Thursday, May 03, 2007

Inside Her Pretty Little Head

I've been reading an interesting new book about marketing to women.

I used to work with the authors, who as well as being super-smart, are super-hot chicks.

Oh dear, I probably shouldn't have said that last bit...

Anyway, despite the complete lack of pictures (come on, girls, let's sex it up a bit for the second edition!) there's some great stuff in here.

Their answer to why creative departments are full of men? Because creatives have to fight uncompromisingly for their work, and "Boys always think what they have done is brilliant".

They also have a great bit on women putting down men in advertising:

There are a number of commercials in which some hapless bloke... is the butt of the joke for his partner and her bitchy mate. We think this is an attempt to make the women in the audience feel that the brand is on-side with them... the truth is that... observing a woman humiliating a man in front of other people in an aggressive way does not feel good to the female audience.

It's embarrassing, seems cruel and is not empathetic. We're not saying that women don't sometimes complain about men or their partners, but they usually feel guilty afterwards, and they certainly don't want it played out to the rest of the population in the middle of a prime-time TV show.

And a final point to ponder:

A masculine bias is evidenced not just in the worst work that the industry produces but in the best work too. When you look at awards lists, it is inevitably male brands that are picking up the accolates for the best work.

In fact, analysing the Cannes Gold Lion winners for the last seven years, they find it splits out like this: Male Categories: 82 Lions, Neutral: 43, Female: a paltry 9.

Time to steal that shampoo brief?


Unknown said...

Thanks. I've just ordered an office copy.

We're doing so much work these days for brands specifically targetting women. And sometimes I want to cry with frustration - perhaps I should, it might not be a bad way of practically demonstrating a point.

"that was so obviously written by a man" is such a familiar (and correct) response in research.

SchizoFishNChimps said...

a good heads-up.
consider it ordered.

Anonymous said...

Out of interest what are those 9 "female" golds Scamp?

Scamp said...

Well, they only list the number of Gold Lions awarded in each year, not the individual brand.

They do split out the Grand Prix winners, concluding that in the last seven years there was only one in a 'female' category - Ikea, in 2003. (Though interestingly, the Spike Jonze-directed 'Lamp' ad was rather masculine in feel...)

Unknown said...

So you are saying that IKEA is a rather female brand? What do you base this assumption on?

Scamp said...

Well, I'm not saying anything, I'm just quoting the book!

And what they say is that only one recent Grand Prix winner was in a female category.

That must be Ikea. Unless they were referring to Budweiser or Fox Sports...

And you know what, I think they're right. It's normally the woman dragging the man to Ikea, isn't it? I mean, why do we need a new duvet cover anyway? What's wrong with the old one? That's my view.

Anonymous said...

Birds eh?

Unknown said...

It's not so much that bad work is produced by males. but more that they are maybe better able to force / sell the client to believe it's good work.

Like most artistic endeavours, it's not until it's 'out there' that the commercial gets crucified by the public, and the heads go below the parapet.

Next time I dissect a campaign, I shall attempt to correctly guess the gender of it's creator. I'm guessing the VW Passat advert was a mixed effort, whereas the DulcoEase slot MUST have been written by a male. No way would a woman have let that get past quality control.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to why the authors chose such as seemingly condescending title for the book.

I understand it may be provocative but does'nt it hurt their credibility as gurus of marketing towards women?