"...Because communication done well can be called art and because art is a beautiful form of communication that goes beyond any prejudice and constraint. Because It’s Art Darling, It’s Art!"

It’s Art darling, it’s Art !

by Anca Ungureanu

ART / COMMUNICATION

PINK IS DRIVING US CRAZY!

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“We are taught from a very young age that we want to become princesses,”

explained Debbie Sterling,the CEO of GoldieBlox in a 2013 TED Talk. She is the owner of a small startup that makes engineering toys for girls and she won a free ad slot during the Super Bowl after its video about girls building a Rube Goldberg-style machine went viral overnight.

And she’s right.
In our days everybody assume and everybody is telling us, girls, that we will become princesses. But actually we don’t.
Maybe because our wish is to become doctors, or engineers, or wrestlers, or teachers, or perhaps artists.
Maybe we want to use our brains. Maybe we want to save lives, forests, troubled minds. Maybe we want to build. To invent. To change the world.
Princess-ing is very low on our “what I want to be when I’ll grow up” list after the age of 5.

That’s why I’ve started with this video my intervention at yesterday’s conference Marketing for Women during Smark Knowhow Target Bootcamp.

Just because I strongly believe that too much “PINK” in advertising is ineffective and sometimes even insulting. This very simple approach of advertisers does nothing else but perpetuate some false stereotypes that can be dangerous, if used too much.
We prolong the stereotypes of the strong macho men, dressed up with a rebel twist, that smells amazing, so amazing that “even angels will fall”, as one of the very well-known ads once stated.

We also perpetuate the stereotype of young princesses with beautiful shiny hair, surrounded by pinky glittering objects that every girl dreams to have.

We perpetuate a reality that has nothing to do with reality.

In the real world, the one that many marketeers and agencies fail to see it, women control the vast majority of consumer spending in the U.S.
Yet, when asked in a survey if advertisers understand them, 90% of women said no.
“Young women easily see hundreds of advertisements a day. It’s not just that these messages often fail to sell products effectively. They also fail to empower or offer hope—and they diminish the aspirations of our daughters”, bluntly expressed Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, during her intervention at Cannes Lions in 2014 and quoted by AdWeek.

And, well, this is happening because in our days, addressing men or women at large, shouldn’t occupy the first place when thinking how to segment our customers.

Imagine for a moment that there was no way for us to know the gender of our customers and prospects. How would we segment them in order to learn their needs, attitudes, and preferences?

We would look at age, income, life-stage, channel preferences, consumer journey, behaviors, context, cultural background and much more, right? Right.

We would then use the subsegments we identified in order learn how to best design products and marketing campaigns, to reach our consumers within each of those sub sub-segments.
After doing all of the above, if someone then came back and told us that all of our customers and prospects were of just one gender, what would we change?
Answer: Nothing!

Because we would have already learned what the real drivers of different needs and preferences of our potential consumers were.

What I’m trying to convey here is that “women” per se is not a manageable, marketable consumer segment. It’s simply way too broad.

If we really want to talk to women, first we have to know them. Like really know them.
Look at them. Listen to them. Understand them.
And especially we have to go beyond pinky flourish communication.

Frankly, this way of thinking that if it’s pink and cute women will buy it, has been perpetuated for decades amongst clients and agencies, is very insulting and very medieval.

Women, like any other consumers, want information about the products and services that they’re spending their hard-earned cash on.
They care just like men about multiple functionalities, features and pricing, as well as stuff like size and weight.
Women don’t particularly care if something is pink. And if you want to reach out to a female audience, “pink and frilly” is not the way to go.
You need to go deeper. Waaaaay deeper.
After all, us, women, are more profound than men. (was this a stereotype? :) ooops! sorry!)

The way to go, is a transparent marketing approach that goes beyond telling women that the product is “for them” but is “about them”. Because it reflects a deep understanding of their values and their goals.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t market toward a broad spectrum of ages, life stages or cultures at once. We need to focus on women who will be our early adopters or who have the best profile for our products or services.

We need to understand the community. Intimately. As we explore the wishes and the needs of these women, we have to understand their daily life realities and to tap into their dreams, values and aspirations.
We should do everything possible to avoid a dangerous “serve every woman everywhere” approach.

We have to understand that every woman’s life is beyond stereotypes and every woman is beyond being just a Barbie girl, just a wife, just a mom or just a corporate bitch.

We have to listen, understand, inform and convince them.
Only in this way they will like us and they will maybe buy us.

And yes, as a marketer but also as a woman potential client willing to open up her wallet and spend some money on something that attracts me, I have a message for you marketers out there: Yes, PINK is driving us crazy.

PS. And if you ask yourself how to tap this into real life, here are some campaigns that I simply love and that are supporting my manifesto from above.

 

 

 



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