And on to a new year
Tuesday December 31st 2013, 4:19 pm
Filed under: stephanie fierman,women,women online

So I was in a hospital yesterday with my mom (because holidays and hospitals: that’s just how I roll) and I thought one of her doctors was cute.

I was trying to be entertaining, so I said to my mom, “Hey, who knows? Maybe I’ll make my dead grandmothers happy, and still end up with a rich DOC-tuh!”

She looked at me and said, “I don’t think they gave a shit.  They wanted YOU to be the successful one.”

Well played, grandmothers, well played.

Another year. 2014. What are you going to do with it? I’ll tell you what I’m thinking about, at least.

Get rid of the fools and assholes in your life… or give them a lot less credence than you do today. Don’t sweat absolutely everything.  Realize that just about anything that feels horrendous and impossible is something you’ve already lived through at least once.  Make sure to find joy even when that seems highly unlikely.  And doing great things is good, too, but those of us who work our asses off do it because we want to and/or because we can’t help it; I’m a little tired, frankly, of all the messages about “winning” and resolutions about what we’re supposed to accomplish. Being a person you like and respect is a whole hell of a lot more important. If you can do both, great, but don’t do the former at the expense of the latter.

Be all you can be? For whom? How about… be all you want to be in 2014.  Do what you want to do.  Be brave.  Having heard Diana Nyad speak at TEDWomen this year, this year-end Microsoft ad really got me.  Nyad’s message was… find a way.  Whatever it is.  Find a way to do what you believe needs to be done.

 



Help me! I cannot get a man because of… stress!
Thursday February 14th 2013, 8:46 am
Filed under: ad agency,advertising,women,women online

Secret Clinical Strength‘s NEW AD – and direction – bum me out.

How have I survived to the ripe old age I have and not been confronted with “stress sweat” and the havoc it can wreak on my life? My love life, specifically, as this young woman doesn’t appear to be concerned for herself: only the impact her scent may have on her chances to get a guy.

And Secret makes sure this woman behaves like a powerless juvenile by mentioning how her “unmentionables” aren’t “cute.”

Really? Come on – we can do better than this.



Mad Men Won’t Keep You From The Rain
Wednesday September 01st 2010, 9:06 pm
Filed under: advertising,branding,luxury,retail,US economy,women,women online

by Stephanie Fierman

If a pop culture phenomenon is white-hot, and you saunter up to it and ask it out to dinner, will you become its best friend?

Check out my second blog, Marketing Mojo, for the answer.



In A Fog
Wednesday September 01st 2010, 8:30 am
Filed under: advertising,branding,licensed content,luxury,retail,US economy,women,women online,wretched excess

by Stephanie Fierman

There’s been a bit of a scramble among brands seeking to leverage AMC’s popular series, Mad Men.  BMW is one of the largest and most frequent sponsors, prompting an auto site to gush, “BMW’s underwriting for Mad Men is mad marvelous.”

Maybe so.  After all, the series is about an advertising agency and the supposed glamour of the post-War period, all glowy and wistful.  It’s an unusual opportunity to create a fresh and fun message… IF it makes sense for the brand.

BMW did two things right. First it aligned itself with the overall  je ne sais quoi of the show: the ambience, the characters, their lifestyles, their appearance, their tastes, the physical environment. That provides a very broad base upon which to construct an association.  BMW is already an upscale, luxury brand, so this association is more of a positive reinforcement than a flat-out creation. 

Second, this attachment is even further strengthened because BMW’s ads run during the episodes themselves.  As the show transitions almost seamlessly from content, to commercial, and back again, the company and its cars place themselves directly alongside the target of their (and your) dreams.  The viewer sees both in the same sitting; the brain experiences both in the same moment. The connection is made in real time. 

London Fog‘s new Mad Men-related ads, on the other hand, miss on both these counts.

Unlike BMW, London Fog’s owner, Iconix, chose to bet all its chips on one single character, Joan Holloway (aka Christina Hendricks).  This demands a plausible or at least believable connection between what the product and the individual represent, which is not present here. 

Today, London Fog is generally utilitarian, functional, male (androgynous?), classic (tired?) and generally unremarkable, while Hendrick’s Joan is nearly the polar opposite: voluptuous, sexy, powerful, womanly, stimulating. She’s brightly-colored cotton candy in a dress.  When you watch the show, her sexual  presence makes her nearly every man’s fantasy at one point or another.  She’s unattainable, like a rare luxury item. 

