Sometimes great marketing to women is simply just great marketing. So for this post, I would like you to weigh in. I polled the women at our agency and most of us love the Allstate “Mayhem” campaign. According to Bridget Brennan, author of Why She Buys, women like “humor without victims”. But I would contend that this campaign is an exception, despite the car crashes, electrical sparks, trees falling and black eyes. The humor is so clearly metaphorical and satirical; many women I polled think it is hilarious.
We all relate to potential of mayhem in our life (we are against it vehemently) and like the humor of this male personification of it. As a female creative director, I wish I thought of it—it’s smart and memorable with endless possibilities. I do not know if Allstate was targeting women specifically (my guess is it was for the general population), but maybe they should be. According to a 2011-2012 Prudential Study, Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women, “95 percent of women are financial decision makers, and 84 percent of married women are either solely or jointly responsible for household financial decisions.” While I am personally not offended by the stereotype of the hot pink jogger spot, others seem to be from blog posts I saw online. Hey, it’s a man in a suit acting like a girl so I think that’s funny.
But perhaps a campaign that speaks to women better is the Travelers campaign with the dog. The first spot which featured the dog worrying about losing his bone had the tagline “Take the scary out of life.” Now they have a new tagline “It’s better under the umbrella.” I guess since the dog was such a hit, it’s become their “spokes animal” and now they are putting a more branded, positive spin on the campaign. I guess all insurance advertising has to have a spokesperson these days, whether it’s the Mayhem guy, a gecko, Flo, the nationwide nerd or Snoopy. I like both the Allstate and Travelers campaigns for different reasons. And I think they appeal to both men and women. What financial or insurance marketing connects with you? And do you think Allstate is doing a better job or Travelers when it comes to creating great marketing to women. Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.
Every once in a while, a big retail chain reinvents itself, and I always find it fun to watch. Remember, for instance, when Abercrombie & Fitch was a place for great, white hunters to shop? Or when Banana Republic was all about safari chic?
The latest store to do a big switcheroo is JCPenney. This reboot isn’t a simple case of hipping up the middle-American staple and shortening its name to JCP (though of course, they have shortened the name to JCP).
According to this piece in the Wall Street Journal, JCP’s new CEO, Ron Johnson, is trying to turn the whole concept of a department store on its ear. The store’s main floor is no longer a sea of cosmetic counters. Now, it’s a wide-open “town square,” surrounded by dozens of tiny specialty shops. The ubiquitous .99 has been lopped off of price tags. And instead of pricing items high, then holding sale after sale after sale, all merchandise will now be offered at lower prices from the get-go, and there will be regular sales two Fridays/month. (For a full breakdown of JCP’s new pricing structure, check out this great blog.
All of these changes seem made for busy women who can’t exactly plan for spontaneous sales, and don’t like to be toyed with when it comes to pricing. Considering that a majority of department store shoppers are women, this seems like a smart move.
My favorite part of the new JCP is its marketing. Ellen Degeneres, whom I adore, has been hired as spokesperson. She and the company were both the picture of grace in the face of a recent anti-gay protest by the group One Million Moms. And Ellen’s JCP commercials were one of the only entertaining parts of the recent Oscar broadcast!
In addition to advertising the store’s new game—which includes no coupons and no receipt necessary for returns—Ellen’s commercials introduce the chain’s new motto: “Fair and Square.”
I love the cleverness of this phrase. Not only does it refer to the classic community gathering place that is the small town square, it also pokes a bit of fun at JCP’s old image—which was definitely square. Such sweet, self-deprecating marketing is winning, and I hope it works. Next time I’m at the mall, I plan to check out the new JCP. I’ll also be curious to see if their rebrand impacts other department stores, which are all suffering in this economy. Johnson is the genius behind the futuristic Apple Store, so the odds are in his favor.
However it goes, I admire JCP for shaking things up, and for following through with some great marketing to women.
Have you been to the new JCP yet? What do you think?
How often do you get to do really cool healthcare transit advertising? I have to give our client, Covenant HealthCare, a big pat on the back for being great partners in letting us create 6 really cool buswraps for them. And for wrapping up a Silver Addy at the Great Lakes Bay Addy Awards last week for their transit campaign. Here are photos of 2 of the winning buses. The big idea? Use the entire bus to break through and create a wow factor for Covenant's messages.
Caution tape wraps the Emergency & Trauma bus. The Pediatric bus uses the actual wheels of the bus for the baby stroller wheels. Kudos to Covenant for taking their brand to the streets.
Let us know what you think. And please share your really cool transit advertising with us.
For as long as I can remember, Target’s creative marketing to women has hit the bullseye. My early years in the business were spent admiring Target’s many One Show ads which made products like waffle irons and aluminum foil objets d’fashion. It’s what spurred the fancy, affected pronunciation or Target to “Tar-zhay”. Target may be second to Wal-Mart in sales, but the company leads with its creativity and design.
