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Earth Hour Has Gone Global. Be Part of '09 - March 28

The Consumer is not an Idiot - She's Your Wife

Eyes on the world Ok, so the title of this post comes from a quote by David Ogilvy, as mentioned in this NY Times article, "Marketing to Women, With Firsthand Experience."

The article is about the Omnicom Group in NY and their new consultancy "to help marketers reach women." Ok, gag me with a spoon. I'm sorry - it's 2009 and they're just getting around to the realization that women rule? That your consumer is your wife? That women are the movers and shakers of the entire world?

Well, isn't that nice? Here's another good quote from the article (brace yourself), "I don't think marketers truly recognize the influence women have in categories like automobiles, health care and home improvement," said Ruthie Winig, senior vice president and account director at Frank About Women, based in Winston-Salem, N.C."

OMG! All due respect, Ruthie, the 'news' that women are into automobiles and health care and home improvement has been broadcast on this blog and many others for almost five years now!!! If the marketing world isn't listening to us, the REAL women who buy their clients' products...not the celebrities on WOWOWOW channel...or the women at the head table at dozens of marketing events playing chair service to the concept (offering a woman in their industry a seat at the table, just to have a woman there)...or the brands buying into the "we've come a long way baby" idea, with their heads stuck in the long, lost days of Dick and Jane--

who are they listening to?

If this 'consultancy is so important, just means the news that REAL women rock has been falling on deaf ears, I guess. Because the REAL women, the ones the bloggers talk to and with, like ones who comment on blog posts written by women in the know about the perpetuation of inequality in The-world-is-women advertising (oh, please, Linda, if you didn't have the power to be in the picture, instead of an afterthought sitting at some man's elbow - who is leaning away from you - what's up with that?-  just go home) have been talking about marketing to women for a loooonnnggg time.

Clearly, marketing firms haven't been listening to the REAL women of the U.S. - women like Obama's White House panel (created to support the kind of real women we need more of in this country - women like Obama's grandmother and mother - both strong, intelligent women who raised their kids right, who weren't afraid of hard work and living within their means, real women who taught their sons and daughters how to excel with pride and expectation) precisely because they have been listening to each other. What a geat cacaphony that must be!

Why are major marketing firms suddenly 'aware' or becoming aware of the power of the purse - to quote from Susan B. Anthony? I'll tell you why - because the blogopshere and Twitter have amplified women's voices to the sound of a roar - and they know it's only going to get louder. They're afraid. Afraid women will go on without their help. (and we us)

Andrea Learned, Michele MillerToby Bloomberg, Holly Buchanan, the gals of SheSpeaks and Blogher and Twitter Moms; these are the voices of real women. These gals are connected to the REAL women out there. The ones Omnicom and Ketchum and all the rest WISH they were connected to.

So, hey, when I read articles about some big marketing firm talking up marketing to women, creating a whole consultancy around the women's market -- because, after all, "the consumer is not an idiot, she's your wife" makes me see red. THIS IS SO NOT NEWS, just ask the gals linked here! 


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This quote originated from the 1960s, was completely true then and related to the ridiculously sexist advertising at the time that was patronizing and silly and treated women like, well, idiots. David Ogilvy is an icon in marketing -- I was learning this stuff in early 1980s advertising classes. I suspect the quote will eventually make itself into a Mad Men script -- it was just that fundamental.


Awesome entry, Yvonne. Excellent comments as well. Thank you.

Jan Riley

Did I miss the birth of a new species or something?
I have been under the distinct impression that women have existed since - well - the beginning of human kind. WOW, I guess it's taken a while for big ad agencies to notice our important role in commerce and (most likely) civilization.

Imagine that.

No wonder they haven't been able to figure out how to sell to us.
Ad guys - Here is a hint: Stop trying to sell us crap that's perfumed and start listening to what we want, after all - we do make 85% of buying decisions.

but then again, you should already know that if you have ever been married.
Great blog, I just found it and really enjoyed both the posts and the comments!

Yvonne DiVita

@piglet - one surmises that you did not read the post - or you just skimmed it. "I" did not say the quote. It was taken from a NY Times article quoting David Ogilvy.

Thanks for coming by.


"The Consumer is not an Idiot - She's Your Wife"

That quote is way older than 2009 - it is the flagpost of modern marketing, it pinpoints what marketing agencies should strive for. Sell it like you're selling it to your own, be it your wife or your husband. The reason it says "wife" is that women are more discerning when it comes to brands - a man will grab any washing powder from the shelf, while a woman will evaluate all the options and base what she buys on personal experience, what her friends say and, of course, good advertising ;)

Get your facts straight

Yvonne DiVita

@Ruth - thank you so much for coming to join the conversation here.

I'm confused, however... aren't you tired of quoting the 85% stat? Don't we have new content to share...can't we tell reporters to do their homework and come to us for fresh, innovative insights about the women's market?

We're partners, here. I am willing to support your work and your findings, if you have new research to share. I'm here to make sure folks know about the best M2W sites around... to provide the best insight on the net - from the best women reporting it.

Never mind "major media"... as you said, word of mouth is where it's at. Between all of us - we can make this a powerful movement - showing not only the reach of our economic power as women in charge, but the depth of our willingness to work together to get the recognition we deserve.

How can we fail?

Ruth E. Winig

Thank you for quoting me in your blog. I’ve long been a fan of – As I said to the New York Times reporter, “I don't think marketers truly recognize the influence women have in categories like automobiles, health care and home improvement.” – I maintain what I said. Our research shows that over 68% of women say, “Marketers just don’t understand me.” Additionally, our research (and that of other agencies) shows that nearly 85% of all purchase decisions are led by women. And though it may not be news to us –professional marketing to women executives, it remains a significant business equation (even to brands such as Lennox, a global HVAC company who spent years marketing their services to men, only to learn in recent years that women were driving purchase decisions for their products.) As long as the problem is self identified by female consumers –then we M2W experts must continue to engage and educate the media in our efforts. The power of word of mouth and social marketing lies in the reality that one persons “old news” is another persons’ newfound discovery.

Yvonne DiVita

Hey girl friends - let's get this roar even louder! Let's make sure those ad agencies really hear us! Let's do what we should have done in the beginning - let's partner in the future and let them stew in their disbelief!


Five years ago, they missed the marketing to women revolution and now they are missing the "women buy green stuff" revolution. DUHHHHHH!!!! Guess we'll have to wait another 5 years for them to figure that one out as well.

Michele Price


I am so glad I found you on Twitter. I LOVE your perspective and am heading there to toot your horn.

Thank you for saying out loud what we have all been thinking and feeling for some time.

How about stop using all those skinny models telling me that is sexy. My man likes his "brickhouse" giggle and I feel good in my skin.

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