London Fog is the opposite.  By its own admission, the brand has far-flung distribution and high consumer awareness: it holds little mystery, no magic, no unattainability. Mad Men‘s Joan would not wear a London Fog, and no woman  (consciously or unconsciously) believes that she will be “more Joan”  by wearing the brand.  The effect is double-whammy, given that the clothes (which might look fine on “normal” people) appear boring, dull and awkward draped on Hendrick’s frame.  The two zeitgeists are just too far apart.

Iconix may have thought that Joan’s essence would rub off on the product.  And, prior to Hendricks, Iconix enlisted Eva Longoria and Giselle Bunchen for its ads, presumably with the same objective.  The problem is that consumers cannot make brand connections that aren’t there or – worse – pulling in opposite directions. 

Forcing an otherwise adequate brand into an environment that makes it appear inadequate is sad and unnecessary: an embarrassing kind of brand dissonance that can do the brand more harm than good. 

Lastly, the Joan ads do not have the benefit of being absorbed in the same moment as the story itself. The connection failure is particularly dramatic when experienced in the middle of a fashion magazine, surrounded by circa 2010 fashions, photos and messaging.

Managing a brand – particularly one trying to meld a perhaps very different past with the present – is a fine art. The brand steward must have an unblinking grasp on what the brand is and is not, what it might become, how fast such a change in direction might be made and how to begin.  If that direction is wrong, or the speed too fast, the desired messaging won’t find its target and you may needlessely displace the neutral-to-positive feelings most people have about the brand in favor of all the characteristics the brand does not possess.  It’s work grounded in an almost DNA-level of understanding of brands, consumer desire and human behavior.

Most brands have positive if not wonderful attributes to emphasize.  Show yours in its best light.  Avoid whatever might be hot right this second if it just doesn’t fit, and create an environment in which the product can truly shine.



Sometimes Stephanie Fierman Uses A Black Marker

I have to say that I was struck by LVMH’s new ad campaign portraying artisans lovingly creating Louis Vuitton products by hand.  I’ve seen three: one of a (from the ad copy) “young woman and the tiny folds” of wallet leather, another of a “’seamstress with linen thread” hand-stitching  the handle of a handbag and the last – the one that particularly struck me – showing a man painting the bottom of a shoe by hand.

The sole-painting made me pause. I did not feel compelled to run out the door for LV shoes, though… it was more a gentle “Really? They hand-paint the bottoms of all their shoes?” 

Now I know how much Vuitton products cost.  They’re expensive – but probably not as expensive as they’d need to be for LVMH to clear a hefty profit after painting the soles of every pair of new Vuitton shoes.

So I took note when the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority banned the wallet and handbag ads, claiming they could “mislead” consumers into believing that Louis Vuitton products are handmade, when in fact machines are involved in the manufacturing process.  From the agency’s ruling: “We considered that consumers would interpret the image of a woman using a needle and thread to stitch the handle of a bag … to mean that Louis Vuitton bags were hand stitched.”  O&M Paris must pull the two offending print ads immediately. The ad of the man painting the shoe bottom did not draw objections. 

Interesting.

I guess part of my question is, Which consumers?  I’m curious, for example, whether a “reasonable person” in such an instance would be absolutely anyone seeing the ad in a doctor’s waiting room, or whether it would need to be someone for whom the ad would alter beliefs in a way that could misguidedly motivate a purchase.  Would the latter be more likely to be knowledgeable and savvy (and less gullible), or does it not matter?  Vuitton has never been secretive about the fact that it has factories in the U.S., France and elsewhere that some believe are the very representation of modern luxury good production, but I guess the ASA has made its call.

There are a number of fashion/culture tongues wagging online about the fact that the ASA had nothing to say about LVMH photoshopping Madonna until she looked like a 17-year-old.  Perhaps, but it’s probably a good bet that there were no ruling bodies that thought anyone might buy a piece of luggage thinking it would make her look like Madonna (at any age).



