After several years of research on behavioral differences in boys and girls, in January 2012, the Lego brand launched a new range for girls; Lego Friends. How does this strategy work? What affinity has Lego established with girls since its origins? Let’s look back at the brand campaigns that marked great years for the brand.
Lego Friends: a new world for girls
« Heartlake City » is the name given to the imaginary city of toys created by Lego for girls. In this fun and colorful landscape, five friends do their favorite activities: decorating their homes, going to the hairdresser’s, preparing food, and working as vets or karate instructors…
Stephen Knapp, Marketing Director for Lego France explains how design varies in the range: « We interviewed girls and found that for them, the experience starts before the construction itself, they have different needs to boys. They want to make their own world, create models all by themselves (…). The figurines are slightly larger, closer to reality, still to construct, but designed to appeal to girls, who didn’t identify with the boy figurines. The figures are characters whose stories girls are invited to discover, their personalities, their worlds, and of course the friendship that brings them together. « (2)
Created in 1979 in the United States, the Happy Meal menu soon found its audience. Its success is partly due to the famous little toy, originally purchased separately and then included in the menu. From basic gifts such as Frisbees or balls, the toys have become more intricate and their quality has improved. McDonald’s now even offer Disney licensed toys. But children’s enthusiasm for the Happy Meal is also down to McDonald’s’ collaborations with recent movie releases. From “Star Trek » to « Star Wars » to « Despicable Me, » McDonald’s has become an essential communication tool to the film world.
However, it is the « gendered » characteristics of these famous toys which have really built up the reputation of the Happy Meal. There’s no need to ask parents around the world to know that the question asked by Mcdonalds staff; “For a Boy or a Girl?” is notorious.
The Happy Meal as a champion for gender stereotypes
Given as gifts, the toys symbolize affection and an intent to please. They also provide a lot of fun for children. But behind this playful front lies a darker aspect to the toys, linked to socialisation. « (…)As both a cultural instrument and a social learning aid, the toy is a key factor in socialisation. This is without doubt the most established, yet most hidden role of the Happy Meal… This is because the toy both triggers and reflects urban communication in the media and in children’s education. It makes that child a product of the times and outlines successive roles that the child will be expected to take on throughout the different stages of life, » writes sociologist Sandrine Vincent.
Innovation is now crucial across all economic sectors. Every year over 30,000 new products are launched in European stores, but less than 30% of them are still around 3 years after their launch. The Toluna survey for the 2012 LSA innovation awards focuses on women and innovation and might shake up some common beliefs!
In fact, 80.2% of French women say that they have bought new products this year, compared to only 76.1 % of men. Even in the very large consumer innovation category, women have almost caught up with men (6.9% and 7.6% respectively). Women are not put off by innovation, quite the contrary.
They also have a broader view of innovation: they don’t just cite High-Tech as one of the most innovative sectors in FMCG, but also Health and Beauty, fresh dairy products, DIY, household appliances etc. To find out more about such innovations, women prefer seeing them in store (58%) rather than in the media (49%), whereas men have the opposite preference.
Women show a growing interest in mobile Internet, as revealed by a Médiamétrie study in November 2012. At that time, they represented 43.7% of people connected to a website or a mobile phone application. This number is steadily increasing, and there are 1 million additional women who are connected to the Internet using a mobile phone compared to November 2011. Furthermore, this increase is greater than the average for mobile users (13% for women against 9% for all mobile users).
An increasing rate of possession
One explanation for this phenomenon lies in the fact that women are more likely to own a Smartphone. In the third quarter of 2012, 49.4% (*) of women using a mobile phone were equipped with a Smartphone, against 39.5% in H1 2012.
Is YouTube female or male? In France, YouTube is the largest video platform. There are more than 24 million Internet users who watch nearly 2 billion videos per month and spend more than 71 million hours *.
