Marketers Fail to Understand and Reach Professional Women

Yesterday I spent some time reading a white paper by Ad Age and published by Meredith called, “The Reality of the Working Woman.”

Let’s start with some interesting statistics

  • The number of women in the workforce have exceeded the number of males in the workforce.
  • Among working moms, 67% are breadwinners or co-breadwinners.
  • Today only 1 in 5 households has a “Stay-at-Home Mom.”
  • Today 1 out of 5 households are run by a single parent. In 1975 only 1 out of 10 were single-parent households.
  • Millenials are much more likely than Gen X’ers and Boomers to link their work with their sense of self and self-fulfillment. This statistic increases significantly for women earning over $70,000 per year.
  • Unlike Gen X’ers and Boomers, Millenial men reported doing the same exact amount of household work each day (72 minutes) as the average millennial female.
  • 82% of “pink slips” during the “Great Recession” went to men.

After reading these statistics, one thing came to mind: why the hell aren’t we seeing more hunky men vacuuming, cooking dinner and cleaning floors in advertisements?! 

Bring it.  Supposedly we have a vast majority of the buying power, so please appeal to us.  We are ready.   

Thankfully, the white paper pointed out one such advertisement- a 2008 TV commercial for the Chevy Traverse featuring a hunk who made an anniversary dinner reservation AND scrubbed the toilet all in one commercial.  The punch line was something about “not being too good to be true.” It’s nice to see an SUV commercial getting away from the “soccer mom” stereotype, but at the same time, making an anniversary dinner reservation and scrubbing a toilet does not deserve a standing ovation.  In my mind, it is just normal, every day life.

So if women have exceeded the number of men in the workforce and both genders spend the same amount of time doing household chores, why aren’t advertising campaigns reflecting this? AT ALL. 

AND, why the hell do we still use the term “working woman” as if it’s rare?  Most of us ARE working, so this is implied.  Plus, we’ve never used the term, “working man” before.

So here’s my opinion.

Dear Brand Managers and Marketers,

You are missing out on a huge opportunity here.  Please review the facts and get with the program.  Highlight the reality of single-parent households.  Stop making working Moms seem like the minority as they are now the majority.  Please don’t overstereotype the “working woman.”  Studies show that most of us love working and want to work.  And understand that just because we work, doesn’t mean we don’t have very traditional values.  In fact, surveys show our values are just as traditional as the Boomers and more traditional than Gen X’ers. 

We’d love you to portray your products as a “service” that helps us save time.

Also, if you feel so inclined, we’d love to see more hunky men and/or “Working Dads” in your commercials.  We find them fun to look at.  They are a great balance between fantasy and reality.

Thanks so much,

Millenial females everywhere, aka “Ms. Career Girls”

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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