WTF Files: Alphanail Polish for Men and Fighters

Are you looking for a way to take something that is traditionally considered feminine and make it hypermasculine beyond belief? Look no further than Alphanail, the online nail polish retailer for "men and fighters."

Alphanail is, as the name suggests, a line of nail polish for "alpha males" (see what they did there?). Available in colors as varied as "concrete," "gasoline," and "cocaine," the polish goes on with a pen-style applicator that "does away with those dainty little brushes and girly nail polish containers" and comes off with a swipe of what I can only assume is nail polish remover in a jar, because, "No self respecting man should ever have to buy cotton balls."

If you detect a hint of bullying in that copy, you're right. Since this is a product for men exclusively, Alphanail is choosing to take the Man Up approach to advertising by basically bossing men into buying it, suggesting that they aren't manly enough if they don't. This masculinity bullying is heightened here (as it is with light beer and diet soda) because nail polish is a product typically marketed to women and thus the "do this or you're a sissy" message needs to be cranked up to 11 to avoid any pesky gender confusion.

Of course, avoiding gender confusion is a primary goal of a campaign like this one, and Alphanail is choosing to make something really masculine seem cool by putting down things that are feminine in the process (read: women). The message becomes: "We aren't girly like other nail polishes. We're manly. Being girly is the fucking WORST amirite?" It's not enough for Alphanail to say that they make nail polish for men, they have to say that they make nail polish for men who are in no way feminine. Straight, macho, aggressive, "alpha" men.

It goes without saying, probably, that Alphanail is also kind of weird. While it's one thing to market nail polish to men, it's quite another to market nail polish—a fairly innocuous product if you ask me—as something really aggressive and sexual. The Alphanail website puts a lot of emphasis on fighters as a target demographic, and even calls nail polish "war paint" that men can wear into their daily "battles." In fact, "BATTLE" is one of the six reasons (numbered two through seven, for no apparent reason) they give for buying Alphanail polish. Here are two more:

Alphanail ad reads 'SEX: Get more of it' and shows a white man with tattoos flanked by two women in bikinis
SEX. Get more of it. On a beach. With fake tattoos. While one of your partners looks super sad.

a woman in the foreground with a man in the background, looking at the camera and showing his painted nails. Both are dressed fancy. Text reads 'STYLE: Look good. Feel good.'
STYLE. For when you are clearly, creepily photobombing your date.

I understand that in this economy people are trying to make money any way they can, and if a handful of UFC athletes have been seen wearing nail polish then, hey, why not capitalize on that with a nail polish for "men and fighters"? (Side note: why they're making this distinction is beyond me, since this product is clearly intended for men only. Are they hoping to tap into the female fighter market? If so, they ought to consider different graphics.) What I don't understand is the need to make this product so aggressively masculine. Can't the neutral colors and easy application technique (which I, as an unskilled nail painter am intrigued by, I'll admit) cut it without tying Alphanail to a problematic "dominant fighter" narrative? Don't men face enough pressure to be aggressive, misogynistic "alpha" males already?

Previous mentions: Brian mentioned Alphanail in last week's Bitch Radio podcast, Popaganda: It's the Finale Countdown!

Comments

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And I thought the way they

And I thought the way they marketed body wash was getting ridiculous.

I definitely agree with you!

I definitely agree with you! I always thought having beads and liquid soap swirl in the air around a naked man or women while they shower to be very weird. I guess it's just the marketing strategy. Alphanail definitely reminds me to Axe.

Reason #8: Total World DOMINATION

I'm glad you covered this. I saw the website last week and my brain was having trouble comprehending how much transparent ridiculousness could be shoved into one ad campaign.

The best overly-masculine,

The best overly-masculine, aggressive advert I've seen came last winter, where a facewash designed to protect against skin damage carried the slogan 'Because winter hates your FACE!'. Apparently, now men have to do battle with an entire season as well as the rest of the world in order to be Real Men.

...

I'm befuddled by this for many reasons, not the least of which is that in a lot of their pictures, you can barely see the polish.

Meanwhile, people inclined to decorate their nails continue to have 99 cent options at the local drugstore. I will be stunned if this company still exists in a year.

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You know what? I'm going to

You know what? I'm going to pretend this is a joke. It's a joke poking fun at hypermasculinity as an advertising tactic for something traditionally considered feminine. I'm going to pretend because that is the only way this makes any sense. I'm going to pretend that this comedy troupe will next create ads for panty liners for men with a boxing theme. Yes. This way I can avoid full cranial meltdown.

In all seriousness, though, I like the pen applicator idea. Spilled nail polish is a pain to clean up.

...and, um, in the top

...and, um, in the top picture, does that guy have a belly ring? An ultimate fighter samurai ass-kicking chick magnet belly ring, I hope?

Pen nail polish

There already are pen nail polish applicators out there. They're easy to use and much cheaper than the 9.95 plus shipping these "alphas" are asking for.

