Why Do Marketers Waste So Much Money Advertising To Women?

I was watching TV with my daughter when an ad for a sanitary pad came on, ending on the super-jolly voiceover, “Have a Happy Period!”

“Happy period? You have a happy period,” my daughter grumbled. “Men.”

For years, sanitary protection advertising (aka: “san-pro”) has been an easy target of parodies. There’s this one, which rightly communicates that “Happy periods don't exist . . . unless you’re on birth control.”

And this one by the BBC which shows the comedy that occurs when men discuss ‘women’s issues’ with other men.

Could these guys make a great san-pro ad? Doubtful. And maybe that’s the problem with the category altogether. It’s often a man’s perception of how women feel about menstruating. I spent five years working on the san-pro category. My boss, and his boss were guys. My client was a guy. Even the account guy was, well, a guy. (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we did have lots of uncomfortable meetings, but that’s another blog.)

At Womenkind, we like to emphasize the fact that 91% of women say that advertisers don’t understand them. And though women control household spending in the U.S., men continue to control the advertising messages sent to women.

Just to put this into perspective: Total advertising spend in the U.S. is $177 billion. If even half of that targets women, $80 billion is wasted every year on messaging that doesn’t resonate with women.

The Huffington Post recently featured this story: “Even Companies That Sell Tampons Are Run By Men”

I’m not arguing that only women can understand other women. But doesn’t it stand to reason that women have unique insight and should drive the discussion and decision-making for entirely women-centric brands?

$80 billion says it should be.