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Being a gentleman is not a template: The Man Company’s success formula

A campaign by men’s grooming essentials brand The Man Company (TMC) has been going viral on social media. The powerful video opens with Ayushmann Khurrana at an open mic, narrating a poem ‘Gentleman kisse kehte hai?’. The actor then continues to shatter gender stereotypes associated with men and delivers a hard-hitting message on how the term ‘gentleman’ needs to evolve with time. 

Hitesh Dhingra, Founder and CEO, The Man Company, elaborated, “The meaning of the word gentleman has evolved over the years, and luckily for the better. Keeping the age old social construct around gender in mind, every stereotype we break is key to bringing a major societal paradigm shift. We at The Man Company have always stood by the progressive modern day men who, with their progressive thought and inclusive approach, are redefining the word gentleman. In recent times, being called a gentleman has less to do with the last name or the profession, and more with the mindset and attitude. We strongly believe that a man has to strive and showcase the gentleman in him; it is something he possesses as a virtue, and not something he has inherited.” 

Earlier this month, Ayushmann Khurrana turned investor and brand ambassador for the first time in The Man Company. 

Speaking about the campaign, Khurrana said, “Through this poem, we are trying to keep aside all the stereotypes that society has created about a gentleman, versus how one must perceive a gentleman. It puts across a strong message of how men should be comfortable to embrace their vulnerability and their weaknesses and that it doesn’t make them less of a man.” 

Last year, The Man Company was able to ignite a lot of stir with their campaign on International Men’s Day – ‘For the #Gentlemaninyou’. The campaign received support from several renowned celebrities, including Rajkummar Rao, Bani Judge, Maithili Parkar, Abhinav Mathur and Shanmu. 

“The Man Company aims to pioneer this thought and with our new campaign ‘Bring Out The #gentlemaninyou’, which gives a fresh twist to last year’s campaign ‘For the #gentlemaninyou’. With Ayushmann Khurrana, who we feel resonates very well with this thought, we have taken the poetic route to send out a message which we mutually believe in, and feel will inspire many of us,” Dhingra added. 

The campaign has gone live on social media handles of both Ayushmann Khurrana & The Man Company.

In conversation with Adgully, Hitesh Dhingra, Founder and CEO, The Man Company, dissects the campaign strategy and the association with Ayushmann Khurrana. 

What is the objective of the campaign?
The objective is actually very simple. To bring to the forefront these fearless, progressive, modern gentlemen out there and tell them that it's okay to be what they are. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to have flaws, to choose a career or probably be a stay at home dad. All these choices are okay. They don’t need to conform to the gender roles and pseudo-macho regulations.

What was your brief to the agency? Why did you decide on such a format for the campaign?

I am proud to say that the idea and conceptualisation was done by our in-house young passionate creative team. The Man Company as a brand stands tall with progressive gentlemen who are all around us. They are fearless themselves and do not bound themselves in the definition that popular culture or entertainment media has tried to impose for many decades. We wanted to share our take on toxic masculinity with the world and in Ayushmann we found the living embodiment of everything that we believed in.

When the message is so strong, it was important that it's said in a simple, real and genuine manner without any frills. And that's why we decided to go with a format wherein you just listen to, look at and feel Ayushmann. The connect that the viewer has when he/she looks at the actor, listen to the words is so powerful that it we knew it wouldn't need anything else.

What has been the response to the campaign?

It has been phenomenal and overwhelming! And since this whole idea came from a very pure space, it is heartening to see everyone connect and engage with the message at such a deeper level. We have already crossed 15M+ organic views across social media platforms. And we went viral on Instagram within 48 hours. The engagement with this campaign has really moved us and we know that we are on the right track.

Your past campaigns have also tackled the stereotypes around masculinity. What is the new thought behind the brand strategy and how well has it worked for your brand?

We are a progressive modern-day gentleman brand and with that come responsibilities and a desire to make a change or at least put out the message that the brand feels.

We believe that to become a gentleman, how one looks, the choice of profession, the caste, the sexuality or the lifestyle is irrelevant. What matters are the inherent qualities one possesses and the mindset of constant evolution.

We wanted to put this dialogue out there that being a gentleman is not a template, and in pursuit of providing an alternative to this definition we undertook the task to establish that a gentleman can have flaws, he can be vulnerable and wear his heart on his sleeve.

Last year, International Men's Day was when we launched the #gentlemaninyou campaign and then on each occasion like Valentine's Day, Women's Day, Father's Day and Rakhi we kept the conversation going.

We have definitely carved a niche for ourselves in this category. We have our own unique voice and we will keep saying what we feel, fearlessly.

Who are your primary customers and what is their path to purchase for The Man Company products?

We are talking to gentleman everywhere. Being a gentleman is a mindset and doesn't depend on one's location. But yes, as a brand it is important for us that he is self-aware, progressive, authentic and genuine. We connect with our customers through various channels across online and offline medium. Our social media community is the strongest, I must add.

What is your marketing budget for the year?

We have allocated 20 per cent of the revenue to marketing. With Ayushmann Khurrana on board, we are confident that our brand awareness and brand recall will increase manifold. Ayushmann has a phenomenal connect with his audience, which will help us in reaching the right audience. We are confident of expanding and strengthening our positioning as a brand.

How well is the company performing? What is your YoY growth?

The category overall is expanding at an exponential rate and as a young 4-year-old brand, we have already made a niche for ourselves. We are expected to grow by 300 per cent this year and we are already one of the leading men's grooming player in the country.


Campaign Credits:

Inhouse creative team:

Rumi Ambastha, Brand Director, The Man Company

Nitin Kumar

Sumati Sharma

Rahul Joshi

Rishabh Srivastava

Manish Kumar

Anushree Mishra


Also special thanks to:

Director: Deeksha Tripathi from What Works

Written By Gaurav Solanki

Production House: Tonic Worldwide


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