One for the girls?

So I’m in the corner store buying some ‘Kinder Eggs’ for my child’s birthday party. In attendance will be 6 girls and 9 boys. I load up my basket with 6 pink eggs and 5 blue eggs. Short of 4 blue eggs, I ask the shop assistant if she has any more. No. So I unload all the eggs and put them back on the shelf.

This marketing lesson is known as ‘how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory through the clumsy use of over-targeting’. Live by the sword, die by the sword, Kinder morons.

It seems there is no category that’s safe from this opportunistic, shortsighted sexism. Just when you thought we had reached peak patronization levels, Cosmopolitan surpassed itself with the launch of a car (in collaboration with Seat) that’s been designed ‘just for you’ (and by ‘you’, they mean ‘you women’). The collaboration that led to the Seat Mii was top secret until its launch this month. This silence, reads the nauseating PR blurb from Seat, ‘…was torture, considering how much we love a good goss!’ (Because us women love nothing more than being told our defining feature is a love of frivolous, bitchy chatter).

As you can imagine, the whole thing has gone down like a pink plastic cup of cold sick.

Clearly, it’s disappointing that people think this kind of misogynistic idiocy is not only OK, but also good businesses sense. But it’s downright bizarre that people have forgotten we’ve been here before. Marketing history is littered with the carcasses of similar idiotic over-targeted ideas. Can we really believe that absolutely no one in either the Seat or Cosmopolitan teams could remember Bic for Her?  (PS If you haven’t spent an entire working day reading through the reviews on Amazon, you haven’t lived). Could nobody recollect the ridicule that greeted Harriet Harman’s gaudy pink bus? Apparently memories are short in the marketing world.

Look here, Cosmo, Kinder and Bic – it’s quite simple. Just because a product category is conceived for or dominated by men doesn’t mean that women need their own fluffy pink version of it. Whilst it may be true that building affinity with your audience is a good idea, refraining from insulting them is vital.

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