June is Men’s Health Month, an annual event to encourage men to focus on adopting behaviors that promote a healthier lifestyle.
One challenge that comes with promoting behavior change among men is that most feel they are already healthier than others to begin with. The Harris Poll released a survey in May that found most men feel they are naturally healthier than women, with one-third of adding respondents that they don’t need an annual physical screening.
Getting male patients to acknowledge that there is room for improvement falls to healthcare organizations and the marketing agencies that assist them in messaging to consumers.
Circus Maximus is a marketing agency that created branding and advertising campaigns for Roman, the men’s health startup focused on addressing health problems, namely erectile dysfunction.
CEO Ryan Kutscher said that as the brand sought to promote Roman’s brand, it was critical to normalize the concepts of men’s health and wellness. Years after embarking on that mission, Kutscher said he thinks both concepts have become more accepted in the mainstream.
Instead of somber in its approach to ED, Kutscher said that the initially aimed at making light of it as a way to break the ice with a consumer base that faces issues as they age but are less willing to discuss it publicly. By personalizing the language and atmosphere of the commercials in a way that was humorous yet blunt, Roman was able to appeal to men of all ages, Kutscher added.
“Straight shooting continues to work since guys tend to be solution-oriented,” he said. “I don’t know that the idea of self-care has taken off en masse, but the idea of fixing a problem is something that guys liked. That’s been a good avenue to have the discussion: ‘If you deal with this and we do this, the problem will be solved.’ That kind of tone resonates.”
While consumers face more healthcare product options than ever before, there is the risk of disinformation leading men to ineffective or unproven offerings. However, Kutscher said the success of Roman and its peers in the direct-to-consumer market has helped shine a light on the conversations men are having and guide them towards more reputable solutions.
The next frontier of men’s health, Kutscher said, will be centered on mental health services and destigmatizing those who seek treatment for behavioral issues. To address this issue, Circus Maximus has worked with Stop Soldier Suicide to establish “Roger,” a mental health support program for the military community.
Kutscher noted that soldiers facing the stresses and trauma of service have worries that if they seek behavioral health services, they will lose responsibilities as a result. Recognizing that this conundrum occurs outside of the armed services, he added that organizations should look at expanding access to covered mental health services and supporting men who want to seek help.
“There’s definitely a lot woven into that sort of stereotype of the male psyche and the idea that men don’t need help,” Kutscher said. “All that stuff is deeply woven into institutional realities. It’s not just so cut and dry to say, ‘Hey, if you need mental health services, just go get them.’