People with Boobs Laugh at Fart Jokes. Really.

May 21, 2010

Call it a rant. Call it a manifesto. Maybe what I’m about to say is something that many of us ad-people believe, but hey. Here goes nuthin’.

After 5 years in advertising and 30 years of being a female, I have come to a few conclusions about how advertising can better speak to women.

When I first entered this business, I worked on unisex-type products. A website. Cars. A restaurant. A soft drink. Etc. I never thought I’d have to work on a “chick product,” and honestly, didn’t really want to. I didn’t even have many girl-friends until later in college. I was never a tomboy, but I just had lots of guy friends. I was that girl at the mall who wanted to hit Best Buy instead of Banana Republic. I didn’t dig the cattiness and drama of teenage girldom. So, I waited it out.

Since I was never too great at chatting it up with other gals (I never had a celebrity crush, had my own uninfluenced sense of fashion, and didn’t really think so-and-so’s baby was very cute), I really didn’t want to work on women’s products in advertising.

Then I worked on a couple of fitness brands geared towards women. And a couple packaged goods geared towards moms. Frankly, I cringed at each assignment. In my mind, advertising to women meant doing ads like this:

(By the way… why are they eating YOGURT at a WEDDING?)

But, I learned a lot working on women’s brands. If there’s any ONE piece of advice that you take from these ramblings, walk away with this: Stop talking to women as though they’re women.

When you write to women, write to people — who just happen to be women. It’s that simple.

We don’t just laugh at jokes about men and bad clothes.

We don’t all go craaazy for puppies, weddings, gossip, romantic comedies, and strawberry daiquiris (mmm… daiquiris…)

Many of us like bacon and fart jokes and politics and sports.

Even the girly-girls.

Even the sentimental new moms.

Even the spoiled divas.

Yes, fart jokes.

Knowing that some products can’t avoid being related to things that are super feminine and girly (feminine products, cosmetics, etc), some brands have done a great job of poking fun at stereotypes. I like these:

But — and if you’re still reading this, mazel tov — here’s a fun test:

Are you a dude? Did you laugh at those ads?

Guess what. So did I.

And most women of the women I know did too.

And we’re the ones who are supposed to buy those products.

I say, now that we’ve addressed all the crappy female stereotypes and made fun of them, let’s just move on. Let’s just write some ads that stop saying “hey – you’re a woman, so you’ll laugh at this” and just write ads that say “hey — you’ll laugh at this.”

Personally, I’d love to see some more physical humor in female-targeted ads. And yes. Maybe even a fart joke.


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