The Target aesthetic has been so consistent over the years and has been the gold standard for their marketing decisions, product design (like the pharmacy bottles) and in their revolutionary designer partnerships that have brought aspirational fashion to the masses. According to a Harvard Business School article, “this "cheap-chic" strategy enabled Target to become a major brand and consumer-shopping destination, articulated around two main interrelated branding activities: designer partnerships and clever, creative advertising.” One of my favorite Target campaigns goes beyond, beautiful style and design, to truly make an emotional connection with its female audience. The “Christmas Champ” has ran for three years and truly captures, in a hilarious and memorable way, something very real: a suburban perfectionists relentlessly seeking bounteous bargains. It’s brilliant. I am to bummed to read in Ad Age that Target left their agency in January, an agency that I admire for their creative marketing to women campaigns. I hope the “Christmas Champ” returns next Black Friday. But I know, whatever Target ends up doing, given their track record, it will continue to hit the bullseye.
What are some of your favorite Target ads? And if you want to see more creative marketing to women, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of Marketing to Women that Connects.
Madonna revived her 90's hit VOGUE at the SuperBowl half-time show last night. Prompting Bogan & Partners to revive BOGUE, our award-winning anti-smoking commercial for the Michigan Department of Public Health. Our client debuted it shortly after the release of VOGUE and we think it has held up as well as Madonna.
The period. It's the monthly reminder of how as women, we are all connected. It punctuates our lives with bloating, back cramps and chocolate cravings. For years, maxi pad advertising has tried to connect by showing women dancing through fields of flowers in white pants or the tired blue dye absorption ratio demonstrations. In fact, up until a few years ago, a pad with wings was the only innovation in this industry.
But this Kotex campaign broke the cycle and was revolutionary because of its honesty. It acknowledges and apologizes for how lame maxi pad advertising has been. Kotex laughs at itself and therefore brings us in on the joke. As women, we must laugh in the face “Aunt Flo”, so PMS doesn’t get the best of us. The U by Kotex website continues with the “Get Real” campaign and invites women to engage and share with the company and their friends. They can create their own period video spoofs, and even design their own maxi pad. I love that the visual when this fun feature is loading is a white pad filling with blue liquid--that is spot on! I hope other companies can learn from Kotex when it comes to Marketing to Women and break the cycle of bad advertising…even if for a moment it feels unsettling like a hormonal rollercoaster ride. How do you really feel about feminine product advertising? Do you think they are really connecting with the ladies? Want to see more, check out the first post in my series 20 examples of Marketing to Women that Connects.
Media for women.
This is a term that makes some people shudder, picturing a pink ghetto where pundits ponder vapid topics like hemline heights and dating etiquette. But others see women’s media as I do—a useful way to reach an audience with a particular point of view.
A new political blog from the Washington Post called She The People does a particularly good job of it, I think. The bloggers (all female) aren’t content to just search the news tickers for sound bites about Hillary Clinton and Michelle Bachman. On a recent day, there were posts about Newt Gingrich’s latest gaffe and a diet book protest in front of the British parliament.
These weren’t “women’s” stories, per se, but they were told with an eye and ear for the way women read the news. We’re looking for nuance, context, and a perspective that includes ourselves and minorities. She The People has all that, in my opinion. And so does Slate’s equally smart blog, XXfactor.
Not everyone agrees with me. Feminist blogger Jessica Valenti doesn’t want female or minority offshoots of general publications. She’d rather see more female leaders and reporters working for the pubs’ main sections.
To that I say—our society is segmented whether you like it or not. And it’s not just divided along gender, race, or class lines anymore. Dream up any and every subculture, and you can find it on the internet.
Trying to wade through all of that to find news that’s relevant to you can be daunting. Readers need curators. And that’s where blogs like She The People (whose motto is “The world as women see it”) come in.
Of course, marketers benefit from niche publications. But readers do, too.
That’s why I’ll be browsing She The People for political news this election year. I just like it. I like the bloggers’ savvy tone and I like the smart (but readable!) content choices.
I even like the part of She The People that Valenti hates most—that slash of red lipstick in the logo. Rather than offensive, I think the lipstick is bold and powerful. Like a pair of bright red lips, this blog owns its femininity—in a big way.
What do you think of niche blogs like She The People and XXfactor? Are you reading or rejecting them?
Axe has been marketing to men since their introduction to the United States in 2002. A typical ad has been a classic scenario of nerdy guy before he sprays Axe getting no action from the ladies and then after he sprays on Axe he becomes a chick magnet.
