January 28, 2008

Boys Do Cry, But Only At Fiction

Filed under: Culture,Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 11:20 am

In BusinessWeek: “They may say they hate chick flicks, but men can enjoy stories about sacrifice, love, and empowerment, a new study shows. The key, say three marketing professors in February’s Journal of Consumer Research, is keeping the story unreal. The researchers had undergrads read adaptations of poignant stories by O. Henry and others, presenting them as TV scripts. Males showed more empathy and involvement when told the tales weren’t true. Men ‘need to know beyond a doubt that it’s fiction,’ says Jennifer Argo of the University of Alberta School of Business, one of the study’s authors. Exiting reality, she says, ‘is an excuse to relax gender stereotypes’–and emote. Women preferred true stories. The study’s advice to entertainment marketers: Emphasizing that a weepie is fictional may bring in more males. And get a few real men to cry.”

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