July 17, 2009

Pitching to women? Make whatever it is pink

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:32 am

“Women create their own glass ceiling”

This advert has been around for a while and was published in a Dutch feminist magazine (Opzij), back when Hillary Clinton was running for President of the US, but the negative responses to it from men and women told me I had to run with it.

The glass ceiling is that invisible barrier some women encounter in the workplace when climbing the corporate ladder and not getting that promotion because they are female. In Canada and the US, this issue is pretty much a thing of the past, but in the Netherlands, set the clock back about 15-20 years. The top women in business here are often foreigners.

I polled my women entrepreneurs’ group and they generally did not like the cheap joke, although they could imagine that the marketing guys (men probably made this ad, statiscally) thought it was amusing, as did one woman. She also pointed out this ad was voted “most emancipatory ad” in Opzij magazine.

The whole point of this ad was to convince women to go to Gamma (hardware store) and buy stuff. All the women I polled said that they did not need signs with rounded corners and childish pink things to go out and buy a power drill. We all found that insulting.

And then I asked Dutch marketing journalist Jeroen Mirck what he thought.

“Every marketer reads the same market research, which means that all hardware stores get the same advice about marketing aimed at women. Although Gamma is extending their interior decorating range, people usually go to IKEA for that. A woman who builds things also needs a hammer, some wood, a faucet or a drill. It’s all really nice to push extra things at the cash register (which women are very sensitive to, according to the same market research), but a hardware store should not forget who their main target audience is: men.”

Besides the pink for women disease that so many companies fall prey to — and no one knows why AND it looks a gay pride thing — I thought the ‘glass ceiling’ bit was painful because it’s quite true here. And then when I saw the Oval Office, I thought of the other Clinton, the man that had Monica Lewinksy ‘climbing up the corporate ladder from under the desk’, but that’s just me.

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