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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yes, Women Buy Your Products. No, Laundry Soap Does Not Make Me Happy.

This blog post is a public service announcement from one woman with a voice (representing the millions of other women who feel the same way) directed to the countless number of companies out there who:

  1. Have identified that a target market of women 25-54
  2. Think that women find great joy and contentment in: clean floors, clean laundry, a clean toilet, minivans, 100% fruit juice for our children, etc. etc. etc. (insert stereotypical product purchased by women from circa 1950 to present here)
  3. Think that women are the only ones who buy their products.
First of all, I commend any retailer, mass merchandiser, CPG manufacturer, ad agency, or market research company that is reading this blog. And furthermore if you pass it along to someone else who should read this, too. 

Second -- News flash: it is 2010 people. Um, the guys know where the grocery stores are, too. And with women representing just over 50% of the workforce, and slightly more women earning college degrees than men -- you can bet your precious ad dollars that there are many households like mine where my husband does the shopping. He picks out the cleaning products. He buys the juice. And he actually DOES take great joy in buying a new cleaning product. He prides himself on trying the newest stuff.

Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom and a wife. I am also proud to be a woman who has a very fulfilling, full time job. The time I spend with my son and husband is very valuable to me. And having "me" time to work is just as equally fulfilling for me. Nowhere in my list of things that make me happy will you find fabric softener that sticks like a magnet to the side of the dryer. And while I enjoy watching commercials (probably because I work in marketing), nothing makes me cringe more than a stereotypical commercial about women who are just so giddy because their kitchen floor is clean. Please. Even the silly mop sucking water from a straw while an 80's love ballad plays in the background is not going to get me to buy your product. Egad.

What gets me to buy something? Here's one example: 
I was watching Mad Men a few weeks ago (a great show for men and women, by the way, and I particularly enjoy watching the old boys' club and work environment that women had to live through) and during a commercial, they showed a retro spot about Klondike Bars. I appreciated the fact that they tied the commercial into the retro feeling of the show. Plus it's on at 10pm - prime snack time. My mouth was salivating and I told my hubby to buy Klondike Bars the next time he went grocery shopping.
==> focus on the relationship to the programming

How about cleaning products? Well, despite the popular belief that women take great joy in having a clean shower, believe me it's the LAST thing on my mind during often hectic weekends. What I like though is those commercials that focus on what the product does: there are some great Seventh Generation cleaning products at Target that don't have all the chemicals in them. Oh, and the scrubbing bubbles that do the cleaning for you. Those little buggers are like having a maid in my bathroom.
==> focus on the product and what it does - not on me and my frilly apron and endless smile from a well scrubbed tub.

Nice Job, Subaru. 
Brenda Meller
How about cars? There's a great a great commercial - I think by Subaru, where the dad sees his little girl in the driver's seat taking off. Then the camera flashes back and she's suddenly a teenager. Guess what? No women in the commercial at all. And it still appealed to me.
==> you don't need to show women in the commercial to appeal to women buyers.

So for all of you companies out there pouring millions of dollars into your fancy ad campaigns - I beg of you - please check your calendars. It is not 1950. You don't need to follow the same ridiculous stereotypical storylines. Not all women are the homemakers anymore. (Do they still even exist?) Not all women do the shopping. And when we do see your commercials, if it offends us, chances are we aren't going to buy your product. And we'll complain to our friends about them on Facebook, so they won't like you either.

There, I've had my say. And I'll be happy to offer more comments - as would many of my female friends. All aged 25-54.