Pro-Bro: Dallas’ Mizzen+Main Launches Brand Campaign Promoting Male Friendships

Surveys show that American men are experiencing a 'friendship recession,' with only 1 out of 5 saying they'd received emotional support from a friend in the last week. Today performance apparel brand Mizzen+Main stepped up to help, dropping a new campaign called "Bring Back Male Friendships."

Bros have it bad. Only about 1 out of 5 men said they had received emotional support from a friend in the last week, according to a 2021 survey from the Survey Center on American Life. American men “without a close friend” had jumped 500% since 1995, from 3% to 15%, the survey showed—while those with a true rat pack of six or more pals had dropped by half, from 55% to 27%. 

So how to alleviate what some have called a friendship recession?

Mizzen+Main—the Dallas-based maker of performance-fabric apparel designed with modern silhouettes—is doing its part with a new brand campaign that dropped today. The campaign, called Bring Back Male Friendships, focuses on male camaraderie and good old-fashioned buddy-ship. In various executions, Mizzen+Main will share imagery, video, articles and more “as go-to resources for friendship education, humor, and stories of real-life friendships.”

“Coming out of the pandemic where so many of us experienced unprecedented loneliness, it feels like a time where friendships need to come back in a heavy dose,” Richard Ross, creative cirector for Mizzen+Main, said in a statement. “And with men, we sometimes need help cultivating new friendships and deepening existing ones. This summer, we want to show it’s okay to open up and seek out more guy friends.”

Leveraging cred with its customers

Founded in 2012, Mizzen+Main believes it has cred with customers that will make its campaign ring true. Known as “a serious brand that doesn’t take themselves too seriously,” the company’s signature product was originally known as “The Best Damn Dress Shirt.” Already offering a blend of good humor with corporate fashion, the brand aims to spend this summer mixing in a shout-out to male friendship as well.

“Our brand voice and the level of fun and play we have in our marketing is one of our key competitive advantages,” Bethany Muths, CMO for Mizzen+Main, said in the statement. “Our aim during the season of summer travels is to encourage men to carve out time with one another. Our summer imagery was created by our in-house production team where you can see the friendship they have cultivated over the years of working together. Both models and crew. It’s unique to see.”

Known for Phil Mickelson’s ‘Dad Dance’ and other endorsement deals

Video still from the Mizzen+Main ad, The Phil Mickelson Dance

Mizzen+Main has snagged buzz from its endorsement deals with pro athletes like golfer Phil Mickelson, J.J. Watt, Tim Tebow, and Kyler Murray. The brand cranked it up a notch with viral commercials, like Mickelson dodging driving range balls while doing a dad dance in a Mizzen+Main dress shirt.

The company was founded in 2012 by SMU grad Kevin Lavelle. The former CEO and current chairman of the board got the idea for it as a 19-year-old intern in Washington, D.C., watching office workers enter buildings dripping wet with sweat. Lavelle wondered why dress shirts couldn’t be made of the same sweat-wicking performance fabrics that he himself wore on the golf course.

You can find out more on how Mizzen+Main got started by reading our 2021 story here.

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