According to a survey published by Mediaprism in November 2012 for the Laboratoire de l’égalité (equality laboratory), 56% of women and 34% of men feel they come into contact with sexist behaviour on a daily basis. (1) How can we explain this persistence of gender stereotypes? Who can be held responsible? What measures should be taken to fight against sexism? How can we make both the public and brands aware of the issues caused by stereotypes?
The media world receives sexism accusations
The majority of participants in this study believe the media are particularly responsible for the persistence of stereotypes. In fact 67% of them are in favour of a watchdog committee who would be responsible for ensuring that television ads do not reflect gender stereotypes. Nearly 8 out of 10 participants also believe that both public and private television should join the fight against stereotypes.
Born from the imagination of theatre designer Simon Bénarousse, who found children’s clothes too simple and boring, the brand “Du Pareil au même” (translation: “six of one, (and) half a dozen of the other”) has always been defined by fun and colourful products. After the brand’s first store opened in 1986, the French success story is now really taking shape. A baby line was launched in 1994 and then a line of shoes in the 2000s, the club card (loyalty program) was launched in 2004 and events take place regularly. By 2013 the brand was present across 32 countries, had 2.5 million subscribers to its loyalty program and opened its 600th store. (1) How has the brand changed the clothing market? How has it developed its strategy? How does it communicate to mums?
The children’s clothing market
As the fastest growing sector of the apparel market, the children’s sector is supported by positive structural factors, including a growing target population, the fact that children change size and shoe size every 6 months until they hit adolescence, the rise in the average age of women when they have their first child (stronger buying power), etc. However, according to the Xerfi institute, it seems to be struggling in the economic context of 2013. Specialists brands are competing with extensions of adult brands (Zara Kids, Mexx Kids, Gap Kids, etc.) who are trying to gain customers from the child sector. (2) This is why DPAM re-launched its marketing strategy, expanding its digital offer amongst other initiatives.
Be reassured, informed, understood, guided, more beautiful. These are the main needs of expectant mothers. Although responding to all these needs is not an easy task for companies, one brand, among others, has established a reputation for itself in the relatively niche market of pregnant women. That brand is Clarins. What factors have caused this success? What is the « baby » strategy of this cosmetics brand?
The long established relationship between Clarins and future mothers
In 1993, Clarins was already making an impact on the cosmetics for expectant mothers market when it published the book « Pregnancy, the most beautiful days of your life. » The brand was launched; Clarins established itself as the brand leader for beauty advice during pregnancy.
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)
Helena Rubinstein celebrates her 110th year of existence, an opportunity for Womenology to look back at the path of a woman who is anything but normal.
Helena Rubinstein: businesswoman
Born in a Krakow ghetto, Helena Rubinstein, whose real name is Chaja Rubinstein, is the eldest in a family of eight children. Very quickly, she left her family and moved to Melbourne. It is there that she would create her first cosmetic item; a restorative ointment called « Valaze. » In 1902, she opened her first beauty salon and sold her own products. Then she set out to conquer the world: London, Paris, New York, Chicago … Helena never stopped.
A new jewel dedicated to women: the Twingo Mauboussin.
Mauboussin has once again broken the codes of the jewellery world by partnering up with the world famous car manufacturer.
On Valentine’s Day 2012, Renault released a special edition of their essential Twingo. The initiative is part of a new marketing approach that targets women by using co-branding. It should be noted that this special series Twingo is not the first for women. Indeed, in November 2010, Renault released the limited edition Miss Sixty.
On February the 14th, 2012, Guerlain launched a web series for its Imperial Orchid range. On the 2nd of March 2012, they unveiled the campaign ‘La petite Robe Noire’ and signed a new explosive marketing campaign.
In 2009, the first edition of the perfume La petite Robe Noire was brought onto the commercial market. During that period the new fragrance was only available in the Guerlain boutiques in Paris. Elsewhere it was very difficult to obtain the elixir with sweet notes of lemon and vanilla or even rose and violet. In 2012, Thierry Wasser added to the aroma with black cherry and bergamot on the head notes, heart notes of Black Rose and base notes of smoked tea and patchouli. ‘La petite Robe Noire’, is a sensual, delicate and ultra feminine perfume and has been available since March 5, 2012. At the time, Guerlain shook codes with the launch of a massive multimedia campaign.
With its advertising campaign “family is sacred”, Eram counts on irony to twist advertising clichés about the family unit.
By showing families with gay parents or a “cougar” mother in a relationship with a younger man, the brand has distinguished itself.
It has been an original and provocative initiative which has disturbed the most conservative people in France.
A campaign which reflects social mutations
“As my two mums say, family is sacred,” announces a mixed-race little girl surrounded by two women with clear skin. “As my mum and her boyfriend, who could be my older brother say, family is sacred,” claims another little girl who is fair-haired. With stepfamilies, lesbian couples, “cougar” mums in relationships with younger men, or adopted children, identities are multiplying. The figure of the mother may be heterosexual or homosexual, family can be “reconstituted”, but the spirit of family remains. This idea surprises and calls out to people in an advertising world which doesn’t always echo social changes. But more than merely being surprising, this ad provokes. It plays on the wavelengths between the expression “family is sacred”, which refers to traditional and religious values, and images reflecting the new family structures. Especially by making the kids be the ones talking, Eram insists on the fact that their lives are not destabilised by these social mutations.
Roxy, the sportswear line for women, introduced by the Quiksilver brand, has always been a pioneer in women’s sports by designing clothing that’s both practical and feminine. But Roxy is also intent on promoting female sport by organising events. The latest one? An international surf contest… for women only.
From the 11th to the 17th of July 2011, the Roxy Pro surf contest took place in Biarritz, in partnership with Orange.
Gathering together the best female surfers on the planet, including reigning world champion Stephanie Gilmore, the event created a sensation on surfing websites… all the more so as the contest was broadcast live on the brand’s website. Novices were also catered for, as Roxy organised introductory surf lessons and sports demonstrations alongside the main contest. A nice way of showing that board sports aren’t reserved for men…