Advertisers out of step with women
According to She-conomy.com, US women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including homes, PCs and vacations.
Specifically, their figures show that women make the main decisions on the following consumer purchases:
- 91% new homes
- 66% PCs
- 92% vacations
- 80% healthcare
- 65% new cars
- 89% bank accounts
- 93% food
- 93 % OTC pharmaceuticals
Despite this, apparently many women feel their needs and aspirations are not taken into account by marketeers and so in an attempt to show that women exist as a market, Visible Technologies is to host a free webinar focused on women’s social influence and spending patterns.
Certainly, my experience reflects this: most of the advertising to which I am subjected as a woman is either sexist or ill-informed.
A visitor from another planet could be forgiven for thinking that women do not drive cars, do not fly and do not take train journeys. Even worse is that when women are present, we are presented as ‘arm candy‘ for the men.
A small ray of hope can be found in the recent banning by the Advertising Standards Authority of a Ryanair advert on the grounds that:
…the women’s appearance, stance and gaze – together with the headline – would be seen as linking female cabin crew with sexually suggestive behaviour and breached the advertising practice code.
Meanwhile, ill-informed ads are also annoying, such as those targeted at older women and men.
These ads are based on what I call the ‘Saga model‘, which assumes that any woman (or man for that matter) aged 50 is wealthy, child-free and has ample leisure time to enjoy the fruits of their hard-earned labour.
In my world most people 50 and over are still working (or perhaps more accurately looking for work) and/or have caring responsibilities (children, grandchildren, older relatives).
It is to be hoped that the webinar, which takes place on February 21, will address the sexism and ill-informed personas that advertisers routinely use to promote products and thus help them to better connect with this powerful audience.
Debbie DeGabrielle, CMO, Visible Technologies commented:
“Women purchase for themselves, their families and their friends. They make a significant percentage of all purchase decisions and yet advertisers often don’t really understand them, or what motivates them to buy. So why do advertisers constantly appeal to men, when so many of these decisions are being made by women?
In my view it reflects how out of step many advertisers are with today’s purchase decision cycle. We live in a consumer generated content market, where on-line conversations, likes, raves, and recommendations, often spread virally without any intervention from the advertiser. It does not surprise me that if they don’t know how to engage with the consumer in the channel of their choice, that targeting the message appropriately also alludes them”.
Quite apart from engaging with the consumer in the ‘channel of their choice’, surely the real problem is that most companies and advertising agencies are run by men?
Also, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the overall percentage of women on advertising company executive boards is a paltry 22.4%.
Thus, without an equal presence of women on the boards of companies and advertising agencies, it is not surprising that sexist and ill-informed advertising is perpetuated by a male centric view of the world.
Given that, in the UK at least, women are about to find staying on the career ladder ever more difficult due to public sector cuts and a potential reduction in employment rights, I don’t see a change in sexist and/or ill-informed advertising practices arriving any time soon.
More information on the webinar can be found here.