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‘Ads that make men look dumb to make women look strong are patronising not empowering’

Mumbrella360 'How to talk to women' panel

Mumbrella360’s ‘How to talk to women’ panel

Ads that make men look stupid to make women look strong are patronising not empowering, a senior magazine executive said yesterday.

The director of public affairs for magazine publisher Bauer Media, Deborah Thomas, said at the Mumbrella360 conference that marketers often go too far in trying to target women by demeaning men.

“I think a big part of speaking to women is life stage and cultural reference points,” she said. “You cannot have a cookie cutter approach, you do have to have different creatives and different ways of speaking to different age groups on different platforms.”

“Ads that make men look stupid to make women look strong are patronising not empowering,” she added.

Thomas was speaking on the topic of How to Talk to Women on a panel with Helen McCabe, editor-in-chief The Australian Women’s Weekly, Macleod, general manager consumer marketing Commonwealth Bank and Katie Rigg-Smith, CEO Mindshare Australasia.

Rigg-Smith defended marketers struggle to target different women differently, highlighting budgetary constraints.

“In the defence of marketers, their budgets can’t be split to target 10 different types of women as well as men if it’s a broad conversation,” she said.

“Because how do you get a broadcast message about a product that’s for both genders, but make it specific enough for men and specific enough for women?”

Thomas pointed to two examples of how brands target women well. One was feminine hygeine brand Hello Flo.

The other was Las Vegas casino, The Cosmpolitan. “You’d expect casinos to be about tits and ass, but The Cosmpolitan instead uses a cheeky sense of humour,” Thomas said.

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