Stephanie Fierman Has No Pores. And If You Believe That…
Saturday May 15th 2010, 7:08 pm
Filed under: ad agency,advertising,retail,women,women online

Why does this still happen?stephanie-fierman-glamour-june10-cover.jpg

Take a look at the June cover of Glamour Magazine at right (if you cannot see image, click HERE):

The photo of three attractive models on the cover is accompanied by the headline, “Curvy? Skinny? It’s All Good!” But… which one is the curvy one?  Is it the one on the far right?  The far left?  It’s the one on the left.  Yes, I said the one on the left.  I’ve added a couple other images of said model to this post (HERE and HERE), and let me tell you: any woman whose thighs (or other body parts) do not aggressively touch when at steady state is not “curvy” in my book.

crystal-renn-stephanie-fierman.jpgI truly don’t understand this particular one, because no woman who is overweight believes she is also a thin model.  The average American woman wears a size 14 – and knows it.  She does not think that Crystal Renn is her spitting image.  Hair, cellulite, make-up, the size of one’s pores: the savvy woman generally knows that all of these can be drastically manipulated ad – sadly – some women still aspire to these things.  But chubby and frolicking in one’s bikini in a magazine? No.crsytal-renn2-stephanie-fierman.jpg

Then why the fixation on imaginary weight claims?  Is it advertisers? And if so, go all out so an advertiser targeting a real plus-size girl might actually be able to see a real one.  There is no real-life party that is served well by this kind of activity.

I suppose I should just be thankful that Glamour didn’t pull a Ralph Lauren and get all drunk and stupid on Photoshop: see the related blog post I wrote and lovingly titled, “Can Someone Get That Turkey A Sandwich (you’ll have to read it to know why).   Do you think the average person knows that even photographs of food are fake?

No wonder people still don’t trust advertising.  Sometimes – a lot of the time – we lie.



Stephanie Fierman Is Not Offended By The Loofah! Loofah!

I am sensitive to dumb and/or insensitive imagery and statements in advertising and the media – I thought that the “How I Met Your Mother” Frosty the Snowman spoof was a little over the top, for example – but this is pushing it.scrubbing-bubble-stephanie-fierman.jpg

A new commercial for the all-natural line of cleaning products, Method, has already been pulled – and that’s a pity.

Droga5’s “SHINY SUDS” is a silly send-up of Dow’s Scrubbing Bubbles commercials.  Method created the video to support the Household Products Labeling Act, which would require full disclosure of harmful chemicals in cleaning products. Here’s the ad (if you cannot see the ad below, click HERE):



Right after the video was posted online, women began to react negatively – and harshly.  A blogger accused the company of “humiliating women” and effectively saying that – if you don’t know exactly what’s in the products you use – “you deserve to be sexually harassed” in your own home.  A reader of the same blog post called Method to tell them that she was “curious of [sic] their perpetuation of rape culture.”


Rape culture? Sexual harassment? The “pornification” of a dull House act about cleaning chemicals? What am I missing here?


Apparently a lot, as the company received hundreds of calls and emails from outraged women before declaring itself a “values-based company” and pulling the spot.


Of course, there are other interested parties who struck back, most notably (a) the advertising community (which asks when brands are going to – ahem – “grow a pair” and tell zealot “idiots” to bug off) and (b) both men and women who say that this “overreaction” is just another example of why many believe that feminism has become a joke.


I’m not going to lean that hard in either direction… but I didn’t see the danger in this video.  What do you think?



My Fake Kid Is Sick – I Have To Go
Monday October 05th 2009, 9:47 pm
Filed under: women,women online

To All The Worthy-Yet-Childless People Out There:

Have you ever felt disadvantaged simply because you haven’t procreated?  Have you ever had to do extra work when a peer disappeared into a junior soccer haze or recital? Have you every suffered through phone conversations between a co-worker and her child that sounded like some demented episode of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” only to have said anguished co-worker give you a back-handed slap by saying how lucky you are not to have kids?the-office-kid.png All that is about to change.


Yes, friends, there’s now a product made just for you:  The Office Kid.  When you buy  The Office Kid  (tagline: “Who picks up the slack? We do”) you get a framed photo of your fake child and some adorable fake-kid artwork to put up on your wall (drawn by one of the right-handed creators with her left hand). It’s like you had a child – only better!


No diapers to change, no private schools to pay for – just the goodness that comes with the kid guilt you can now foist on your co-workers and your boss.  Imagine the possibilities…


So call 1-800-GET-A-KID  and start leveraging your newfound parenthood today!  And if your [apply air quotes here] “parent/teacher conference” takes place on the designer floor at Saks – or in a movie theatre – who has to know?



