Dirtwashing : Advertising to Men

Forget ‘Greenwashing,’ we need to lock down ‘Dirtwashing.’

Maybe I’m crazy, but I have noticed a trend of advertising to men that has boiled down the essence of manliness to be… dirt. I call this ‘Dirtwashing’ because it is similar to the Greenwashing tactic that makes products and services appear environmentally friendly when they aren’t. Likewise, advertising to men should not be over-simplified.

Now do I find this rugged depiction of manliness funny? You bet. Do I think it is the most effective way to speak to men? Not at all. This approach is overused to death and is one-dimensional, and a little insulting; I mean, men are more then dirt and muscles, right?


This bar of soap from Dove Men+Care:

“Deep Clean Purifying Grains” kinda looks (and feels) like someone tossed a handful of sand into the mix.


This tactic has been successful in the past, but it is old, tired, and impersonal. It’s time for something new: I challenge companies to do better than just dirtwashing their products. Whoever figures it out first is going to make a load of $$ that’s for sure.

Until then, men, keep rockin’ those Jubilee Wash Levi’s. Bootcut, naturally, because we gotta fit those all leather, triple-stitched, steeltoed lumberjack boots under those jeans.

Disclaimer: I wear Levi’s jeans, use Dove soap, and my best (man) friend drinks Dr. Pepper ever day. Take this with a grain of dirt, sorry, salt.