May 20, 2019 02:24 PM EDT
The United Kingdom and Australia sperm banks use images and phrases connected with masculinity to attract donors because laws prohibit them from paying for sperm. Cass Business School academic, Dr. Laetitia Mimoun and her co-authors Dr Francesca Sobande, from Cardiff University, and Lez Trujillo Torres, from ESSEC Business School, analyzed marketing strategies used by sperm banks in the United Kingdom and Australia and discovered that they rely on masculine archetypes to create value for a commodity they cannot legally buy.
Throughout the world, the value of the sperm donation industry is more than 3.5 billion US Dollars; greater acceptance of same-sex relationships and increased demand for fertility treatments are expected to drive further industry growth in coming years.
Within this industry, the UK and Australia's sperm banks are disadvantaged as they are unable to pay donors or provide them with anonymity, they are subject to limitations on the number of donations any male can offer, and the import and export of sperm are highly regulated. These constraints have contributed to the shortage of sperm in both countries, especially after the UK ended donor anonymity in 2005 that resulted in the closure of the national sperm bank.
For sperm banks in the UK and Australia to overcome regulatory constraints and increase donor numbers, they began to market the act of donating sperm as a confirmation of masculinity.
The study's lead author, Dr. Laetitia Mimoun said that this is to say that if anyone gives their sperm, the person is a real man and such individual is better than all the other men who cannot do so for whatever reason.
Dr. Mimoun claimed that this strategy relied on two archetypes of masculinity, which are the soldier serving their country and the everyday hero saving a damsel in distress.
The archetype of the soldier uses images and phrases associated with duty, honor, and heroism to affirm masculinity: a donor is willing to sacrifice himself and his time without reward.
One instance of the soldier archetype is found in a recreation of the famous Lord Kitchener propaganda poster used to recruit soldiers to the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 and in a campaign that described sperm shortages as the real banking crisis.
As for the everyday hero archetype, it uses images of life-saving professions like firefighters and lifeguards, connecting the ability to create a life with being able to save one. The researcher said that the use of these marketing strategies had significant impacts on the sperm donation industries in both the UK and Australia.
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