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Advertisers who need a new Rorschach to decode the U.S. male's consumer image can look to survey data from Rodale Press's Men's Health and Hearst Magazines' Esquire.

"I don't think marketers understand men as well as they do women," Esquire Publisher Lawrence C. Burstein said. "Sometimes I see advertisers taking the easy way out, saying simply they've made a buy for people aged 18 to 34 or 18 to 51, but being age-specific isn't enough."

Results drawn from the Men's survey indicate that men buy clothes presented in outfits for real-life occasions, while a desire to improve their sense of being will motivate fragrance purchases rather than others' response. Auto purchases will address men's desire to drive a sporty car they can control or a non-traditional luxury car with a comfortable interior.

The Esquire survey analysis addresses the extent to which each of the six personalities defined are brand-driven or if they might have more utilitarian tendencies.

The results indicate that the most brand-conscious men are "enterprising newcomers," who tend to be younger (31) and single with a $34,000 average income. They represent 9% of the U.S. male population and are fashion-conscious "brand worshipers."

Also brand-focused but in a different way are "dependable breadwinners," who represent 23% of the male population and are slightly older (37), less educated (42% college educated), and earn an average of $46,000. Most (72%) have children. While not heavy shoppers or very fashion conscious, they do select brands that they feel will project their image.

Projections based on the data also state that in the $40.5 billion American clothing market for men between 18 and 54, "ambitious contenders" and "enterprising newcomers" control 45% of all dress clothing and 35% of all casual clothing dollars, but only account for 23% of the male population that age.

Esquire's results were based on responses from about 1,300 randomly selected men ages 18 to 54, who answered a 12-page May survey conducted by the magazine's marketing department, Hearst Magazines' Corporate Research Department and NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. The survey has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.

Men's Health worked with research company DYG, Elmsford, N.Y., to survey a random sample of 1,000 men over 18. The survey reported that men's priority values were self-defined success (64%), fitness (59%), non-material success (58%), techno-literacy (57%), and work gratification (56%).

The phone survey was conducted in March through May, and has a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

The typical Esquire reader, as defined by the six types of men defined in the survey, is an "ambitious contender" or "comfortable leader," according to Mr. Bur-stein. An ambitious contender represents 14% of the U.S. population, is 31, educated (84% college graduates), and affluent ($58,000 average household income). Almost half, or 49%, are married and 43% have children.

An ambitious contender also prioritizes marriage but is not focused on child-rearing, has positive views on women's roles, is among the most technology-savvy of his peers, banks his cash, and is confident.

Esquire salespeople will take their data on the road in the coming weeks and demonstrate its uses to advertisers and retailers with a customizable virtual house that models products and life-styles of the six different male characters defined.

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