The Kitchen Is for Her; the Garage Is for Him

January 5th, 2012

menandwomen3

If, in the universal scheme of things, women are the ones destined to cook, how come most of the world-renown chefs are men?

In our society kitchens are generally considered a woman’s domain and garages are male kitchen2bastions. Traditionally, women’s work reflected the three Cs—cooking, cleaning and caring for the family. Women worked in kitchens preparing meals with state-of-the-art appliances while men tinkered in the garage with power tools. Even before that, they worked on engines under the hood of their car, but that was another time entirely.

kitchen1Today, many husbands share domestic jobs, including cooking and childcare. But in most families, women still rule the kitchen domain, while men look for a man-cave in the garage or other room. EasyBake ovens are more often pink and aimed at girls, while work tools are primary colors and marketed more to boys. Our gender roles don’t just happen at 18 or 21, they are often garage2taught.

Super Bowl XLV Advertising: Same Ol’, Same Ol’

February 7th, 2011

Another Super Bowl is over and now its time to rate the real winners. Not the Green Bay Packers, but the advertisers. Like many, while it was a great game, I definitely watched the commercials more closely. For the last four years I have written a column for ProfMarketing.com on how women view/respond to the commercials. Many core advertising products as such as Budweiser/ Bud Light and automotive vehicles were numerous, but most were not outstanding or particularly memorable. Although women make more than 80% of all purchases, Super Bowl ads seem to continuously play towards a very young, male demographic. However, this year, if I was a young male, I would be insulted. Many ads seemed to focus on showing men as dumb, young, violent and stupid.

superbowlad_vwThat’s not to say that many ads weren’t clever. There were just far between. I agree with the number one favorite, the VW Darth Vader ad. Living in the fantasy world with the adorable 6-year old and watching his eyes as he thinks he made the car’s lights flash, is just great advertising. The Best Buys ad with Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber was also excellent. Showing the tech savvy differences between the two was well done and not insulting to either generation. The Chevy Camaro spot that featured the redheaded teacher had a fun, interesting twist at the end. The Pepsi Max first date was nostalgic of my dating days with her superbowlad_bestbuywondering many personal things about him while his only thought, until they bought the Pepsi Max to the table, was “I want to sleep with her.” Another slice of life commercial was the AT&T where the husband forgot the anniversary and works to make things right.

Two others I liked were the etrade baby and the Mini Game Show. While both E*Trade commercials were okay, I thought the one with the tailor measuring the baby for an expensive outfit, the commentary on how he had got the tailor investing for his future and the playful reach for the tailor’s beard was good entertainment with a message. The Mini Game Show “Cram It” superbowlad_etradehighlighted the spacious capacity of the Mini vehicle to hold a lot of stuff for busy, active families.

Since the sexist ads of Go Daddy never appeal to me, I did think the Joan Rivers twist at the end brought it to a better place. While Teleflora’s ad featuring Faith Hill helping a guy write a note to include with his flowers was still sexist, it was real and a huge improvement over last year, which was one of the worse Super Bowl ads ever.

Alas, there were numerous bad ones as well. While some rated the Doritos Pug Dog commercial as likeable, I find anything that threatens or pretends to harm animals in bad taste. Additionally, the Doritos spot where the man licked the pants is disgusting. I realize that Doritos runs contests to create ads for the Super Bowl, but those that enter aren’t necessarily those who purchase the product. In fact as a whole, I thought Doritos ads were the worse series of the game. Perhaps the Super Bowl isn’t the best venue for amateur work.

I thought the Chevy Senior ad was insulting and not funny or informative. It certainly would not get me to consider superbowl_logo1the vehicle, as a senior or otherwise.  CarMax.com, like Careerbuilder, focused more on the lowest, dumbest element of the audience.  HomeAway.com was equally bad. And while this list could go on and on, I’ll end with the Cars.com Car Talk. Having the cars say they like the topless babe and show a convertible might seem to be clever to some, but could definitely be offensive to others.

For $3 million for a 30-second spot, plus production costs, I would want more for my money than most advertising agencies and their clients seem to want or get.

To see all the ads, go to http://superbowlads.fanhouse.com

The Best Marketing Tool—Women Advisory Boards

January 18th, 2011

Creating the perfect marketing mix, attracting ideal customers and hiring and retaining the best employees are key steps to success for any business. Of course, products and services, management and cash flow are all essentialadvisoryboards1 elements to profitability and longevity, but this blog is going to focus on the best way to maximize the return on your marketing time, resources and talents.

