I read an article the other day in an industry magazine which left me in total shock! It was written by a hi-profile strategist in a major Perth agency and was on the subject of women in our industry.

For whatever reason, the marketing / advertising world (in most cases) seems to have found itself still revelling in the afterglow of the 80’s and many are still finding it hard to come to terms with the reality of today’s market. It has only been recently that the whole revelation has hit most, that women are not only an important part of the market we should be marketing to, but are an essential element of the fabric of a good agency.

Sure they’ve been account managers and the like but the industry seems stunned that many are now in key positions that were commanded by a ‘male only’ mentality since the last Ice Age!

So the article…and the reason my jaw hit the floor!

The article was about how women should be marketed to. I think it’s fair to say that everyone would agree that the approach towards men vs women is different as much as having a different approach towards adults vs teenagers vs children is equally as important. This woman however went about simplifying the approach of marketing traditional male products to women as a case of ‘dumbing it down’.

She used an example of selling a new car saying
“I can’t imagine for a second a women is going to want to hear all about the inner workings of the new Holden Astra. They probably wouldn’t care too much about the size of the engine, the stability control or towing capacity. I’m guessing they’d just want to know what colour the car comes in and how many down-lit mirrors and cup holders it has.”

I could have died!!!!

Is she for real? I mean seriously! I can imagine this coming from a chauvinistic male executive but from a female senior strategist? I’m truly shocked. To think that there aren’t a good proportion of women out there that care about fuel economy and the safety of a vehicle for both themselves and their families is ludicrous!!!

There is some serious naivety in the industry about the market in general. As an agency we began the process of gaining a better understanding a long time ago. In fact, Jack in the box produced a white paper over 5 years ago called Femme Fatal that examined the effect that women played in buying decisions and predicted that the industry would need to change.

Having created a team based on a mix of genders, cultures and backgrounds, I think it’s fair to say that we have a deeper understanding than most of our industry….we all still have a long way to go though…

[ To read the ‘Femme Fatal’ whitepaper, please contact the studio ]