Tag Archives: Connection

Do Super Bowl Advertisers Get Female Humor?

By Crystal Markowski

In recent years there has been conversation around Super Bowl ads and their disregard for female audiences. Regardless of how sexist, crude, awesome, or ridiculous you think Super Bowl spots are, one thing is certain. Women are making up a larger portion of viewership for the NFL, and some advertisers are paying more attention to this growing audience.

While previewing the ads online (yes, you can do that now!), I was pleased to see one that was clearly targeted towards women. However, at the end of Dannon’s 30 second spot, my pleasure turned to disappointment. I had no laugh, not even an “I’m giggling in my head” reaction. The basic formula for the ad was to show a sexy man and sprinkle in some slapstick comedy. Though it was intended for women, this spot didn’t seem to actually consider women and how our sense of humor works.

To get their message across, advertisers shouldn’t just create an ad that shows a woman. They need to create one that speaks to her in her own language. Humor that appeals to a woman lets her laugh in an inclusive way. For her it’s about connecting through shared experiences and being able to say, “Oh! That happens to me too!” This weekend I’m hoping to see other female-targeted commercials that do a better job of connecting to women.

Tell us what you think. Does this spot get your sense of humor?

Trends for 2012: A Balancing Act

By Crystal Markowski

Each year for the past several years, advertising agency JWT has released a report on 100 trends to watch in the coming year. Many of these trends are fueled by new technologies (or new applications of current technologies) that alter the way we shop or do business. To get my 2012 started, I was curious to know what JWT had on their radar. What trends should I be watching for, what types of experiences will consumers want, and how will this all impact how we shop? After reading through the list, I started to realize that some trends on the list existed solely to balance out the effects of other trends. Seems odd, right? Allow me to explain.

One of JWT’s trends for 2012 is “Objectifying Objects,” meaning as our worlds become more digital, we will start to value and hang on to the old tangibles. (Think of those who just can’t trade paperbacks for an eReader. They say, “There’s just something so satisfying in turning a page.”) As technology pushes us further into the future of consumer goods, many of us start to feel as if some part of the experience has gone missing. Another example of a counter-trend is “Reengineering Randomness.” What is this trend you ask? According to JWT, we are narrowing ourselves into a smaller range of content, interactions, and experiences because technology has allowed us to customize our worlds. Companies like Ticketmaster and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are exploring the possibilities of using social media to allow for “Social Seating.” In the not so distant future, KLM may allow plane passengers to select their seats based on other passengers’ social media profiles. Because we have control over so many of our interactions, we now need ways to randomize our lives again. As a reaction, a company called Airtime is “reengineering randomness” by offering users the thrill of connecting via real-time video chat with complete strangers. In 2012 we will seek ways to allow for randomness, new perspectives, and new discovery beyond what we’ve selected for ourselves.

Why are we allowing trends to propel us in one direction, then, developing ways to undo the affects? One thing we can take from this is the importance of understanding the emotional role certain experiences play in consumers’ lives. While everyone can benefit from the conveniences of technology, this doesn’t mean consumers want everything to be streamlined all the time. We shouldn’t forget that consumers seek connection by nature. Consider the times when your customers are best served by automation or customization, but don’t discount the times when they want to preserve a feeling from their past. Finding the right opportunities to provide conveniences without completely losing organic, human experiences might mean the best possible scenario for your consumers.

She posts…therefore, she is?

Women who base their self-worth on their appearance and other external factors share more photos online and maintain larger networks on online social networking sites, according to a study published this spring. The lead researcher Michael A. Stefanone, of the University of Buffalo was quoted as saying that it was disappointing to him that “… in the year 2011 so many young women continue to assert their self worth via their physical appearance — in this case, by posting photos of themselves on Facebook as a form of advertisement.

I do think that appearance can be a major factor in many women’s self-esteem and focus, but in my mind, everyone on Facebook (and most of social media, for that matter) is “attention seeking” and seeking positive reinforcement. It’s just a question of degree. I mean, isn’t Facebook all about external validation? We all enjoy when we post something that gets a big response. We’re putting ourselves out there, opening up some part of our lives and it feels good when that is validated. So, while these women in the study may post more or invest more time in Facebook, I don’t think they have different motivations than those who base their self worth more on internal validations (like academic competence or family love and support).

The stories we share on Facebook often highlight the best moments and the best versions of ourselves. It’s like the newsletters we get in holiday cards, only posted in installments throughout the year.  Pretty photos and travel play a prominent role, as do milestones and achievements (yours or your children’s). It’s all good as long as it’s, well, good. While physical appearance is one dimension, there are many others that affect how we present ourselves and how we experience the feedback.

It’s no surprise that Facebook has become a way for us all to tell our personal stories, and in doing so, connects us to one another. It also taps into our need for the feedback and validation we seek when sharing different parts of our lives. In fact, when Facebook launches Timeline it will be even easier to showcase the stories of our lives. When you think about how you use Facebook, what motivates you to post and what type of response are you looking for?