1. A growth accelerated by the popularity of women on YouTube
If YouTube is experiencing strong growth in the number of online users on a year (31% **), it is because women are increasingly present. Despite a predominance of men on YouTube (50.5% men vs. 49.5% women), it is the female target which is now seizing the first video platform in France: 34% women in one year vs. 28% of men. The audience profile has now become feminine in one year since the proportion of women increased from 48.5% to 49.5% **
2. On YouTube, women aged between 25-49 are more and more committed than men in the same age group
If we look at the different age groups, it is observed that below the 50-year-old, women using YouTube outnumber men. Thus we count 4.4 million women aged between 15-34 years old on YouTube vs 3, 8 million men in the same age group. ** On a slightly wider age group, we can count 6.3 million women aged between 25-49 years old on YouTube vs. 5.7 million men aged 25-49. An age group which also spends more time than men to YouTube 25-49 years old: 8 minutes 51 seconds per day for women aged between 25-49 years old vs. 8 minutes 17 seconds for men in the same age group. **
In December 2012, the Cabinet Promise Consulting Inc., in partnership with the Huffingtonpost.fr, unveiled the list of the favourite fragrances of French women and French men, for themselves and the ones to offer as a present…
According to this Dior study, Dior J’adore, Miss Dior and Chanel No. 5 prance in the ranking of the most popular fragrances for women. As for the ranking of perfumes that men prefer to offer to women, it is dominated by Chanel No. 5, Dior J’adore and GUERLAIN Shalimar. Through these results, we observe that the large luxury homes maintain a mix between tradition and modernity. They impose their historical fragrances, even though the fragrance market is characterized by introducing new products at a rapid pace.
The 10 most popular women’s fragrances
In July 2013, Kantar Media published a study entitled « Portraits of Women » which demonstrated that, contrary to popular belief, European women have a more rational than emotional relationship with brands. To what extent has the female European consumer changed? What impact has « social networking » had on female buyers? What new challenges are brands facing? The survey, conducted by the TGI Department for Consumer Insight and carried out in several countries including France, Spain, Germany and England, focused on these issues. (1)
« Rational” brands surpass « emotional » brands
Until now, focusing on aspirational and sentimental factors was a definite asset in brand communication campaigns. However, in recent years, female European consumers have begun to question the emotional factor involved in their relationship with brands.
In a changing socio-economic climate faced with new challenges (environmental, societal, etc..), consumers are longer drawn in by « emotional” factors. They want pragmatism. In 2013, only 13% of European women bought products whose values they share, whilst 26% did so in 2006. To echo this, 48% now usually choose the cheapest products, compared with 43% in 2006. What’s more, whilst 57% liked everything new in 2006, this figure has fallen to 46% today.
More surprisingly, they are now less likely to pay more for additive free products, whether it makes life easier or even because it is of good quality (57% in 2006 compared to 52% in 2013). They are, it would seem, more difficult to convince.
Renault presented its new citadine ZOE to the public at the Paris Motor Show. Newest member of the Z.E range, which has to date three other electric vehicles, including its famous Twizy, has as ambassadors David and Cathy Guetta. Renault ZOE will be marketed late in 2012.
ZOE: a green car
This 5 seats citadine, 100% electric, is designed for daily use (given that 71% * of women use their car every day) with an ecological dimension. Because it is very quiet and emits no carbon emissions.
Its design was very neat and clean to please women. According to Renault the design of the car makes you think of an endearing pet, when you look at ZOE it feels as if she is smiling.
Future mothers are a strategic target for brands. To mark the start of a new life, they often remodel their spending habits.
« This is nest syndrome,” observes Tiburce Bertrand, founder of the first advertising company specializing in maternity (BabyAdgency). « Gone is the bohemian life! The house is lined with feathers to shelter the baby. Parents buy sofas, repaint the walls, change the carpets … « (1)
How can companies take advantage of these sales opportunities? What is the media of choice amongst mums? What communication methods should be developed in order to appeal to them?
What methods are best to talk to mothers?
According to professionals in the baby marketing sector, specific media is most effective in reaching out to pregnant women. In the current situation, the advertising message is thus reinforced. Three types of « media » are often favoured: third party inserts, advertisements in specialist magazines (and their websites), and address leasing for direct marketing.
Identifying advertising initiatives that show the opposite of gender stereotypes is an obstacle course.
First, because they are rare, and also because most of them only push away the debate: the shape of the message changes but not the background. Even conquering the woman always ends up back in the kitchen, in the bathroom or laundry room.