Campaign calls for a more diverse representation of men's bodies in advertising

Tackling the stigma around men's body image and mental health is the focus of a new campaign by wellbeing platform Manual.

The men of Manual
The men of Manual

It was launched by men’s health and wellbeing platform Manual during Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) where the theme this year was body image.

The platform wants to raise awareness of how the pressure to have a perfect body is negatively affecting men, especially when it comes to their mental health.

Previous campaigns from brands such as Dove and Misguided have outwardly challenged misconceptions around the ‘bikini body’ resulting in women’s bodies finally being celebrated in all sizes, races, genders and aesthetics – but there is still a long way to go.

Communications agency Emerge was appointed to develop an image-led campaign, that looked at how men are represented across a number of different industries, and to tell compelling stories to encourage a positive conversation that will allow for a more representative framing of how men look.

CEO Emily Austen said: "Huge progress has been made in the diversification of representation of women in advertising and we agree that there is still more work to do. Vocal influencers and social media users have called out negative messaging about body image, forcing many women’s brands to think about what is socially and culturally appropriate," she added.

"This sort of inclusivity has yet to impact men in the same way. But this campaign is a great step in the right direction to challenge ideals of masculinity and to encourage more diversity, across body image, and beyond."

The health-and-wellbeing platform believes that this constant representation of the ‘ideal man’ in advertising is adversely affecting men’s mental health. Causing feelings of inadequacy, alienation, and increasing pressures to live up to an impossible ideal deeply affect confidence and feelings of self worth.

George Pallis, co-founder of Manual, described the men in adverts with six-packs, perfect stubble and permanently bronzed skin as "unrealistic and doesn’t reflect what masculinity really looks like."

He added: "In a world where opening up about mental and physical wellbeing is arguably more crucial than ever before, it’s vital that we all work together to de-stigmatise men’s wellness and improve the health and happiness of men everywhere."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in