Stephanie Fierman’s Not Interested In Toothpaste, Either

A new study released by Q Interactive indicates that – while women may be flocking to social networking – they’re not yakking about the favorite baby food or burgers.  While 52% of 1,000 women said that they’d become a “friend” or “fan” of at least one brand, 75% of women in the study overall say that social networks do not influence what they buy.

I had to smile when Q’s president scrambled to make sure that marketers (with money) didn’t interpret the results in a negative way: Q calls the “disconnect” a “huge opportunity” for marketers and says that brands need to catch up to the needs of women online. 

If I were an agency relying on clients, I’d say the same thing!

But what if that’s not true? What if the social media frenzy that’s been whipped up among advertisers is…  overhyped?  What if we find out that women love discovering new ideas and interacting with new people and new communities, but the commercial promise in these interactions isn’t there? What if online engagement doesn’t lead to sales?  What if talking just leads to… talking?

I’m going to watch for new news and information about how women are interacting with social media because – if Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and all the other social sites do not turn out to be a brand bonanza for advertisers, we could see a major reset in expectations, involvement and, most importantly, dollars.



Stephanie Fierman Hovers Like A UFO

I have no idea if they’ll sell even one tampon, but P&G’s Tampax is the stealth sponsor of a series of viral videos that tell the story of a 16-year-old boy who wakes up with – uh – “girl parts.” And at least from an art point of view… they’re good. Click HERE if you do not see the ad below.

Leo Burnett created the campaign at Zack16.com.  Its big link to the brand thus far is when our hero, Zack, gets his first period in French class and sneaks into the girl’s bathroom looking for a Tampax vending machine.

P&G calls it “a learning lab out on the net” that’s “not very heavily branded at all.”  Hmm.  And so far the videos aren’t a huge hit, with about 10,000 views in the past week on YouTube and elsewhere. 

I really wanted to dislike this campaign and – if I were a P&G stockholder – I probably would.  I also wonder if the best way to pitch tampons to young women is with stories about young men baking brownies, but what do I know? I hope it sells something. 

The title character, Zack Johnson, wakes up one morning to find his 'guy parts' gone.In the meantime, I’m enjoying the work of a good copywriter and have started following Zack on Twitter at @ZackJohnson16.  He appears to be trying to figure out how to manage menstruating while at soccer camp.

 Note: the “hovers like a UFO” comment is from the Day 3 video.  Really – these are pretty humorous.



Stephanie Fierman Wouldn’t Ignore The Ladies

Man, it’s a tough time to be a media company.  What with News Corp.’s operating income dropping 47% (99% in the newspaper business and 97% in the TV division) and both Arianna Huffington and Jeff Bewkes declaring the death of big media, what’s a media mogul – or budding mogul – to do?

One obvious answer IMHO should be an enhanced, more enlightened focus on women, because their behavior is changing and not enough advertisers and media companies appear to be keeping pace.  36% of women claim to be reading fewer magazines and 39% are spending less time reading newspapers.  These are consumers – moms, in particular – who control 85% of all household spending and are worth more than $2 trillion in US spend each year.  That’s “trillion” with a “t.” 

A lot of these women say they’re migrating online.  The fastest growing segment on Facebook is women age 40-50 in the home; moms aged 25-35 with at least one child are heavy online shoppers (see chart); and twitter moms showed Motrin who’s boss in November 2008.  “Power moms” are also increasingly focused on video, and even upload their own on a variety of topics at sites like NewBaby.com

82200-powermoms_chart.jpg

The problem is, is anyone listening?



Stephanie Fierman Is A Little Coupon Crazy

There have been several articles recently pointing to the rise in both offline and online coupon use.  While consumers 65+ are more likely to use newspaper coupons and younger individuals prefer online coupons, there’s no real news here given that these stats will change over time as newspapers become less available and older consumers become more and more comfortable on the Web.

In the meantime, don’t leave home – or buy online – without it!

I’ve become accustomed to checking online for coupons and promotion codes prior to making either a store or Web purchase.  There is an art to this and, once you get the hang of it, you’ll become savvier about what sites are likely to bear fruit and which will not.

