Go from 0 to 60 as fast as dad can change a diaper

Posted by Steve Kleber on Jul 08, 2010

Most men – at least the ones I know – have a special space they call their own, whether it’s a basement with a flat screen TV, a peaceful office, a garage with a never-ending supply of tools or even a motorcycle for joyriding. Most often deemed the “man cave,” men designate a household area as their space and let the testosterone flow.

The man cave is where men can truly be themselves – loud, macho and simple. Crude even. The cave provides a kind of vacation from chaotic life. I hesitate to say, but this includes a nagging wife, barking dog and screaming kids. It’s true: the man cave is the key to every man’s sanity.

Google “man cave” and variations of the same idea appear on the screen: extravagant rooms with pool tables and home theaters, ideas for masculine decoration and videos outlining the tools and techniques for building the ultimate man cave.

What if the idea of a macho space was created for something usually marketed toward women? Chrysler has done just that with the “man van,” a special (manly) version of the Dodge Grand Caravan.

Chrysler's "Man Van" prototype

Rumored to hit dealerships within the next couple of months, the man van will feature a slightly sportier look with a snazzy black-and-gray interior trim accented with hot-colored stitching on the seats and steering wheel. Besides an effort to make many old vehicles feel new because of sluggish sales, Chrysler hopes to help men overcome the highly feminine stigma surrounding the minivan. With the man van, dads can feel more comfortable toting the kids to school or picking up groceries.

Beyond the cool factor of the man van, what’s even more interesting is the fact that Chrysler is marketing a minivan for men. With most minivans focused on sliding doors, the driving experience and convenience, Chrysler’s man van is the first of its kind in the marketplace with others not far behind. Honda Motor Co. is already planning to launch a sleeker “athletic” design for the Odyssey.

Looking back at our “Missing Males White Paper,” which states that males are virtually ignored in the household marketplace in terms of product development and marketing, the man van goes beyond the norm. Will it gain the attention of the modern-day man? Or will it be seen as joke? I personally see the man van as a bit cheesy, but hope this could be the start of more household product marketing geared toward men.

Although Chrysler and Dodge have declined to comment on the man van, dealers of Chrysler have said that the man van will turn heads. For the minivan-driving man, the man van is just what he needs to claim his on-the-go space.

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 12:24 pm and is filed under Brand Management, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.