August 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
The new “Ghostbusters” opened this summer to rave reviews and high attendance. It deserves a round of applause for its boldness and all-star female cast including (left to right at top) Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones.
It’s a little overdue for the new trend to put women in the lead roles in movies. Because – women bought 50% of all movie tickets in the U.S. last year according to the MPAA. National CineMedia (NCM) reports the Millennial women 18-34 movie audience jumped 61% from 2013 to 2016, while women 18-49 also increased by 42%. Also, NCM’s ratings for women 18-34 jumped from 6.2 to 9.2 against the top 15 television networks. That’s a 48% surge in ratings growth since 2014 — with significant increases year over year.
Much of this growth is due to the success of movies like “Bridesmaids”, “The Help”, “Hunger Games” and “Star Wars”. The first “Hunger Games” movie blew the doors off the box office, bringing in $408MM+. The following year, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was breaking records and finding itself atop the heap as the No. 1 film of the year ($424MM+). Last year, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” introduced a new female hero in Rey (Daisy Ridley), while giving homage to General Leia Organa (formerly Princess Leia) as both a leader and a mother. Broadening the movie’s box office appeal by having such a strong draw for multiple generations of women — and providing role models for young girls — was certainly a factor in its huge success. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is now the high-grossing movie of all time, with over $936MM+ in domestic box office alone. Even if Disney left female actions figures out of the line-up until social media highlighted the omission.
Once again, women are leading the way in consumer purchases from everything from household items to entertainment. Hollywood seems to have embraced the power of strong women characters in movies.
So what’s next? Rebecca Eldridge from NCM gives us a little preview: “In 2017, look out for a highly-anticipated live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the comedy “Mother/Daughter” starring Amy Schumer (possibly joined by Goldie Hawn in her first movie since 2002), “Fast 8” featuring Charlize Theron making waves as the sole villain, and more. And looking even farther ahead, there are all-female versions of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “21 Jump Street” in the works, a remake of the cult favorite “Road House” with Ronda Rousey in the role made iconic by Patrick Swayze, and a girl-power spinoff of “Suicide Squad” featuring many of the female heroes and villains of DC Comics.”
Marketers, now is a great time to look to cinema advertising to meet your consumer where they play – at the movies.
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
Neilsen research shows there are significant differences in how men and women think, react, shop and watch. Understanding how these differences can drive behavior can help marketers create more effective advertising and marketing campaigns. Something Super Bowl 50 advertising clearly illustrated.
A Look at the Super Bowl 50 Ads
This year many of the ads appealed directly to women featuring racing dachshunds (my favorite), Doritos shopping dogs, Super Bowl babies and Hyundai’s spots featuring first dates and distracting men. Spot Trender did interesting research comparing several spots for gender appeal.
In a head to head playoff with Hyundai and Acura, Hyundai did a better job. The Hyundai spot featuring Ryan Reynolds showed a car that didn’t get distracted like the women driving it. Women loved this spot. But a few men (13%) were offended by it, or maybe just a little jealous of Reynolds. Acura’s “What He Said” ad for the Acura NSX was all rock music, special effects and speed. It was liked less than the Hyundai ad by both genders but clearly less than females.
The Death Wish coffee spot featured Vikings in a masculine approach to advertising coffee, even using the line “fiercely caffeinated”. The spot did well with men but the Starbucks ad showing a mom making her Starbucks on a lazy weekend morning did much better with women and did well with men as well.
Contrasts in Men and Women Brains
Nielsen says that while male and female brains may look alike on the outside, there are contrasts in how men and women process information, express emotion, interact with others and ultimately approach their daily activities that involve media and shopping.
Women are hardwired for:
- Big-picture thinking
- “Gut” reasoning
- Social and verbal skills
Men are preconditioned for:
- Concrete thinking
- Goal-oriented tasks
- Logical solutions
Differences in Advertising Appeal
When looking at advertising, women under 35 like ads that are upbeat, aspirational, celebrity-focused, occasionally silly, but never mean-spirited. Women 35-54 may respond more favorably to messages that are sentimental, highlight real-life activities, family friendly and relatable. Men are looking for fast acting movement, competitive activities and often, sadly, suggestive humor.
Tying this together, we see shopping patterns emerge. Men are goal-oriented shoppers. They shop to win or complete a goal. Women are more likely to browse around and shop for deals and special offers. Research says women are more attuned to discount and promotional news than men (men 57% vs. women 62%). Women might head to a factory outlet with name brands while men might go to the department store and pay full price. A few years ago, J.C. Penney learned an expensive lesson on the importance of promotions when they eliminated sales, promotions and coupons and drove away their core audience.