There are four general categories of sites I’d recommend you consider:

1.  Aggregators – these are sites whose sole purpose in life is to offer coupons and “promo codes” from many retailers, typically across multiple industries.  Some examples would include:

Coupons.com: the best-known source for printable online coupons
RetailMeNot
UltimateCoupons
DealCatcher
CouponCabin

CoolSavings
CouponCraze
CouponMountain
FatWallet

DealofDay
CouponNerds

2. Industry-specific couponing/deal sites:

Rental cars: RentalCarMomma
Grocery: CouponMom, GroceryCoupons, TheGroceryGame
Hotels:  Roomsaver, HotelCoupons
Computers, peripherals and accessories: TechBargains
Restaurants: Restaurant.com,

3. Clubs and affiliations that may offer codes and deals:

WorkingAdvantage, StudentAdvantage and VeteransAdvantage
Alumni clubs (check yours)
Bulk buying clubs such as BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco
www.entertainment.com (Yes, the old Entertainment Books still exists…)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
AAA (American Automobile Association)

4. Forums – some activities tend to make people want to vent (like having to take your shoes off at the airport…), and folks on these sites love to let others in on a deal:

Airline travel, rental cars and hotels: FlyerTalkWebFlyer, FlyerGuide, MileageManager
General shopping (usually bricks and mortar stores): ShoppingForum

If you’re set on a particular brand, it only takes a second to check out that company’s own site, too.  KFC, for example, has a pre-set button on its home page pointing visitors to printable coupons.  I’m actually surprised that more brands don’t take advantage of this simple way to build a solid customer database.  If a consumer is a fan, he will part with valuable demo and psychographic information in exchange for a steady stream of deals delivered by email.

And as a final tip: consider opening a brand new email account exclusively for your interactions with coupon and promotional sites.  You’ll be able to see all your coupon- and deal-related email in one place without clogging your own email inbox.

So start looking for coupons online and, pretty soon, you too will understand the nirvana of “stackable codes…”



Stephanie Fierman On The Importance of IT/Marketing Alignment
Friday April 03rd 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: advertising,customer service,Google,Internet,women,women online,word of mouth

Whoops!

In December, Domino’s created an online-only promotion offering a free pizza to site visitors using the promo code “bailout.” The promotion never got final approval internally… but someone didn’t tell the pizza retailer’s online tech team.

A clever consumer living in a suburb of Cincinnati somehow caught on to the live promo code last week and before you can see “meat lovers special,” Domino’s had given away 11,000 free pizzas.  In less than 24 hours.

The news spread quickly, fueled in part by online moms at sites like www.CincyMomsLikeMe.com.  If you’re curious about the power of online moms and aren’t familiar with the Motrin Moms event last November, I really would suggest you check it outDo not screw with these ladies!

Things became even more complicated by the fact that Domino’s retail stores are franchised.  A man who owns 14 locations in the Cincy area thinks he gave away somewhere between 600 and 700 pizzas.  Corporate has promised to reimburse all franchisees.  Maybe the stores will even see an upside:  the event got hundreds of people to try the new ordering engine at Dominos.com (which is pretty good, by the way).

Depending on how you look at things, Dominos is either lucky or unlucky the promotion wasn’t discovered two days later – on April Fool’s Day…



If Stephanie Fierman Is Loyal, She’s Loyal Everywhere

The online/social media environment has greatly amplified the opportunities for customers who love you (or hate you) to spread the word – and spread it more frequently, to a broader audience and with a greater array of tools.

Colloquy has released a white paper reflecting the results of an October 2008 survey that measured the intersection between reward program membership and online word-of-mouth (WOM) activity among those members.

While I hope it won’t come as a big surprise, membership in and usage of a brand’s reward program is a significant predictor of a consumer’s likelihood to speak positively about your brand online. The more active the frequent user/shopper/flyer in your program, the greater the chance that you will experience the happy halo effect of him/her praising you online.  This is particularly true among women, who have become a driving force in terms of discussing and sharing products and experiences on the Web (Motrin, anyone?).loyalty-stephanie-fierman.jpg

The larger take-away here – the hardest one, I think, for large companies to absorb – is that everything is connected now.  The idea that you could treat your customers one way and your employees another, without affecting your public persona, is no longer relevant.  Cut your charitable activities without the “outside world” finding out?  Forget it.  Increase mileage requirements in your frequent flyer program, and it will not only affect the opinions of your members, but also those members’ Twitter readers (who may not even be your customers).

One person with an anonymous blog and a catchy URL can impact your reputation around the world.  

Of course The New Champion Customers is just a tip of this iceberg, but it offers an interesting angel and chock-full of great charts.  Take a look.



