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?
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?