Marketing should employ creative elements and styles that resonate with the way the female brain works. Emotion wins the day over logical facts every time. That doesn’t mean women don’t want information; they will seek out the information after they become interested. Women also appreciate authenticity, social consciousness, and nuance. The female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging shouldn’t focus on conflict.
“Women relate to a more aspirational approach, connecting with happy situations that feature characters who allow a woman to imagine herself in their shoes,” says the report. Men like the offbeat humor embodied by “normal guys” in exaggerated situations.
Frequency of advertising also plays into gender receptivity. Women can absorb more information in a 30-second ad than men but they are harder to convince, often only deciding to buy after multiple exposures.
February 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
Disney seemed to think that only boys want action figures so our new crush Rey was left out of the toy line-up for the newest Star Wars movie. Guess those toy makers forgot who buys toys for their children. The dominant toy shopper is female. A social media campaign brought the omission to light, so now you can buy Rey toys.
We asked Girls To The Moon founder Courtenay Rogers her take on the Star Wars Rey and here’s what she offered.
“I’m extremely late to the Star Wars bandwagon. Like, over 30 years late.
My brother saw all of the movies when we were kids but I had no interest in watching movies so I missed the excitement the first time around, though we had every toy imaginable in our house. I never really got around to watching the famous movies until I realized my daughter wanted to see them so we decided to spend some quality time understanding what the fuss was all about.
The “original” three movies were very intriguing to watch, especially from an 8-year old’s perspective. She couldn’t stop talking about how old fashioned they were and even at 37, the difference between cinematography in the late 1970’s and 1980’s amazed me. The plots were interesting and the stories were compelling, but I didn’t end up a huge Star Wars fan. But then we saw the 7th film, The Force Awakens.
This movie is exceptional and my absolute favorite part is the addition of Rey, who is basically the main character (in my opinion) and made such an impression on me that I want to watch all of the movies again. Rey is a badass. Plain and simple. She is strong, intelligent, driven, powerful and independent. She is everything I strive to be and everything I want my daughter to strive for as she grows up. Yet, when merchandise started appearing to promote the movie and even after it was released, Rey was nowhere to be found.
A set of Hasbro figurines that were created to coincide with the release of the film didn’t include the heroine and fans took to social media to express their outrage. The #WheresRey hashtag on Twitter took off, targeted at figurines that includes Chewbacca, Finn and Kylo Ren but excludes Rey, the female protagonist of the film played by Daisy Ridley. The film’s director JJ Abrams even joined the conversation saying that this was “preposterous and wrong” while addressing the Television Critic’s Association in early January.
Forbes reports that “the assumption underlying each of these promotional choices discounts women’s buying power. Earlier this year, the MPAA released its annual breakdown of movie audience demographics, revealing that women constituted 52% of moviegoers in 2014. This trend, the study further explains, has prevailed since 2010. And though the highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada skewed 59 percent male with Guardians of the Galaxy, the second-place position went to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, whose audience was 57 percent female. And the movie was fronted by a woman. Since Star Wars — also featuring a female lead — is expected to break all kinds of records in a year that’s seen more than a few flops, it’s a fair guess that women will be a large part of the audience.” Read the full article here.
I’m officially a Star Wars convert solely because of Rey and I hope to see many more characters like this one on the big screen. She’s a wonderful role model for young girls and older girls alike, and she deserves the same amount of fanfare as the rest of the characters in the film. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, get some friends together and make a girl’s night out of it. You will leave feeling like you can save the universe, all by yourself.”
February 11, 2016 § 2 Comments
Here’s Dawn Boulanger’s take on how the Super Bowl scored with women.
The Super Bowl 50 match-up between the Broncos and Panthers drew an estimated 111.9 million viewers – the second- highest rated Super Bowl in history. According to Nielsen, 47% of viewers in 2015 were women. If we assume the same viewing patterns this year, 53 million of those watching on Sunday were women – that’s more women than will watch the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined!
Women drive the consumer market – they influence the majority of purchases across all categories and they do the majority of social media sharing. Despite their influence, advertisers have historically used the big game to market to men. Past years’ commercial critiques have included the lack of targeting of women and the use of sexist stereotypes to sell products.
