The Bully and The Honest Business Woman
A Woman's Prerogative

Your Customer: Emily Hartley or Lucy Ricardo?

ImagesBy Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

The recent death of Suzanne Pleshette, one of my favorite actresses, jogged my memory of The Bob Newhart Show back in the 1970s. I loved the show  - and I loved Ms. Pleshette's character, Emily Hartley.

But, why did I like Emily Hartley so much? For most of the series run, I was a teenager living in Hobbs, NM.  Why would a young girl, living in the very flat, very wide open spaces,  enjoy a sit-com about a Chicago psychologist who lives in a high-rise with his wife?

Well, aside from the fact that Bob Newhart would be hysterical reading a phone book - Emily Hartley was both fun and encouraging to watch.  She seemed real.  Happily married, yet independent.  Smart yet  low-key.  Secure in her (gorgeous) femininity but most definitely not the little woman and not obsessed with her looks.  She never had to 'splain' to Bob about anything. She was a supporting character but not second class.   

Images2 Then there was I Love Lucy, which I grew up watching.  Lucy Ricardo made me cringe, even as a child, as I watched her wahh-wahhhing and 'splainin' to Ricky.   Lucy was the lead character but - as the little woman - she had to answer to Ricky, who on more than occasion put her over his knee!  Happily married?  Well, maybe by early 1950s television standards. I know if my Dad had ever tried that with my Mom, he would have been on the curb in about two seconds.

Lucy was wah-wahhhing way back in the '50s and Emily Hartley last appeared in 1979, nearly 30 years ago.

Yet, many companies still market to Lucy, not Emily. Housewife? She must obsess about clean floors.  Married?  The man must make the financial decisions.  Pretty?  She must be more concerned about wrinkles and shoes than loan terms.  And so on.

Now, granted there are women who are empty-headed and who abdicate responsibility to "the big brave man" - but if that's your target market, you'd better be happy with flat-line revenues.  And be prepared to be dissed and ignored by millions of Emily Hartleys. 

Happy Friday!  I think I'll pop over to Amazon and see if I can get that boxed set of The Bob Newhart Show.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Lena West


This post is so dead on.

If my Dad had tried any of that Ricky Ricardo stuff, he would have been down the block on the curb!

I'm not even married and the other day I went into a restaurant where I usually go with my S.O.

A lady who works there asked about my S.O. I told her he was parking the car. I thought she was just being kind. Then she asked me if I had permission to place my order without him.

Say what??!?!?!

You read that right, she asked me if I could place MY order without him.

I'm never at a loss for words, but this did it. Damn, are some of us *still* there?


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)