Word of the Year: Metrosexual

[Agency: Havas PR North America]

Challenge: To take a word from nowhere to the mainstream.

Actions: In 2003, the trendspotting unit at Havas’ ad side—including current Havas PR North America CEO Marian Salzman—was poring over survey data for client Peroni beer. Some patterns just didn’t match the stereotypes. We linked them to behavior described by British writer Mark Simpson, who coined the term metrosexual in 1994. Our team then connected metrosexual to the nascent trend of men wanting to find their softer side, put a commercial spin on the word and helped brands use it.

Results: Metrosexual started appearing everywhere—from The Daily Telegraph and The New York Times to the 2004 U.S. presidential primaries. The word’s path from obscurity to omnipresence is a textbook example of the power of earned media. Journalists latched onto the term, and we were on the radar of any journalist or brand that wanted to discuss trends. This will be our self-promotional case of the decade.

MORE CLASSICS: Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented | The Airfood Project | Dos Equis | Word of the Year: Metrosexual | Polaroid | One Young World (Year One) | Vanish NapiSan Sponsors the White House