What is going on? I think I’m back in the ‘60s when smart companies didn’t know any better than to make their products pink for women and think they were done. But we are in 2009 and things have changed, at least for most companies. Mars candy bars and Dell’s Della website for women apparently don’t understand many of their customers at all.
Like hundreds, probably thousands of women (and men), I was horrified when I first saw Dell computer’s new website for women dubbed Della. It was condescending at best. I couldn’t believe anyone in today’s competitive marketplace would make such a blatant misstep in regards to marketing to women. If they wanted to set themselves apart, they certainly did that. Additionally, they garnered lots of internet buzz about their tech tips including using your Dell to count calories and store recipes. They were quick to respond to a deluge of criticism, which is, of course, in their favor. However, much of the damage was already done.
They aren’t the only ones regressing. Mars candy bar launched their first new product in 20 years with a pink wrapper called Fling. Besides pink, the sexual overtones are substantial from their describing the bar as a “finger” to their “pleasure yourself” clearly printed on the label. While the taste has gotten rave reviews, I think the packaging is a turnoff to many, including me. And that’s saying a lot since I’m an admitted chocoholic.
I hope no one else is planning to introduce new products, services or websites aimed at attracting women with pink or other out-of-date practices. Today’s women are highly educated, savvy shoppers, confident businesswomen and chief purchasing agents for their families. They spend $.85 of every dollar, accounting for $2 trillion annually. Women are not a niche market, but the most important consumer to the continuing success for more than 95% of all businesses.
Think when planning your next product or campaign, but not in Pink!