Bonobos is doing its part to embrace the #MeToo movement, but as a men’s wear brand, its message revolves around guys.
Today, the company will kick off a new campaign — #EvolveTheDefinition — that is designed to open a discussion on the definition of men and masculinity. As a men’s-only brand, Bonobos believes it has a responsibility to reflect a more diverse, inclusive and accepting representation of masculinity.
Bonobos will air its first national television spot, a 90-second micro-documentary, during the ESPY Awards tonight and that will be augmented with a social media and online campaign that encourages people to explore the meaning of masculinity. There is also a shorter, 60-second version.
In the spots, men of different shapes and sizes recite the classic definition of “masculinity,” which is “having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men, especially strength and aggressiveness.” Synonyms are macho, muscular, well-built, red-blooded, strapping and strong, the men read. “None of these really sound like me,” one guy said with a laugh.
The spot continues with the men saying that instead of conforming to the Webster’s definition, “you define your own masculinity.” And rather than asking what it means to be masculine, “it’s more a question of what does it mean to be human,” one of the men said.
Interestingly, until the final frame, there is no mention of the brand. And then only the company name is flashed on the screen in block letters.
The campaign will include a YouTube homepage takeover and promotion of #EvolveTheDefinition on both Twitter and Instagram.
Micky Onvural, copresident of Bonobos, said #EvolveTheDefinition is intended to “take the brand from the evolution of men’s wear to the evolution of men.” She said it is an expansion of its 172 campaign from earlier this year that showcased 172 men of all ages, shapes and gender identities. Some of these men are featured in the new campaign.
She said masculinity has been “bound by traditional stereotypes” and Bonobos’ mission is to “strive for a more-equal world.” She said she believes brands “have a responsibility to shape culture,” and the issue is “much bigger” than Bonobos.
The decision to air the spot during the ESPYs was made since the show is historically popular with men, “so we decided to go for it,” she said.
Bonobos was founded in 2007 by Stanford Business School friends Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly of Trunk Club fame. It was acquired by Walmart in 2017 for $310 million.