Super Bowl 50 Ads. Proof Women Respond Differently.

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.

UnknownIn 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.

INTUIT-Death-Wish-Coffee-720x415 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.

Gender Differences

Women are hardwired for:

  • Big-picture thinking
  • Multi-tasking
  • “Gut” reasoning
  • Social and verbal skills
  • Worry/Empathy

Men are preconditioned for:

  • Concrete thinking
  • Goal-oriented tasks
  • Logical solutions
  • Competition/defense

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.



Marketing to Women: Your Elevator Speech in 15 Seconds

April 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

photoI was cleaning up my office today (yes, that is my real office), and I came across a Forbes article and video that really impressed upon me the importance of cleaning up our brand pitch to market to women, or any customers.  Our messaging becomes a little bit like my office.  Crammed with things that were important at the time but have hung around too long.  Impossible to relate to anyone in less than minute.

I love the simplicity of being able to explain your business in one succinct phrase that differentiates you from your competition.  Clean, Compelling, Concise.

So in the spirit of cleaning up our brands, here are some steps to create your elevator speech:

Step One.  Create a Twitter-friendly headline that answers the question, “What is the single most important thing that I want my listener to know about my brand, product, service or idea?”  Now this is excellent advice because if you can’t explain it in 140 characters, I probably can’t absorb it in 15 seconds.  This exercise forces you to practice the art of sacrifice for the purpose of communication.  A great headline will also give voice to differentiation and end benefits.  Here are some great examples in addition to the video.

The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families.

Wal-Mart saves people money to they can live better.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Coca-Cola wants to refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and create value.

AT&T wants to to connect people with their world, everywhere they live and work, and do it better than anyone else.

Starbucks is out to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.

Tom’s says we’re transforming everyday purchases into a force for good around the world. One for One.®

Step Two.  Support the headline with three key benefits.  Three is the perfect number.  For some reason, our minds can remember three ideas, but struggles with more.  The Power of Three.  As a child, everything we learned seemed to be centered around three — A,B,C; 1,2,3; Three blind mice, Three musketeers, Trinity, and the three wise men.  Aristotle even knew the power of three and wrote about it in his book Rhetoric.  So what are the three most compelling support ideas for your brand.

Step Three.  Reinforce the three benefits with stories, statistics or examples.  These are the bullet points that more fully explain your benefits.  And yes, all of it should fit on a single page.

I use this type of process in getting to the core identity of brands for clients. When you look back at the examples I used in step one, you see that the USO doesn’t say it runs centers for troops, Wal-Mart doesn’t talk about physical stores, and Google doesn’t talk about search engines.  Your business must be explained in such a consumer beneficial manner that it allows you the bandwidth to provide that benefit in a variety of ways.  That’s why Starbucks doesn’t say it is a coffee shop; they have always explained themselves as the third place in your life – after home and work.

Try this exercise for your business.  Let me know how it goes.  And send my a picture of your messy office.  Maybe it will make me feel a little bit better.

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