iPhones for granted.

"One of the biggest things the PSB survey confirmed for us is that these guys are incredibly friend-focused, more than any other segment. Nearly eight in 10 say spending time with friends is their favorite way to relax, and 88% say they make time for friends regardless of other commitments," Maxwell says.

Above Average Joes (29%). The Above Average Joes were the most progressive segment in terms of their views on masculinity and their roles in the family. They are more likely than any other group to be married, and many have children. They are thriving in their roles as modern husbands and fathers, and working hard to create a positive work/ life balance. This is reflected in their use of technology. They're not tech junkies--but they do look to tech devices to help them stay connected to their families and be available to them anytime, anywhere.

"This segment represents guys who have really embraced the progressive view of masculinity. The Joes feel that a man should be an equal partner in a relationship and live that out at home. They see that having two sources of income is an attractive option. The PSB survey showed us that only 15% of these guys think the man should be the primary breadwinner for the family," Maxwell explains.

Good Ol' Boys (13%). These guys are likely to be single--though more than one-third have kids--and are the segment most likely to maintain traditional values of masculinity: rugged, stoic, and pragmatic. These values shape their relationships with their partners and kids, as well as the kind of leisure and entertainment they engage in. They have accepted that dual-income households are normal, but prefer that their wives don't earn significantly more than they do.

The Good Ol' Boys have a stereotypical male point-of-view when it comes to humor, and their appetite for extreme content is far beyond that of other segments. They are less likely than the other segments to say there is too much swearing or violence on TV. "These guys also have a distinctly DIY approach to life," says Maxwell, noting that only 34% have role models and 42% say they tend to figure things out for themselves as they go along in life.

Mac Daddies (20%). These guys lead busy lives, juggling work, home, and hobbies and activities--but they wouldn't have it any other way. The Mac Daddies are modern men, comfortable with non-traditional "guy" behaviors: they enjoy shopping, carry few gender stereotypes and they care about their looks more than other guys. However, they haven't abandoned traditional models completely. They have some of the longest working hours and highest incomes, with great passion for both sports and technology.

"These guys are in-shape, high-powered achievers," says Maxwell, adding that this group is also the most likely of all the segments to have professional jobs--43% of them do--and this is reflected in their higher-than-average incomes. "The Mac Daddies are also really into technology. Ninety percent feel their tech products say a lot about who they are, and 60% think technology helps reduce their stress."

Worry Warriors (15%). Life is hard on these guys--or so they think. Even though they're well off and well-educated, they feel life is harder now than it was for their dads--whether in terms of achieving financial success, finding role models, or simply coping with daily stress. These guys have been in the workforce for a decade or more, and as time has gone by, many have become disillusioned with the system. Only about one-third of the Worry Warriors report being more successful than they thought they'd be at this stage in life.

Maxwell notes that while 40% of these guys are married and has kids; even this part of their life stresses them out. "They're more likely than the average guy to say they can't meet all their obligations or spend as much time with their kids as they should. They're into technology, but in an interesting contrast to the Mac Daddies, the Worry Warriors feel that it's a mixed blessing, and that in most cases it adds to both their work and their stress," she adds.

What does it mean?

"While there are differences across the segments, some interesting overall conclusions can be drawn about guys today," Carbone says. "For one thing, this research with Spike shows that guys are still deciphering what it means to be a man in the post-feminist world, and this is something we really tried to express in our personas," he explains. "Life is complex, and even contradictory and--just like women--guys have more options for identity than ever before. In the past, a guy's "life path" was clear. Life usually included going to school, getting a job, and starting a family, all in a fairly standard order."

Men knew what they "should" be doing throughout their lives and the timing and order of these major milestones. "But today there is no set model or path, and men's identities and experiences have become fragmented," Carbone adds. "More than ever, guys are creating their own milestones and measures for success."

Learn more
To set up an interview to further discuss the "future of men" with Chris Carbone, send an email to Hope Gibbs, (hope.gibbs@socialtechnologies.com) Social Technologies' leader of corporate communications. Download the entire report at http://www.socialtechnologies.com.

About ) Social Technologies
Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world's leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making. For more information visit http://www.socialtechnologies.com, the blog: http://changewaves.socialtechnologies.com, and our newsletter, http://www.socialtechnologies.com/changewaves.

About ) Spike TV
Spike TV is available in 96.1 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV's Internet address is http://www.spike.com. For more information, contact Debra Fazio-Rutt, senior director of communications at 212-767-8649.

About ) Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates
Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates (PSB) is a market research and strategic communications consultancy with over 30 years of experience in leveraging unique insights about consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage-what we call Winning Knowledge(tm). Our media and entertainment group, which was started in 2001, merged the best methods from political polling with innovative survey techniques and high level consulting and has quickly risen to the forefront of the global entertainment research industry. Our clients include most of the major magazine publishers, motion picture studios, and video game publishers.

About ) The Methodology
Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB) fielded a nationally representative online survey for SPIKE among 1,741 adults aged 18-49 years, including 1,306 men and 435 women. The surveys were conducted online within the United States by Penn, Schoen & Berland on behalf of SPIKE between February 5 and February 11, 2008 among a total of 2,140 adults aged 18 plus.

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