Monday, June 15, 2009

What if we made periods a happy time?

This is hardly breaking news, or even a new insight. Rather, it's a bitterly funny data point on the endless cluelessness of marketers when it comes to women.

Ir comes in the form of a letter written by Wendi Aarons to the Always brand manager (male, of course) at Procter and Gamble. It's well worth your time to read the entire screed, but here, to whet your appetite, is the opening salvo:

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

It only gets better from there. Given the fact there is a whole ecosystem of consultants, research firms, academics, agency leaders etc. who specialize in telling the Mr. Thatchers of the world "what women want," it's amazing that these tone-deaf marketing efforts crop up so often.

Even with a wife of 29 years and 3 daughters, I don't profess to know what women want.But here's a suggestion:

Pretend you're talking to a guy.

Whatever you lose in feminine sensibility, you will avoid sounding like a pandering, condescending idiot. If men had menstrual cramps, saying "Have a happy period, bro" would get you killed.

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