The language of brand gender
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The language of brand gender

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Gender makes the world go round. It affects everything we do - what we wear, how we behave, how we relate to other people, and, importantly for brands, it affects what we buy, why we buy and how we ...

Gender makes the world go round. It affects everything we do - what we wear, how we behave, how we relate to other people, and, importantly for brands, it affects what we buy, why we buy and how we buy. This short slideshow will give you an idea of how important it is to recognise how your brand is using gender.

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  • Women are changing. And if brands are to succeed in getting their attention, advertisers need to change too.We’ll help you understand gender and how it works – and show you how to create a new communication paradigm based on the way women see , think and feel today. You’ll learn how to use this knowledge to gain an edge of your competitors who are still still very much in the past and restricted by unconscious preconceptions and gender blindness.
  • Gender refers to the roles and responsibilities of men and women that are created in our families, societies and our cultures. The concept of gender also includes the expectations held about the characteristics, aptitudes and likely behaviors of both men and women (femininity and masculinity). These roles and expectations are learned, They can change over time and they vary within and between cultures, The concept of gender is vital because it facilities gender analysis revealing how women’s subordination is socially constructed, As, such, the subordination can be changed or ended, It is not biologically predetermined nor is it fixed forever. Because gender is so pervasive, we need to aknowledge and understand how men and women are affected by it and work with it when we create advertising and marketing that works
  • You would never see car = masculine man = feminineBut you do see vice versa
  • Well we all know that men and women do behave differently and we’re going to look at a few examples of this now. These differences have practical implications for the way men and women absorb, engage and respond to communication.
  • Because gender affects how we relate to brands, the relationship needs to be defined
  • However horny they might feel, sex is the last thing that’s on women’s mind, the insight might be true, men will be totally unaware of it but it’s just inappropriate Picked out two insights from ressearch – on one hand the impulse is to say these ads are quite brave but on the other, what’s it saying to young girls – it’s denying femininity and turning it into something fit for male consumption, that’s acceptable for a man. Here we see periods both sanitised and sexualised.
  • Where women are told that they can have it all…and do it all. Including behaving like a porn star. And increasingly we see incredibly masculinised porn culture slipping into mainstream advertising. Men and women who produced this sort of advertising would have a hard time arguing that they’d produced these ads in the best interests of women.The male gaze occurs when the audience, or viewer, is put into the perspective of a heterosexual male. the dominant male gaze in mainstream films reflects and satisfies the male unconscious: most filmmakers are male, thus the voyeuristic gaze of the camera is male; male characters make women the objects of their gaze; and inevitably, the spectator’s gaze reflects the voyeuristic male gazes of the camera and the male actors.Mulvey argued that women often enjoy the attention of attracting the gaze, and put themselves in positions to be looked at. The male gaze expresses an unequal power relationship between the viewer and viewed, or the gazer and the gazed. Masculinity is connected with the organizing logic of the gaze, whereas femininity is associated with fragmentation, lack, and passion associated with the object of the gaze.This is at the expense of creating advertising that speaks to women on their terms.In both these ads the woman is an object ‘in’ the ad instead of the ‘subject’ of the ad.The ads do raise uncomfortable issues and not all women agree they are liberating. When Spanish government weighed in, demanding that Dolce & Gabbana pull its “fantasy rape” advertisement in a country where headlines about violence against women are all too common. The designers at the fashion house, based in Milan, relented, but not before observing in the Italian press that Spain was “a bit behind the times” and that the ads were artistic in nature.
  • Need to get into examples more quickly
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars A Feminine Revolution 30 Aug 2012 By Shelf LifeAmazon review: “After buying the pens I noticed a silvery blue light coming from my desk. The pens were glowing, ethereal, like an aura of woman was pulsating from their inner ink tubes. I looked out of the window, and sure enough a full moon was glowing. Just as the moon affects the tides which draw our menstrual cycles around, the Cristal BiC were responding with an unworldly glow to the feminine mystery of the moon. I swept them into my hands and wrote job applications to be a model, responded to dating ads and wrote letters to long lost family. All of them were successful. I now have a handsome partner, am admired for my looks, have lots of friends to have brunch with and am more sexually satisfied than ever.Which is why once a month you will hear me loud and clear shouting, nay rejoicing at the moon: "I am a BiC Cristal owner: I AM WOMAN!"Would have been five stars but the packaging's quite hard to get into without a man around. 4/5”
  • Helps you to think more deeply beyond what the product does for you
  • Need to get into examples more quickly


  • 1. Gender makes the worldgo round …
  • 2. Women and men ‘do’ gender• How we dress, speak, act is all affected by gender• It’s a complex series of negotiations we all make• It changes and develops over time• It affects the products we buy and the brands we identify with
  • 3. Gender relies on us understandinga complex set of codes
  • 4. Gender is not ‘nature’ and is not fixed Same person different genders
  • 5. Same sex, different genders
  • 6. Same sex, different genders
  • 7. Different sexes, same gender
  • 8. Female sex, masculine gender
  • 9. That was easy, but it gets morecomplicated …
  • 10. Products are gendered too … Car = masculine Women = feminine
  • 11. Car = masculine Woman = masculine
  • 12. Car = masculine Man = masculine
  • 13. You need to understand how gender codingworks, and use it to get your messages and yourexecutions right.
  • 16. Gendered relationships: people
  • 17. Getting the gender relationshipright is crucial
  • 18. Brand/consumer relationships WOMAN / WOMANINTIMATE DISTANT MAN / WOMAN
  • 19. Car = feminine Consumer = feminine
  • 20. Car = feminine Consumer = feminine
  • 21. Beer: hyper-masculine Woman: hyper-feminine
  • 22. Gender trouble: We know the‘woman’ on the right is reallymeant to be a man.
  • 23. Gender trouble: Beer is ‘masculine’yet they’ve feminised and alsomade it a ‘phallic’ symbol
  • 24. Gender is not easy – so it’s not hardto get the relationship wrong
  • 25. Feminine category / feminine product /feminine brand … …Masculine advertising
  • 26. Hyper-masculine brand / hyper masculineadvertising “For many men, this ad goes too far”
  • 27. Gender is not one thing – thereare many versionsExcept in advertising …
  • 28. All girls like pink, don’t they?
  • 29. Our customers are all mums.They all have lazy husbands and love love cookingand cleaning don’t they? “What a load of sexist drivel” Mumsnet620Complaints from men and women
  • 30. Molson Coors spent 3m developinga ‘feminine’ beer The brand was ridiculed in the press and pulled after 11 months
  • 31. Dell’s lady’s laptop - laughable“Some might say what Dell has done is smart marketing, butDella is just plain dumb and the audience its geared to is not”
  • 32. Embarrassing? For Femfresh, yes.“You can stick your feminine hygiene product ads upyour hoo haa” The Guardian
  • 33. Who wants negative feedback on social media and in the press?We can help you evaluate creative executionsand avoid costly mistakes
  • 34. We get gender. And we canhelp you get it too.
  • 35. Madwomen workshops and training will openyour eyes to gender and how you can use it toyour advantage. Learn how to use your gender lens to sell smarter to women
  • 36. Brands are getting it wrong.If you get it right, the opportunity is huge. WWW.MADWOMEN.CO.UK Contact Kate Frearson on: 07986 003495
  • 37. Thank you