Women Advisory Boards (WABs) are so strong because they are cost effective, provide an wealth of new ideas and contacts and work as both a consultant to you and an ambassador to the community on your behalf. Their networks become your networks, their ideas your ideas and their dollars, your dollars.

meeting1Because a WAB is a flexible vehicle that can be designed to fit a company’s specific needs, it can help the organization find new clients, develop new product ideas or invite sports fans to more games. The innovation and enthusiasm of the group is contagious and will be felt throughout the entire organization.

WABs serve as focus groups, but with an ongoing commitment to your success. They can serve to critique your advertising campaigns, website design, social media effectiveness, sales tools and promotional ideas.

In addition to marketing efforts, WABs can help businesses recruit, retain and promote more female employees, often leading to a more female-friendly culture within the organization. WABs have assisted companies in creating newmeeting2 recruiting strategies by discovering new places and ways to attract quality women. WABs can also function as mentors to young female employees. The women on the board know and trust you. Thus, they will provide referrals and become loyal customers themselves.

In a tight economy, getting the most for every marketing dollar is important. A Women Advisory Board is the best use of your marketing dollars with will have greatest ROI.

ESPNW – Good idea?

January 10th, 2011

espnwlogoI have read numerous articles on the pros and cons of ESPNW. As an advocate for women in business, sports, academia and life, it would seem like a win-win. But is it?

The original idea was to promote women athletes with articles by women sports writers to women fans. One article I read said the site featured tailgate party recipes and pink apparel for women. When I went to the site, I didn’t find either. If they had it, they have made bball11adjustments. The stories were about all the weekend sports and didn’t seem to favor women’s sports or athletes.

Which then raises the question, who is there market and how is it different from the ESPN audience?

They have links to several ESPN.com stories prominently displayed. However, it is difficult to find the link to ESPNW on the ESPN site. It is there if you keep looking.

track1Since the site is relatively new, I think I’ll just continue to watch it evolve and see what they do with it. It’s nice for the media to consider women athletes and fans as an important market segment, but are they capturing more new women than the numbers they are alienating?

What’s your opinion about ESPNW.com?

Happy New Year

January 3rd, 2011

The hats have been tossed, the horns have sounded, the confetti cleaned and thenewyear3 champagne finished. Like millions of others I watched the ball drop in Time Square, saw the new year ushered in around the world and saw sparkly fireworks. 2011 is here, whether we are ready or not.

What I love about holidays is they provide an environment where families and friends spend time together and enjoy festive, newyear21delicious meals. It’s a time many share when they don’t make the effort to get together otherwise. Many make resolutions for the new year; some will keep them, but most just do it as a tradition rather than a commitment.

This week many kids will head back to school with 2010 being just a memory. As a mother and grandmother, like you, I only want the best for my family in the year ahead … for them to be safe, healthy, productive and happy.newyear1

Enjoy everyday of 2011. Time passes so fast, it will be 2012 if we aren’t careful to stop, take time and make those memories that can be cherished for years to come.

Happy New Year!

2010 — A Year of Paradoxes

December 14th, 2010

2010 has been a year full of paradoxes, especially in terms of the economy:

Guest Blogger• On the one hand, big banks are having a very profitable year and paying the Fed back for the bailout. On the other, they aren’t making loans to entrepreneurs, who create the most jobs.
• The Big Three US automakers are profitable and decreasing the balance on their loans as well, but the manufacturing sector is still shrinking.
• Houses in many localities have lost value or are in foreclosure, yet qualified buyers are finding it difficult to get mortgages.
• Consumers are more comfortable spending money on themselves this holiday season, although unemployment has ticked up and new job creation was substantially below expectations last month.
• The American population is cutting debt and saving about six percent of its income,
while the Federal government continues to increase the deficit, while neither cutting
expenses, nor increasing revenue.
• Voters agonize about the debt, yet they are loathe to give up government benefits or pay more taxes.

What should we think about these black-and-white circumstances? Media always obsesses over bad news. And pessimism, like optimism, is overblown at times. It’s easy to focus on the negative and believe things will never get better. Yet those of us who have watched economic cycles come and go and lived through personally tough times know that, this too, shall pass.

Taunee Besson is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979 that works with individual and corporate clients in executive coaching, career transition, talent management and small business issues. She has authored three editions each of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and Premier Guide to Cover Letters.

