by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia
I'm not sure how I get away with it, but most of my posts to this blog are not directly related to marketing to women -- per se -- I'll chalk that up to having a rockin' editor <wink>. But, this post is different...
Note: if you are a male (or female, for that matter) and you're sensitive about even the smallest hint of talk about "women's bodies", you might want to check out now...
Gone? Ok, let's get on with it...
Let me start by saying that I think the U.S. (and other countries, too, but the U.S. is where I reside so I'll stick to what I know) says it values and respects women, but if you look even slightly below the surface, it's patently clear that as a country, community and consumers, we don't.
Case in point...Vagisil.
Vagisil is a feminine hygeine product; let's just say that their products help address concerns of a feminine nature and leave it at that.
They have a commercial in which some of the many challenges that women have with their bodies are portrayed in a very negative light. They even go so far as to show an attractive woman looking at a "reflection" of herself in the mirror, only the reflection is not an accurate representation of her. In reality, she's dressed in a smart sweater set and skirt, but how she sees herself in the mirror when she's having "feminine problems" is someone dressed in baggy, lifeless clothing - who appears damn-near homeless. Talk about feeding into and promoting the self image issues that already plague many women.
They then go on to attempt to show that Vagisil is the solution for this "homeless", "vagabond" self-esteem problem. Ja, ja, ja, right. *humph* But, here's what takes the cake:
The tagline promoted in the commercial is:
100% woman. 100% of the time.
So, what exactly are you trying to tell women here? That the minute we experience perfectly NORMAL health challenges with our bodies - because, oh...we give BIRTH, we have different HORMONES, we have a MENSTRUAL cycle (yeah, I said it!) - that we're homeless, shells of women?
I can't speak for all women, but if you want ME to purchase your product don't send me the message that normal health issues make me less than a woman ANY percentage of the time.
Bottomline: Some people might say that this is just a commercial, but to me, it's these kinds of nuanced, underhanded, slick, borderline subliminal messages that companies fold into their marketing and advertising that chip away at the collective self-esteeem and perceived worth of women -- and I won't have any of it.
Have you ever seen an ad or a commercial that made you think, "what exactly are you trying to say, here?" What was it?