There seemed to be some creative change in this year’s Super Bowl spots with advertisers getting smarter about who’s watching, who’s sharing and with an actual attempt at connecting with these powerful female consumers.
Here are a few of the spots that have received positive comments for their representation of women, the use of empowerment in their messaging and their understanding of the target audience.
- Budweiser Ad, Simply Put – Budweiser uses Helen Mirren to send a strong warning against drinking and driving.
- Mini, Defy Labels – Mini Cooper uses powerful celebrities such as Serena Williams to challenge the use of labels and stereotypes.
- Hyundai, Ryanville – with the use of Ryan Reynolds clones and women drivers, Hyundai clearly targeted the female audience.
- No More, Domestic Violence PSA – a powerful message to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
Super Bowl 51 is a long way away – maybe by then we will have figured out Mountain Dews’ PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial!
February 10, 2016 § 1 Comment
Definitions of gender are becoming more blurred in today’s society as two-thirds of young adults say their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like.
In the past year, the Oxford Dictionary adopted the gender-neutral prefix Mx. and Seattle embraced gender-neutral public bathrooms, while Pantone singled out gender-neutral colors in its latest color-trend report. Transgender narratives are both in real life (Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox) and onscreen (Transparent, The Danish Girl). Culture has begun to shift away from binary notions of gender.
Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, is breaking down gender norms by sporting skirts for Louis Vuitton’s Spring womenswear collection. Louis Vuitton’s press release says Jaden “represents a generation that has assimilated the codes of true freedom; wearing a skirt comes as naturally to him as it would to a woman.”
Miley Cyrus has called herself gender fluid. She says “I didn’t want to be a boy. I kind of wanted to be nothing. I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate, it’s the box that I get put into.” Eddie Redmayne introduces us anew to the gender identification struggle of artist Einar Wegener in the movie The Danish Girl.
The 2013 Cassandra Gender report found that 60% of people between the ages of 14 and 34 think gender lines are blurred and nearly two-thirds of the group say their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like. The survey reveals that “gender is less of a definer of identity today than it was for prior generations. Rather than adhering to traditional gender roles, young people are interpreting what gender means to them personally.”
A January 2015 poll by media company Fusion found that among Americans aged 18–34, 50% believe gender exists on a spectrum, while just 46% believe there are only two genders.
What does it mean for marketers? Marketers can choose to acknowledge it and show this generation that they get it in their language and offerings.
Gender neutral, inclusive language has become more correct. People who do not identify as male or female prefer the pronoun “they,” rather than “he” or “she.” Rather than saying congressman, you would refer to a legislator. The “common man” becomes the average person. A policeman is now a police officer.
Unisex is a more prolific offering. Vivienne Westwood created a unisex collection for autumn/winter 2015–2016 as did Alexander Blanc, whose male and female models even swapped clothes on the runway during Cape Town Fashion Week in 2014. Harrods and Target groups toys by theme rather than male or female. Models like Elliott Sailors, Rain Dove, and Erika Linder are carrying out runway careers as menswear models.
Facebook now has 58 different gender descriptions including agender, androgyne, gender fluid, trans female, trans male, trans person, cisgender, and two-spirit . Some brands like Louis Vuitton are embracing transgender and androgynous models for their campaigns.
Even names are becoming less gender specific. Popular gender-neutral names in 2015 included Carson, Amari, Karter, Sawyer, River, Rory, and Phoenix.
July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
A new Harvard Business School study should eliminate “working mom guilt”. Moms who work outside the home may be doing something really positive for their children. And that’s a good thing since nearly three-quarters of American mothers with children at home are employed.
The study reports daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, hold supervisory positions, and earn more money than daughters of non-employed moms. In the United States, daughters of working moms earned 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers.
The working paper (pdf) published June 19 by the Harvard Business School also found that working moms also had a statistically significant effect on their sons. The sons are more likely to spend time caring for family members and doing household chores than are sons of stay-at-home moms. In fact, the sons here in the U.S. spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 minutes more on homework. The study did not show an influence on the careers of sons because there has always been an expectation for men to work outside the home.
We working moms seem to impart different attitudes towards gender roles to our children which have an impact on their attitudes towards work and home life. The researchers found that 33% of daughters of working mothers held supervisory roles, compared to only 25% of daughters of stay-at-home moms.
While the mommy wars may continue on some level, it is clear that having a working mothers has economic, educational and social benefits for children of both sexes.