Well now they are expanding on their demo and starting to market an Axe body spray to women. They have created a robust Social Media campaign called Anarchy. This campaign consists of a real-time, user-generated graphic novel. In other words, you write what happens next and Axe will publish the excerpt. You can go to YouTube, Twitter or Facebook to engage in this extensive promotion.
Here is my question:
Will the Axe strategy of marketing to women work?
Let’s assume their target demo is women 18-24. I did a little research, on this demo, in Nielsen @Plan. This is what I came up with…women 18-24 who have purchased deodorant or a fragrance within the last 6 months are 12% less likely to collect comic books. However, the male counterpart target is 51% more likely to collect comic books. Traditionally speaking, men are more into comic books than women.
Coming from an agency that specializes in marketing to women, I can say using Social Media was the right avenue to market to women. Those same women (as above) are utilizing and more engaged on social networks than the men. Men are 8%* less likely to make a comment or post on a social network, whereas women are 26%* more likely to comment or post.
I personally like comic books. However, reaching the masses, I’m just not sure their creative strategy will work. This makes me wonder if they have a male creative team who may not know what women want. Do you think the strategy will work?
*Source: Nielsen @Plan
I was pleased to hear that Lego recently launched a new line for girls called Lego Friends. My two sons love Legos (love might actually be too weak a word for their Lego obsession) and as a parent, I like them, too. The stackable bricks encourage creativity, concentration, and even math skills.
You’d think it would be a no-brainer to build on the brand that parents love to love (except for those moments when you gouge your bare foot on a Lego piece left on the floor). But apparently, creating and marketing Legos for girls is very, very hard. A Friends cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek even included a “Lego Girl Graveyard” with a sizeable line-up of failed past attempts to reach the pink side of the playground.
Friends, Lego has vowed, will be different. The company fine-tuned the line so exhaustively, its market researchers have been compared to cultural anthropologists.
So, I checked out the Lego Friends marketing with eager curiosity and high expectations. When I clicked to the website, I was . . . a little perplexed. Lego Friends is character-driven because pretend play is just as important to girls as building with bricks. The plastic figures have names, personalities and interests and they look more detailed and pretty than the famous, boxy Lego minifigure. They also look quite young—just like the 7 or 8-year-old girls in the Lego Friends commercials.
So why are the animated characters on the website so adolescent? They have shapely, figures, sculpted cheekbones, and the wide, almond-shaped cat eyes do not happen without the help of mascara. They do a lot of giggling and hugging. They’re not yet Barbies, but they’re definitely sexier than their plastic counterparts.
I bet little girls love these cartoons. But as a mom—you know, the one who’s going to be viewing the website and buying the products?—I’m a little turned off. I accept that Lego made many of the Friends sets a little stereotypical, from the beauty salon to the fashion design studio. That’s what girls ask for in focus groups. (They obviously don’t know how cool women-led ad agencies are.)
I’ll even tolerate the fact that the building aspect of Lego Friends looks less intricate than that of many “boys’” Lego sets.
But when it comes to marketing, we all know grown women are the target. And I think Lego misfired with this website. That’s a shame, because the sweet, age-appropriate Lego figurines are a welcome change for those of us who are Barbied, Bratzed and Disney Princessed out.
I’ll be interested to see if women look past the mixed message of the Lego Friends website and buy the sets for their young daughters.
What do you think of the new Lego Friends line and its marketing?
I love the recent "My Tide" commercials. Have you seen the one where the father uses his “me time” to French braid his little girl’s hair?
He had me at “I’m a stay-at-home dad.”
The spot featuring the parents of triplets (and three brimming baskets of laundry) is adorable, too. But I’m also intrigued by the message it sends, which is: maybe it’s time to rethink all this recession-era penny-pinching.
Triplets are expensive, explain the parents as they fold tiny T-shirts. (Or rather, Dad sort of flops the shirts around, then hands them to Mom to fold properly. Nice shout-out to the female target audience!)
“So, we switched to the bargain detergent,” Mom says. “I found myself using three times more than they say to, and the clothes still weren’t as clean as with Tide.
“So we’re back to Tide,” Dad declares. “They’re cuter in clean clothes.”
I like that Procter & Gamble shoots straight in this ad. It doesn’t try to gloss over the fact that Tide is one of the pricier laundry detergents on the shelves. Instead, the spot simply explains why Tide is worth the extra money. And in these economic times, that’s noteworthy. So much of current advertising is all about going for the rock bottom price. But if anyone is weary of coupon-clipping, sale-scrounging, and not necessarily getting a quality product for our trouble, it’s women, who are responsible for 83 percent of all consumer purchases.
Maybe this Tide commercial is a sign that recessionistas are ready to go a different way, at least for small items like laundry detergent. I’ll keep my eye out for more advertising like this.
What about you? Are you detecting an attitude shift towards frugality these days?