The Cracked, but Still Intact, Political Ceiling

November 29th, 2010

crackedceiling1I went to a wonderful luncheon last week. Take Your Brain to Lunch featured speaker, Randy Mayeux, reviewed two books. One of the books was Anne Kornblut’s Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, And What It Will Take For A Woman To Win. Regardless of your political views, gender, age, economic status or any other demographic data, no one can fail to acknowledge the impact these two women have had, and will probably continue to have, on our country.

According to Kornblut, “their candidacies (Clinton and Palin) unleashed virulent strains of sexism across the country that many had thought were already eradicated.” While women represent 50 percent of the population, they are as underrepresented in government positions of power as theyhillary-clinton1 are in corporate executive suites and academic professors with tenure.

Hillary, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and currently serves as Secretary of State, has a long history of service to the country and shaping the view of women in politics. She was the first lady of Arkansas and then of the country. She has served as a senator from New York and, as a mother, helped planned her daughter’s wedding.

2008-09-15-sarahpalinSarah Palin rose to political fame when she was picked by John McCain to be his running mate. As the first woman governor of Alaska, she was virtually unknown. Today, she has a TV program on Fox, is on a book tour, making numerous speeches and encouraging candidates who she believes hold the same values she does. As a mother, she supported her daughter while she was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.

No doubt the ceiling is cracked, but it is definitely not shattered!

Family Fun at the Brahmas Game

November 8th, 2010

hockey1This past weekend, my husband, daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and I went to a Brahmas Hockey Game. The Texas Brahmas, one of 18 teams that belong to the Central Hockey League, is a minor league team based in North Richland Hills, Texas.

The evening was entertaining and exciting with lots of action. The intimate size facilitybrahmas_hockeylogo1 versus the colossal Cowboy Stadium makes fans feel a part of the action. And, of course, ticket prices, concessions and parking was much more family affordable.

With activities for the kids, and interactive traditions, such as throwing mini-brahma bulls on the ice after a goal, it was experiential as well. While you need to bundle up as the arena is cold, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and a wonderful way to spend an evening with family and friends.

Why Not Highlight Sports Wives?

November 1st, 2010

people2Wives and families are a critical part of any professional athlete’s life. Yesterday I watched a show called Football Wives on TV. I thought it would provide viewers with interesting insights into the players, their wives, children and lifestyle. After all, we all know women are more relationship oriented. To know a little more about the players would only enhance a female fan’s enjoyment of the sport.

Admittedly, I only watched part of one segment, so they may have had something interesting on that I missed. However, it was more like the “Real Housewives” bickering and innatepeople1 conversation, than what I expected. Hence the fact I only watched one segment of the 30-minute program.

Sports teams are really missing out on an opportunity to connect at a deeper level with their female fans. Women’s interest in sports is probably at an all time high. In my case, we have the Texas Rangers playing in the World Series and making history. And, of course, the Dallas Cowboys. The Mavericks, Stars, and many minor league teams in the area are outstanding and provide family entertainment at reasonable prices.

team1Television, which counts on the number of people watching to generate advertising revenue, really could produce a good preshow occasionally, that focused more on the player and his life, than repeating the same thing week after week about “going out and giving his all,” “playing as a team” and “stepping up to the plate.”

Halloween Magic

October 26th, 2010

blackcat12Ghost, goblins, jack-o’-lanterns, costumes and candy are all symbols of Halloween, a holiday children in many countries observe. In the United States it is celebrated each year on October 31. Festivals, parties and trick-or-treating all create the fun and sugar-high collection kids accumulate from mall stores handing out candy to neighbors dispensing treats into plastic pumpkins and Halloween bags.

trickortreat1Each Halloween, moms are busy helping the little ones select just the perfect costume. Ballerinas, cowboys, politicians, celebrities, witches and others adorn the night landscape as little munchkins go door-to-door in search of sweets.

pumpkin11Houses are decorated with carved pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts and witches. Spooky lightening and scary music, haunted houses and carnivals all contribute to the fun of the holiday for kids, and many grown ups as well. Parties, and traditions such as bobbing for apples, have existed for decades.

witch11According to some historians, Halloween had a religious beginning and trick-or-treating did not become a widespread practice until the 1930s. The first U.S. printed appearance of the term was in 1934, and the first use in a national publication didn’t occur until 1939. Haunted attractions in the United States, many operated as fund raisers by philanthropic organizations, bring in an estimate $300–500 million each year, and draw some 400,000 customers.