I'm sorry but call me

I'm sorry but call me old-fashioned, but those men look RIDICULOUS wearing that nail polish. Men like that do not wear nail polish. Men who don't give a shit wear nail polish, like rock stars and the like. They can pull it off because they're not the result of hypersexualized and hypermasculinized ad campaigns. Why this company felt the need to even create a product like this (when other nail polish is just as good) and then market it like this is beyond me. The most disgusting of the ads is the one with the woman slung over the shoulder of the man and just her bikinied bottom is shown. And he's looking at the camera like he's gonna take her back and do her or something, all because he's wearing *nail polish* made by this company. I'm sorry but men shouldn't be targeted like this, as if they have to wear nail polish from this company or else they won't ever get sex and that women won't like them. I can guarantee the opposite, that most women *avoid* men like this.

God knows I avoid them like

God knows I avoid them like the plague.

Ugh

So powerful, virile, alpha males wear nail polish, but only pussies buy cotton balls? What?! I find this ad campaign insulting to both men and women. The guys in these ads look like major tools. Douchey sunglasses, tattoos drawn on with a sharpie, and fugly nail polish? I'll pass.

This is why people think

This is why people think feminists hate men. Attacking the physical appearance of a dude because you don't like the ad? PS: The dude in this ad is a really impressive guy-which is probably why he was chosen to be the spokes model. His name is Roger Huerta-google it. His story is amazing and just last year he risked his career and risked serious jail time defending a woman-a complete stranger- who was being abused by a man.Oh-and his tattoos are real.

No...

Umm...I have several tattoos, and no they are not. The only, ONLY way those are real is if someone touched them up in Photoshop to make them stand out like that.

And honestly, yes the ad does make him look like a douche bag "bro" stereotype. No matter what he does in real life.

If I went and posed in a picture with a line saying "The Nazi's were right!", and donated every cent I made to the Jewish community and Holocaust survivors, do you think people would just shrug it off?

99% of advertising is about creating an image. If you don't want to look like a tool, don't choose work that puts you in such a position.

But on that note, I'm glad to hear that he really is a nice guy.

No...

Umm...I have several tattoos, and no they are not. The only, ONLY way those are real is if someone touched them up in Photoshop to make them stand out like that.

And honestly, yes the ad does make him look like a douche bag "bro" stereotype. No matter what he does in real life.

If I went and posed in a picture with a line saying "The Nazi's were right!", and donated every cent I made to the Jewish community and Holocaust survivors, do you think people would just shrug it off?

99% of advertising is about creating an image. If you don't want to look like a tool, don't choose work that puts you in such a position.

But on that note, I'm glad to hear that he really is a nice guy.

Sorry for the double post.

Sorry for the double post.

"it's quite another to market

"it's quite another to market nail polish—a fairly innocuous product if you ask me—as something really aggressive and sexual. "

Wha-what?! Almost all the nail polish ads for women are sex-centered. Cue- Lady caressing some squarejaw hunk with her 60-second fire-engine red nails.

Or does anyone remember the commercial with the fingernail opening the flip-tab of a soda-can. Because we all know, ladies are so delicate that we need Teflon-enhanced nail polish to complete simple important tasks such as having your lunch of diet-soda.

I would not say Alphanail is breaking any molds here in terms of advertising approaches....although that's kinda the point of the post. I always thought real men use sharpies....they come in about a many colors as nail polish.

Good point

Good point, Ria!

What struck me about this campaign more than the sex (which you're right—nail polish has been marketed to women using sex for ages now) is the way the nail polish is being equated with aggressive masculinity (e.g., fighting and dominating others). I added the sexual comment in there because, well, they're certainly trying to convince us that this product is sexual as well as powerful. Ugh.

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I just found the website for

I just found the website for alphanail because it was advertised on a youtube nail tutorial I was watching (google popup ad) I can't believe it's not a joke because obviously it's been around for at least over a year now.

I don't know if the "see how it works" video was around when this article was written, but if you watch that it quite literally says compared to the super ease of applying it, it's even easier "gettin' chicks when you're wearing it" cue the sexualized woman enter in a swimsuit* "then she can apply it for you" He says while putting a hand on her leg while she serves him like a good slave should. Also the demeaning posters in the background of faceless female torsos give that extra emphasis how "alpha" a man is with this overpriced lie.

Is the copy meant to be kind

Is the copy meant to be kind of ironic, though? I see it as an above commenter did, as making a joke about aggressive hypermasculinity. It's not like nail polish is a traditionally "hypermasculine" thing, after all, and to take this at face value would seem kind of jarring and weird next to other, more subtle insinuations of what it means to be "masculine" in ads for other men's products. I mean come on, "for men and fighters"? There's no way that's not a joke. Reminds me of this to be honest: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-make-showering-awes...

Alphanail Polish

Two words: Dennis Rodman.

Upon seeing the the first

Upon seeing the the first sentence ("Are you looking for a way to take something that is traditionally considered feminine and make it hypermasculine beyond belief?"), my mind immediately went to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

This is joyous.

From Jamie Drew of jamiedrew.co.uk fame:

The greatest possible ad for those nails
http://workinprowess.com/alphanails-manly-nail-polish-for-men/