<laurie> Hi you guys... where do you
want to start?
<Laurie> Let's start w/ ads - any good ones out there
in your view, w/ respect to women's portrayal?
<lak238> One's for secret, kind of like women's power
<lak238> women are portrayed as strong, not sexual
<Laurie> I agree. For me, the best ads about women are
simultaneously realistic and inspiring, or funny...
<Laurie> Well.. how do you feel about sex in ads, such
as Herbal Essence / "Urge"?
<orngjuce4u> sex sells
<Laurie>Yes, but do you all think you can both sell,
get people to watch, and do it intelligently re women?? or
is that too serious a goal for advg?
<orngjuce4u> With all the dominant ideals of women needing
to be beautiful, skinny and sexy...how do you think advertisers
should appeal to women?
<Laurie> Good question. I think there should be a way
to celebrate real women, and beauty in all its forms. There's
a lot of research that shows girls really are affected by
ads, so we need to be responsible---
<Laurie> For instance, I think Adidas and Visa (last
2 Olympics) portray women in a very + light. What about you
<orngjuce4u>This is true but I don't think that advertisers
have grasped this idea of presenting average women
<orngjuce4u> Why would they need to if the skinny, beautiful
sexy women are helping sell their products
<Laurie> Some have - Tylenol for women; Mastercard's
spot showing a daughter and mom in Ireland, where the daughter
"gets" where her mom "comes from"...
<orngjuce4u> stick with what works right?
<Laurie> Clearly, some do stick w/ the "old"
view of skinny/beautiful. But a lot have smartened up... per
a couple examples above.
<orngjuce4u> Tylenol and Mastercard are trying to appeal
to a different audience then say Herbal Essence
<orngjuce4u> what about the age bracket 18-24
<Laurie> YES! Here's my ?: I'm not in Herbal Essences
target - I'm too old - if any of you are in the target, do
you like the ad or do you find it offensive? what would an
18 year old say?
<orngjuce4u> Maybe ridiculously appealing
<Laurie> We advertisers have a good challenge - fit
the target's mindset. Entertain them. So they'll hear us and
listen... AND... be responsible and realize we are affecting
attitudes. It's not easy.
<orngjuce4u> How do you feel about men in advertising?
<Laurie> Men? In what regard?
<orngjuce4u> Overall stereotypes that are portrayed
<orngjuce4u> What do you think men are portrayed as?
<Laurie> Women are sensitized to care about how we are
portrayed. So that's more on everyone's radar screen. When
beefcake shows up - like in the old Diet Coke ad - it sometimes
can be funny...
<Laurie> BUT: some beer ads that make guys look like
idiots, is not "good " advg to me, but it does appeal
to that target . So, you have to be fair to the advertisers'
<Laurie> What are you asking? I mean, in evaluating
an ad, I try to consider who they want to speak to, and in
doing so, if it is perpetuating a stereotype or not....
<orngjuce4u> Can you give me an example of an ad that
you feel accurately portrays men?
<Laurie> Here's an analogy: Eminem is cool today. I
find that scary, but to a kid who likes the music, I don't
<Laurie> To orgj... I in truth haven't thought about
it that way.... have you?
<monk> Laurie, given that playing on stereotypes is
perhaps the simplest way of engaging the widest segment of
a target market, do you have any thoughts on how advertisers
can hope to positively impact social conventions, rather than
reinforce negative or at least restrictive ones?
<monk> I suppose specifically in a concrete manner,
not a nebulous 'feel-good' way.
<Laurie> Yes, that' s why I mentioned Adidas, VISA,
Nike, even Mattel & Barbie. They are staking part of their
brands' identities on portraying a fresher more positive role....
it takes insight to see it, then creativity & courage
to do it.
<Laurie>Well, feel-good & nebulous is in a way the
currency you have in a 30 second spot
<monk> OK, I can see using an established brand to good
effect. What about a case where the company or product doesn't
have the advantage of being a part of the popular daily culture?
<Laurie> I mention the 30 secs, because the advertisers'
#1 goal is to sell their product, and that image around is
a component, but advertisers are not in the business to actively
create social values, in my opinion.
<monk> But advertisers affect social values, so to some
extent they must accept that responsibility.
