Home of ‘Real Housewives’ Pivots to Attracting Real Men

Those “Real Men Watch BRAVO” T-shirts that are already a top seller on the network’s website might become an even hotter item, thanks to a new promotional campaign the network launched during NBC’s Super Bowl LII pregame show.

Bravo, which found itself the top-rated network among women 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 for 2017, has also been noticing a jump in men watching the channel’s shows along with the women in their lives. The network not only wants men to watch, it wants them to be proud viewers rather than calling the network a guilty pleasure.

“Although we are the No. 1 ranked for females we also are very much appealing to men and we want to give them the opportunity to talk about that and speak unabashedly about being fans of Bravo,” Maria Laino DeLuca, senior vice president of consumer and trade marketing at Bravo, told The Wire.

The pregame spot features a couple on a couch watching Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules. The guy is very visibly emotionally involved. The slogan: “Real Men Watch Bravo.”

A few days after NBC airs the Super Bowl, Bravo parent company NBCUniversal will launch coverage of the Winter Olympics. A second spot in the Bravo campaign will debut during the games. It features a man on an exercise bike at a health club desperately trying to keep up with Top Chef, which is playing on a screen on a nearby bike where a woman is working out.

Bravo’s top shows in terms of male-female co-viewing include Below Deck along with Vanderpump and Top Chef.

“We don’t just have shows that feature female ensemble casts. We have shows that have strong male characters, that deal with workplace issues, that deal with relationships and fun and funny moments and friendship and all of that,” Laino DeLuca said. “We’ve always positioned ourselves as an adult network. We’ve never positioned ourselves as a female-only network. We’ve always had men coming into the network. It’s just, now we’re seeing that grow.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.