MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Market Mothership: Women, Wellness & Ads | March 2, 2011

What, exactly, is the so-called “Me-Covery?” According to Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and Time Inc., who recently reported the results of their joint online study from November of 2010, it’s the name of a phenomenon responsible for a nationwide rise in exercise-related enthusiasm. Even in the country of the world’s most obese citizens — who also own the fattest pets — it’s an encouraging mark of our future fight for fitness, as well as evidence of consumer reemergence into health-minded markets. And perhaps most importantly, it’s a promising sign that, in spite of the economic struggle that continues to numb this nation, Americans are at very least ready for a psychological return from the recession.

The Me-Covery survey, which compiled its data from a field of 1,000 female respondents, found that American women have evolved in mindset since 2009, when primary quotidian goals were “holding it together” and “surviving the day.” Nowadays, the majority of these same women are committed to eating right, looking better and enjoying their lives; 74 percent are buying less fast food than a year ago, 76 percent have returned to their doctors for the first time since the economic depression, and 48 percent are finding inventive ways — online videos and interactive gaming among them — to intensify their DIY workout regimes. Saatchi & Saatchi anticipates and even predicts a “new consumer era” in the wake of these statistics, and suggests a coming shift in advertising: that female-centric fitness messages will center on personal psychological and physical gains for her (see below), not the sexuality she’ll finesse for, well, him.
Meanwhile, the above commercial hints at another huge movement in marketing: the increasing presence and ever-growing power of Mom online. According to Wendy Piersall, whose 15 years in the ad business have allowed her a bird’s-eye view of the emergence of social media, there exist countless reasons that internet industry experts need to keep fingers on the pulse of American mothers. More than 4.4 million moms will be blogging within three years, representing the beloved “mommy bloggers” who are impossibly hard to root against due to their assumed honesty and approachable tones. Of these women, less than a fifth focus on personal matters when writing — meaning that the vast majority write about products and services, and frequently provide their own recommendations which other mothers trust without hesitation. And a staggering 87 million women engage with social media on a weekly basis, which systematically decreases their interaction with traditional media: in a BlogHer study, 24 percent of surveyed women reported watching less television due to blogging, and 25 percent and 22 percent read fewer magazines and newspapers, respectively.

How, then, can advertisers expect to reach women in the complex landscape of 21st century marketing? As proven by countless consumer behavior studies, women are more vital as consumers than their male counterparts: they engage more with media, they make more household purchases and they’re more likely to discuss their buying behavior in social situations. But the two major trends above suggest that ad companies must reinvent certain tactics to reach the coveted female demographic — and the even-more-precious maternal demographic. Campaigns that are honest to the struggle but simultaneous desire for wellness, like Dove’s acclaimed Real Beauty effort, are highly likely to generate positive coverage and product engagement; even more effective are similar campaigns that translate effortlessly into the social media atmosphere, like when 77Kids and TheMotherhood created Do Good Day, which invited mommy bloggers to engage in charity to raise awareness of a new children’s clothing line. Similarly, look for a new series of Wal-Mart commercials in March that, according to strategic planner Katherine Wintsch, will ditch the imagery of “Supermom” for that of realistic motherhood. More and more, mothers — and women in general — want marketing made up of meaningful messages, not models in near-mint condition.

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2 Comments »

  1. http://www.wiimommies.com/

    Hitting both the female purchasers and the materal demographics as well…and throws in the mommy bloggers.

    Definitely an exciting trend for businesses!

    Comment by Alyssa Anderson — March 2, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  2. maternal*

    Comment by Alyssa Anderson — March 2, 2011 @ 1:21 pm


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    Established in 2009 at USC, the Master's of Science in Human Behavior is designed to equip students with knowledge of consumer psychology, social media and market analysis skills. This is our blog. Subscribe

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