Humor is a girl’s best friend

One of my favorite illustrations of a very under utilized emotion in marketing to women: Humor.

Once you get off the youtube channel and into more mainstream advertising, and particularly when you enter the realm of marketing to women, humor is woefully overlooked in most brand’s tool boxes. Sad really, since women really crave it. (Poll 10 women at random and ask them what they look for in the perfect man. I guarantee you humor will make the top 3.)

Did you know a different part of the the female brain lights up when she laughs? Actually, up to nine different parts activate according to MRI studies cited in THE FEMALE BRAIN. Compare that to only one or two sections that engage when a man has the same emotion. Why should you care about this as a marketer? All those connections increase your chance of being remembered. And since women store memories as emotions, why not be associated with a smile?  We could all use some more of that.

Women rock. And our girls keep us rolling.

Amy Poehler and two of her talented friends are out to change the world. One amazing young girl at a time. If you have not already seen Smart Girl At The Party, here’s my favorite episode so far.

Brother, can you spare a thought?

When speaking at TED, Kevin Kelly threw out a belief that most of us accept as fact these days: Attention is currency. Certainly everyone is clamoring for it. There’s not a consensus, even from Yankelovich, as to how many marketers clamor for us to take notice of their messages each day, but estimates range from 3,000 to 5,000 as you probably know.

However, the number is not the point.

The point is that we feel inundated, bombarded, ambushed (ever noticed how many battle descriptions are used with this statistic?) and occasionally overwhelmed by it all. The point is that all these messages are fighting for ever-diminishing head space and that this head space is precious property that we keep promising to give to truly important stuff like the loves of our lives and the meaning of life and our ultimate contribution to the world. If only we could find the time. But we can’t because, at least in my case, first we have to figure out whether it’s our day to run carpool and, if so, whether we’re supposed to be at the soccer field or the football field.

The point is, that calling our attention “currency” completely devalues it.

We are ultimately what we give the most of our attention to. My attention, your attention, is one of the most precious pieces of ourselves we can give away.

So why do marketers keep thinking it’s OK to steal it?

If you’re trying to get my ATTENTION as a precursor for creating INTENTION to buy, tricking me into watching an ad or making noise just to get noticed is not the way to go my friend. It just pisses me off.

The latest attempted purse snatching was done by Australian agency Naked on behalf of a men’s jacket maker called, appropriately enough, Witchery. It was covered well by Marketing Profs and others and there’s been a lot of talk about whether it’s ethical for advertisers to use the sort of trickery that Witchery did so well and, as someone who has been in advertising for 20 years, listening to ad folks talk ethics is always amusing.

But ethics is not the point.

The point is that it’s misguided, ineffective advertising. Unless ALL you want is attention. In which case, that and three bucks will get you a coffee. And my undying aversion to your brand.

The average guy or gal on the street is not spending a lot of time worrying about whether the most recent fake viral video was moral. They’re momentarily irritated and then off to the next thing on their never-ending ‘to-do’ list. (A stop to pick up that jacket won’t be one of them.)

If you want access to my headspace, the cost of entry is that you give me something worth putting there and remembering. And no, it’s not enough just to be entertaining. For a look at how to do a viral video that’s worth watching, honest and successful, see JC Penny’s, Dog House. Want to know why?

Hold that thought……

What kind of boobs do they think we are?

I just spent the better part of the last few weeks bashing GoDaddy’s blatant sexism in advertising and now this. What’s with Vanity Fair? Are they trying to sell bras to the tone deaf? Or to 13 year old guys? A word to the VF marketing department: don’t equate hits on this video with love bites. 

I’d like to humbly suggest that Vanity Fair and other marketers consider  three things before they let their next campaign out the door dressed like this:

1. Pretty is as pretty does. These are pretty bras and I’ve always liked the brand, but at the most human and basic level, it’s often wise to ask, “If this Brand were my daughter, would I want her going out like this?” I’m all for segmentation studies and focus groups and anguishing strategy sessions, but really, a lot of misguided advertising can be avoided by a question as simple as this.

2. Not all attention is good attention. It’s an instant gratification world and 2.0 has accelerated our needs and expectations. So I can just hear the excited talk around the conference table when the idea of this band’s You Tube debut was being bandied about. A slower, classier build  (not to mention a better concept) would have given them a longer, and much more resonate tail.

3. Does it have legs? Where does an idea like this go? Does it have a life beyond the gimmick?  My guess is that it does not.