Big Advertising Budgets. Itty Bitty Minds.

Dear Dr. Pepper, VW and other small-minded advertisers:

Look. I realize the economy’s bad. Spending is down. You’ve got to be inventive to boost sales. But courting men at the expense of your female consumers isn’t just stupid, it’s bad business.

I’m not sure how it escaped your notice, but according to sources like Girlpower Marketing, women now control 85 percent of the purchasing decisions in the United States. That adds up to more than $7 trillion in spending. That’s more than the GDP of Japan.

What’s more, more than 30 percent of us now out-earn our husbands. I know I do.

So hyper-macho campaigns designed to rally men around the penis pole?  Are just guaranteed to piss off a lot of your best customers.

Dr. Pepper, I think maybe you were just trying to be funny. I think maybe you thought you could one-up the Old Spice guy. But this?

Is just stupid. Every time I see it, I want to throw things at the TV screen. And not only will I never allow Dr. Pepper 10 in my house, I won’t even drink the regular stuff when I’m out at a restaurant anymore.

And I’m not the only one. I’ve talked to lots of women who feel exactly the same way (a few of whom urged me to write this rant).

And as for you, VW? Well, I’m just straight-up disappointed in you. You’re usually so smart. So egalitarian. Your commercials make me smile—and, more often than not, wish I had written them.

So when I read about your new New Beetle campaign—the one with the print ad featuring the “It’s A Boy” headline, I was confused. The last New Beetle was one of the most beloved cars of my generation. I know I loved mine to death—even while it was costing me thousands of dollars in repairs.

Yeah, it was a “girl car.” But you know what? There are more women than men in this country. And, again according to Girlpower Marketing (as well as other sources), we make almost 70 percent of the car purchasing decisions.

So why the heck are you trying to make it a man’s car? You had a home run the last time around. I highly doubt those testosterone-addled men in their mid-30s that you’re after will ever be the brand evangelists that we women we were.

I hope that you both come to understand the ridiculousness of your current brand position in short order. And that you get back to work creating campaigns that we can all love.

Because the era of Mad Men? Is gone for good. Get with the program, people.


One Disappointed Former Customer

Amber Page

9 Comments on Big Advertising Budgets. Itty Bitty Minds.

  1. Jen {at} take2mommy
    November 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm (4 years ago)

    This was a brilliant post. I haven’t seen the Dr. Pepper commercial yet, but I’m sure I’d be pissed off if I did. I love Dr. Pepper. I mean, I used to love Dr. Pepper…

    • Amber
      November 10, 2011 at 8:47 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, Dr. Pepper has always been my go to when faced with the choice between that and Pepsi products. But, while I remain pissed off enough, I guess I’ll have to resort to sprite.

  2. Gail
    November 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm (4 years ago)

    Besides the obvious sexism…it is just a really.stupid.commercial. I wonder if someone lost a bet, like in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

    • Amber
      November 10, 2011 at 8:46 am (4 years ago)

      Oh I bet the creative team behind this thought they were brilliant. Still thinks they are brilliant. And probably can’t believe they got away with this. Strange things happen to your brain in the creative brainstorming room. I also bet they’re men.

  3. Rebecca
    November 10, 2011 at 10:31 am (4 years ago)

    Yeah, I think they should push to make their marketing more for women because women do what women want…men do what pleases women.

  4. Kristin
    November 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Good for you Amber! That Dr. Pepper commercial is demeaning. I swear they say “sissy drinks.”

  5. Scott
    November 17, 2011 at 3:32 am (4 years ago)

    Really? You find that offensive?
    Shouldn’t you find EVERY SINGLE AD involving women offensive?
    EVERY SINGLE AD shows that women do nothing but shop. They care about nothing but shopping. They love to clean. Their existance is cleaning, except when they’re shopping.
    How do you not “throw things” at the TV when you see those?

    The Dr. Pepper ad is a good one. It sells the 10 to men.

    The beetle wasn’t a “home run”, it was a disaster in sales. They are trying to capture more of a market. The car sold well to women because they buy on looks. Since the look is the same they still get those sales. Now they want to add the men that buy for other reasons. It’s a good strategy.

    • Amber
      November 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh, Scott. I’m glad you like it. You are a man, after all. But, as a man, are you only interested in blowing things up and chasing women? I know for a fact that you’re not. Stereotypes abound in advertising. It’s how things are done. I just find advertising in such a way as to alienate 85 percent of your purchasers completely stupid. Every single ad does not depict women that way – I can think of quite a few off the top of my head that don’t. National Rent A Car, Subaru, Chrysler…the list goes on.

      At any rate, just because something “has always been that way” doesn’t give marketers permission to take things back even further.

      But we live in a democracy. For the moment anyway. So I’m entitled to my opinion and you to yours. Long live the first amendment. And the Department of Education. And, and… well, I could keep going. But we disagree on a lot of things. And I think that’s healthy.


Leave a reply to Gail Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *