- by Gitabushi
I don’t like to brag, but I pay attention to a bunch of different things.
Okay, scratch that. I *do* like to brag. But I also pay attention to a bunch of different things.
One of the things I’ve noticed recently is the prevalence of beta males in television commercials.
It’s a trend that’s been developing for a while, but I think it has reached some sort of critical mass.
Consider the Verizon guy. He’s supposed to be kind of a lovable goof, and he is. But his mannerisms and incompetencies seem to play to beta male sensibilities: he doesn’t understand sports, can’t kick a ball, and has no understanding of horses whatsoever.
But I noticed it because due to a move to a new house, the sound of my wife watching TV is very clear where I sit in front of my computer. And I was struck by how many of the male voices are high and weak. Not too long ago, male voices were strong, gruff, and manly. Especially for trucks. But Chevrolet’s spokesperson is a short, skinny guy with a voice that is not only high, but lacks any power whatsoever.
The commercial that pushed the button to generate this rant, however, was the most recent Discover Card commercial.
If you aren’t familiar with Discover Card’s most recent campaign, it features actors in dual roles, playing both the customer and the customer service rep answering the phone. The notion is that Discover Card takes care of you like you would take care of yourself.
Aside: what’s interesting is that the actor in each commercial dresses and acts differently, so while it is the same person, they seem a little different. More on this in a moment. The first commercial apparently featured twins. Since then, however, they use the same actor in dual roles.
What intrigues me is that in the handful of commercials I’ve watched, the customer service representative is always calm, cool, and collected, and the customer calling in is confused and anxious. I think this is part of the trend I’ve seen to normalize incompetence and/or dysfunction. However, in this case, it is even more striking, because you see how much of a difference mannerisms can make. The man is clearly handsome, and can come across as capable and competent (in his service representative role). And then he embodies what very nearly seems to be an incel (involuntary celibate) male in his other role.
Advertising agencies aren’t stupid. This apparently plays well for some customers. I can only assume this means there is a demand for beta males somewhere. Or men who want to feel like being a beta male is normal and okay. Or women who want to feel better about the beta male they are lashed to.
Looking for this ad, I found out: it gets worse:
Here’s the longer version:
And here’s the Prequel:
The guy is a good actor. Whichever persona is more of an act, it is convincing and diametrically opposed to the other persona. If both are a fake, it is even more impressive.
Aside: I’m a great believer in a version of faking it til you make it: do things that deserve confidence, then act confident due to your tangible accomplishments, and people will respond to your confidence, which will solidify your self-confidence. It starts with accomplishing stuff, but resolves the Imposter Syndrome most people have. Let’s stop normalizing social dysfunction, shall we?
There is also a jewelry commercial that contributed to this critical mass:
When I saw it, I wasn’t thinking about the phenomena of beta males in commercials, but I was struck by how non-manly the guy was. In the past, jewelry commercials featured the Rich, Virile Older Man (the archetype you now see in ED medication commercials), for fairly obvious reasons:
Now, though: is there any way a guy as lacking in manliness as the one in the Kay commercial could keep a woman interested? Even the way he grabs her hand seems beta male to me.
I want to go beat someone up right now, just to try to reverse the testosterone decline in the US these commercials are either echoing or causing.
Let me know what commercials you’ve seen that seem to support the beta male-ification of our society. And if you haven’t noticed it, start watching for it, and report back whether you think I’m right or way off base.