“Pinkwashing” May Soon Be A Marketing Ploy Of The Past

Image courtesy of ShannonBadiee

Splashing pink all over your products to signal that they’re meant to be used by women? “Pinkwashed” pens, electronics, and ethernet cables? Not trendy anymore, according to marketing experts who say the cool thing nowadays is to send an inclusive branding message.

Unless you’re raising money for breast cancer research, pink isn’t a strategy, Bridget Brennan, the author of Why She Buys, told The Washington Post in a new in-depth look at pinkwashing throughout the advertising ages.

“In 2016, marketing to women is all about being inclusive. That doesn’t mean excluding men; it means excluding stereotypes,” she explains.

While women do want products that are made with them in mind — like Skinnygirl Cocktails or Vixen Vodka — marketers will have better luck approaching women as one of them, instead of throwing products at them.

“Anything that says ‘you women’ is going to get a backlash,” Marketing to Women author Marti Barletta told WaPo, while using the “we women” angle might work better.

How did we get here? After years of advertisers appealing to women as homemakers, mothers, and wives, they realized that women were working and wearing jeans instead of dresses, or business suits instead of well, dresses. Women had purchasing power, and marketers started pushing products that used to be meant for men – but in pink, so no one would buy the wrong thing (please note sarcasm). That brings us back to pink pens and ethernet cords.

This eventually resulted in women often paying more for the same products as men, despite the fact that there’s no discernible differences in the same products besides scents, colors, and packaging.

Here’s the thing: making something pink doesn’t necessarily mean women will want to buy. Women, it turns out, like choices.

“When pink is a color women can choose, they will choose it. When it is the only color that isn’t the ‘normal’ one, women will not choose it,” Barletta told WaPo. “They don’t want it forced on them.”

The end of ‘shrink it and pink it’: A history of advertisers missing the mark with women [The Washington Post]

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