<Laurie> Their #1 job is to establish their brand -
the rest is being responsible, but not necessarily their goal.
Lucy of Portland shows it is theirs; other new brands/products
<Monk> OK. Thanks for your time.
<Laurie> Monk raised a good point - if all advertisers
were sensitive, it would be great. But some don't feel it's
key to their brand's success.
<orngjuce4u> When it comes to advertising to teenage
girls... do you think that average teenage girls would respond
better to average girls?
<Laurie> Yes, in that research shows ads today are making
them feel pressure re weight, sex, etc.
<Laurie> Orngju, what's your thought on this?
<Laurie> If anyone's interested, my thoughts for what
makes for good advg re women's roles: realistic, inspiring,
funny, celebrating whatever it means to be a woman, in many
<orngjuce4u> How about good advg for men?
<Laurie> Dear O, it would be the same, but... is advg
to and about men as much of an "issue"?
<orngjuce4u> isn't this a discussion on GENDER portrayals?
<orngjuce4u> or do you feel that men are accurately
<orngjuce4u> How about men in women's ads?
<orngjuce4u>What do these men say about women?
<Laurie> Absolutely! All I meant was, in my experience,
most people are more focused on the woman's side of the issue!
As I mentioned earlier, I feel there's a lot of beer advg,
for example, that is dreadfully "off" re understanding
& celebrating "men"...
<moderator> question from dennis: Does your agency have
any special policies about the portrayal of women or any other
group? How are they enforced?
<Laurie> No formal policies per se.
<Laurie> It comes down to each advertiser. A soda brand
has a wider range than a pharmaceutical company, for instance
<Laurie> To the men in the group - does any beer advg
bother you? Or is it all funny?
<moderator> question from Dennis: Who determines if
the lead acting role is male or female? Have you seen research
that shows women respond better to men as authorities?
<Laurie> Good ?. I'm not aware of any
research. Generally, we believe that it's not the gender of
the role or spokesperson, as much as it is their image; personality;
etc. does that fit the brand and /or the target's views.
What do you think about men that are depicted in women's ads?
<Laurie> to ORNGJ: What about them - sorry, I don't
<orngjuce4u> Don't you think that it degrades women
to have men in the advg...as to say.. do this or look like
this and you'll get the man?
<Laurie> In a case such as this, perhaps. It depends
on the ad. But women do buy things & do things to "get
the man", so it's a ? of should a man be saying it??
Is that your point?
<moderator> question from Dennis: I have research that
shows women are used less than men as the lead actors for
products that women purchase. Is this a misalignment?
<Laurie> It could be that " traditionally",
advertisers felt a man's voice + presence = authority. But
that's changing, from my own view of things over last 15 years
in the business.
<orngjuce4u> In the next couple years women will gain
more and more of the buying power... do you think this will
force businesses to change the way they appeal to women in
<Laurie> For instance, the New York Times as well as
different financial houses now use women voiceover announcers
in their ads
<Laurie> Some sociologists and trend readers speak to
the changing role of women as a leading force that marketers
are responding to... using more women as voiceovers is one
small manifestation of this. Our culture is more female-oriented
in some ways. Women are changing offices; ads; a lot of places
<moderator> question from Dennis: What you are saying
is true but the research shows that ads have not reflected
that change. My research showed women were less than 30% of
<Laurie> I'm referring to the qualitative changes; your
#s may well be true
<moderator> Any last questions for Laurie before we
wrap this up?
<orngjuce4u> what do you think is the technique most
used in advertising and why?
<Laurie> what do you mean technique - humor vs sex vs
X? I'm not following?
<orngjuce4u> Yes they are all techniques that are used
but what do you find to be the MOST used technique?
<Laurie> It really depends on the category. Humor is
right for some areas, but not for others...
<orngjuce4u> Is there a way I get get a copy of this
<Laurie> Advertisers try to have a point of view and
get heard by their audience. If their target generally has
a light view of the category, then humor is perfect. But it
comes down to understanding your consumer's needs and attitudes
of the category. That's what makes the best ad.
<moderator> If any one has any further comments you
would like to share, please feel free to post in the aef.com
Bulletin Boards. A complete transcript of this discussion
will be posted tomorrow.
<moderator> Stay tuned for future Online discussions.
<Laurie> Bye to all - thanks!