Stephanie Fierman Gets It Right With Consumerist
Wednesday December 31st 2008, 11:00 am
Filed under: blogs,customer service,Internet,market research,retail,women online,word of mouth

If you’re like me, you don’t need external affirmation or reinforcement of your decisions all the time… but sometimes is nice!

Back in June, I told you about The Consumerist, a wonderful online community and blog owned by Gawker.  I raved about its informative stories about good and bad customer service experiences (“Shoppers Bite Back”), along with all the corporate phone numbers, addresses, etc. you frequently wish you had at your fingertips.  The site also does a great job for its 1.8 million readers of promoting great deals and discounts. 

Now comes the affirmation I mentioned:  Consumer Union has just purchased The Consumerist!  Jim Guest, President and CEO of Consumers Union, says that the Consumerist community’s passion for helping consumers shop in a “fair, safe and just marketplace” will add exponentially to his company’s relevance and reach.  It will also bring younger readers into the Consumer Reports fold.stephanie-fierman-consumer-reports.jpg

And for The Consumerist and Gawker:  WOW.  The site’s new owner knows a thing or two about online marketing and revenue generation.  With 3.3 million loyal, paying readers, ConsumerReports.org is the largest paid-subscriber website in the world.

A good deal all around!  Let’s just hope that Consumerist readers will continue to have access to its content free of charge… with some heavy-duty Consumer Reports cross-sell pitches thrown in, of course.

 Consumers Union    Consumer Reports    consumerreports.org   The Consumerist   Consumers Union Buys Consumerist



Stephanie Fierman Had No Idea That Subservient Chicken Was Tame

It’s been a very odd few weeks in the fast food marketing business.

First, there’s Burger King’s effort to spread “ugly Americanism” around the globe with its odd “Whopper Virgins” campaign. “What happens if you take remote Chang Mai villagers who’ve never seen a burger, who don’t even have a word for burger, and ask them to compare Whopper versus Big Mac in the world’s purest taste test?” I don’t know the answer, but I’m doubtful that this campaign will shift any new business to Burger King – it may fuel the fanatics (and I’m not knocking the importance of retention) but I wonder if it’s enough to balance the heat the company has received as a result of the campaign. Early results already show that the campaign is putting off women, and positive chatter on the Web is dropping quickly. Barbara Lippert judging the work as “culturally tone deaf” was one of the nicer phrases critics have used.

Then yesterday, the Pizza Hut “anti-Main Street” (my phrase) ad debacle hit Twitter, care of Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. Pizza Hut has created this odd viral campaign in which actors walk into mom-and-pop pizza shops and order pizza delivery – from Pizza Hut. So… in a recession, Pizza Hut puts out ads in which people order pizza that we all know is not as good as the product you can find in your own neighborhood, AND mocks/steals business from little restaurant owners just trying to make a living.


While it has not received much credit for it, Burger King actually did donate some money to the towns in which the Whopper Virgins ads, so the company wasn’t entirely tone deaf. The Pizza Huts ads are just, well, mean.

And lastly, there’s just not a whole lot to say about a Burger King body spray for men that smells like… meat. “Flame” offers “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” Nah, I’m not going to take the bait (pardon the pun) – it’s just too easy.

So there you have it: a strange time in fast food land. Go offer some love (and cash) to your neighborhood diner today!
Burger King    Whopper Virgins    Pizza Hut    Ian Schafer    Deep Focus



Stephanie Fierman Is All For The Moms
Wednesday November 26th 2008, 8:47 pm
Filed under: blogs,branding,retail,women,women online,word of mouth

I spotted two articles today reporting that moms are postponing or canceling plans to buy themselves things so that they can treat their kids this holiday season.  61% of moms plan to shop less for themselves this year vs. 56% of all women and 45% of men (No comment on that last statistic).

What a fabulous opportunity for clever marketers!  Celebrate the mom!  I’m riffing here:

* Clothing stores, department stores, etc. could have momathons.  A mom would have to sign up in advance (with email address), naming all her kids and their ages, maybe one thing they wish the could buy themselves and then choose an hour or whatever during which moms got special discounts, BOGO, GWP, whatever.

* Brands and retailers, let’s say Pampers (P&G) and Gymboree, could hold contests, sweepstakes, giveaways – do something BIG! – to proclaim the wonderfulness of moms.  And an international company like a P&G or Coke or Kraft could create a worldwide stephanie-fierman-mom-shirt.jpgevent.

