By Cindy Perlman, Staff Writer

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- These are tough economic times and you know what that means? No, that doesn't mean it's time for a hug. That means it's time to suck it up, son!

Hey, ladies. I'm not talking to you. Or, am I? Does this vest make my peck muscles look big?

It's time for manvertising, baby -- advertising aimed squarely at men.
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The new commercial for Diet Dr. Pepper owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group ( DPS) , which ranks No. 9 of the top 10 soft drinks (just ahead of Fanta) is all man.

It opens with an action-movie sequence: A dude running through the jungle carrying a big gun. He turns to the camera and says, "Hey, ladies. Enjoying the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie--

He jumps off a cliff and lands in a jeep.

There are snakes, lots of gunfire, motorcycle stunt scenes -- all kinds of action porn -- and the tagline, "Dr. Pepper Ten -- It's not for women." (Watch the commercial here)

Of course, they're not trying to be sexist -- just clever.

"I don't think people will find it offensive -- you just have to get something that will make a splash and that people will want to talk about," said Jason Sadler, who created his own job mid-recession as a professional T-shirt wearer with a site called

It kind of makes sense: In boom times, advertisers can invent needs you never knew you had and convince you to buy products you never knew you wanted. When times are tough, you've got to work that much harder to get people to release their death grip on their wallet.

And while you might think a "step aside, ladies" joke might put off some women, in fact, Sadler said, the ladies seem to love it.

Sadler, who wears a different company's shirt every day and then talks about the company on Facebook, Twitter and in YouTube owned by Google ( GOOG) videos, has a "Hardcore" character he uses in some of the daily client videos. (Watch him flex his "hardcore" marketing muscle here.)

"Hardcore Jason" wears aviators, grunts a lot and talks about his muscles. You might think such a macho character wouldn't appeal to women but Sadler said most of the feed back he gets is from women.

"They think it's hilarious," Sadler said. "It's definitely the ladies that find it more funny and joke about it and share it."

Sadler's business has been so successful, he's now hired four other professional T-shirt wearers to work for him.

Old Spice a brand of Procter & Gamble ( PG) , trying to reclaim its spot in Dudedom, has a new line of shower gels with packaging that resembles a battle cry more than instructions for how to get clean.

The bottle of the Odor Blocker scent screams, "Devastate odor! You will win! Odor will lose. After the carnage, all that will remain is the sweet smell of victory."

It's enough to knock the lady gels, with their promises of smooth skin and confidence, clean off the shelf and into the tub.

Even the shower gels for sensitive skin are aggressive: "Cleaning! Hydration! IT'S TWO THINGS!" the Old Spice dry-skin variety shouts.

Old Spice commercials featuring their new "Old Spice Guy" have been a hit on YouTube. The famous one with the tagline, "I'm on a horse," for example, has been viewed over 36 million times. (Watch it here.)

Dave Clarke of digital strategy and product development company Churnless, points out that people are still buying products like soda and shower gel despite the recession. But adding in a laugh goes a long way in this economy.

"I mean, who wouldn't smirk while reading a packaging label that turns the bland routine of, say, applying deodorant into an epic battle against stink?" Clarke said.

And, this dude-centric approach has proven effective at cutting through the clutter even in the recession: Hart Main created a line of candles aimed at men last year when he was just 13. The candles, which come in "man-friendly" scents such as coffee, sawdust, dirt, grass, new mitt (for baseball) and campfire, have been selling like hot cakes. In mid-March, they fielded 1,400 orders in just 48 hours. The business got so busy, Hart had to re-adjust his schedule because his schoolwork started to suffer.

Man-Cans are not to be confused with Mandles, another company that creates candles aimed at men, with a few more adult scents such as "Swimsuit Model," "Cruise Ship Deck" and "Jim, Jack & Johnny." That's right, the category is so ripe, there's more than one man candle company.

George Shea, half of the Shea brothers team that was the mastermind behind the Nathan's hot-dog eating contest and Major League Eating, said he thinks manvertising is effective.

"The bombast is funny," Shea said.

"At Major League Eating, however, we typically avoid hyperbole and stick to the facts," Shea said. Joey Chestnut, the American competitive eater who unseated six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi at the 2007 Nathan's Contest and hasn't stopped eating -- and winning -- since, "is a national hero much like astronaut Neil Armstrong and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks," Shea said.

That's manvertising, baby. Doesn't it just make you want to grab a dollar bill and snap it like a dude in a locker room?

-- Written by Cindy Perlman, Staff Writer
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