CANNES, France (Reuters) - The Marlboro Man is having an identity crisis.
The Leo Burnett advertising agency, which created the iconic macho cowboy, said a new study it conducted found that half the men in most parts of the world don't know what is expected of them in society and three-quarters of them think images of men in advertising are out of touch with reality.
Most ads have lumped men into one of two groups -- the soft, caring type known as "metrosexuals," who are comfortable with facial peels and pink shirts, or the stereotypical "retrosexuals," who remain oafishly addicted to beer and sports.
"As the world is drifting toward a more feminine perspective, many of the social constructs men have taken for granted are undergoing significant shifts or being outright dismantled," said Tom Bernardin, chairman and chief executive of Leo Burnett Worldwide.
"It's a confusing time, not just for men, but for marketers as well as they try to target and depict men meaningfully," he said this week during a presentation in the south of France where the ad industry is gathered for its annual conference.