* Spas, hair salons, nail parlors – ‘nuf said.

Get moms interacting with you now and long after the holiday is over.  My recommendations for stores that are seeing a lot of returns is relevant here:  if you’re going to give discounts or coupons, for example, give one for the holidays and one that activates, say, in February 09.

Women are responsible for over 80% of household purchases!  Momfluentials are everywhere!  89% of moms use the Internet at least twice a day, and 35% of moms spend 3 or more hours online.  70% use search engines before making an online purchase.  Yoo-hoo, Yahoo!  78% of mom bloggers review products and 96% of online moms value these bloggers’ recommendations (and moms have higher word of mouth credibility than all women).  Moms purchase appliances at twice the rate of the general population.  Dear Electrolux: shift a little of that Kelly Ripa cash into a big mom idea.  Moms love technology just as much as the rest of us?  Verizon Wireless:  can you hear me now? Do a cool mom promo!

Yes, it seems like it could be Mother’s Day in December for great brands out there… McDonald’s has the Happy Meal – why not a Harried Mom meal for the women running around shopping for the holidays while the kids are in school?  And local shops and restaurants could get in on the act, too.

OK, I’ll stop now…

I love you, Mom.



Stephanie Fierman’s Facebook Fascination Is On The Wane
Tuesday November 25th 2008, 8:39 am
Filed under: facebook,market research,retail,women online

What a difference a year makes… for Facebook.

2007 saw folks pushing The Facebook Marketing Bible, conference segments and endless articles on the wisdom of marketers hawking their wares on Facebook.  A lot of this stuff is still around, but the climate appears to be changing.

In a recent survey of CMOs, over half indicated a very low level of interest in including Facebook in their current plans.  A third said they have no interest at all.

Epsilon commissioned the survey, and I do agree with the company’s CMO, Steve Cone, that marketers aren’t interested in “teenagers sharing photographs with one another.”  However, I think the fact that that is the case – or even the perception – is a failing that smacks of lost opportunity.

33% of Facebook’s 33 million users are over 26 years of age, and 13% are 35 or older.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.  But are there any particular areas on Facebook that might be attractive or particularly relevant for an older audience?  Nope.  And more importantly, Facebook’s efforts to target advertising by age and other characteristics have failed to gain traction.  At this very moment, there are 3 ads on my profile page:  one for an HP something (dvt5 anyone?) powered by Intel Centrino2 Processor Technology, another for “faith-based universities” and one asking if I want to get an MBA.

Let’s just say that 0 out of 3 of these ads are relevant to me personally.  Based on my zip code and self-reported educational data, at least two of them shouldn’t be there at all.  As a marketer looking to spend precious dollars wisely, this sends me a strong message that Facebook is not the place to do so.

song chart memes

Facebook needs to figure out target marketing quick and take its show on the road to marketers interested in reaching grown-ups.  



Stephanie Fierman Is A Savvy Auntie
Friday July 18th 2008, 8:39 pm
Filed under: stephanie fierman,women,women online

Babycenter, CafeMom, ClubMom… there have always been plenty of websites for moms, but what about us single non-baby-person aunties?  What do we buy, where do we go, what will they like?

A new website, SavvyAuntie, targets us PANKS: Professional Aunts With No Kids Of Their Own.   The site offers blogs, forums and the Auntiepedia.  There is a “digital fridge door” for kids’ artwork, a gift shop and info on kid-friendly restaurants and local activities and events (delivered in partnership with Nickelodeon’s GoCityKids).  It was created by former beauty editor/marketing exec, Melanie Notkin.

An article I read about the ad-suported site points out that PANKS control 85% of their households’ spending, so I hope Melanie makes it.  Because after Serendipity, the Children’s Museum and the Statue of Liberty… we NYC PANKS can go blank pretty quickly!



Stephanie Fierman Has A Little Pots ‘n Pans Fun
Wednesday July 09th 2008, 10:49 am
Filed under: advertising,branding,Internet,retail,web 2.0,women online

HEMA is a Dutch department store chain with 150 locations in the Netherlands and others in Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg.hema-stephanie-fierman1.jpg

Take a look at their website’s product page – you can’t buy anything (or read it, unless you know Dutch), but it’s great eye candy!

You do not need to scroll.  Be sure to have your sound on.  And give it a minute to load.  Very cool.

CLICK HERE: HTTP://PRODUCTEN.HEMA.NL