There's $5 Million Down The Drain...

To effectively capitalize on their largest consumers, companies must include women as key members of their marketing and design teams.

There are a lot of things that a person can buy with $5 Million dollars: 1 Million footlongs subs from Subway, 250,000 DVD’s, 150 Lexus cars… Or a thirty-second ad in the Super Bowl. $5 million dollars is a lot to shell out for a thirty-second time slot, which is why it’s all the more surprising that so many companies missed the mark.

The impact of a successful Super Bowl ad campaign can be huge. 84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad was a marked success, earning it a spot in the Top 10 most mentioned brands on Twitter. The ad was such a hit that 84 Lumber's website subsequently crashed, after being flooded by visitors.

Audi, coming in at number six, ran a similarly successful Super Bowl ad. Yet, so many other ads fell completely flat. Here’s why: Of the millions of people watching, approximately 47% of the 2015 Super Bowl’s total viewership were female. In spite of this, few companies actually advertised to women. 

This isn’t a new error in business; for years, companies have notably ignored female consumers in their product design and marketing. Clippit, or ‘Clippy’ if you prefer, was the infamous Microsoft animated paperclip. Despite being designed for helpfulness, he came off as a leering creep. Much a product of male design, Clippit was a massive failure for Microsoft and was quickly given the boot. According to Roz Ho, a Microsoft Executive at the time, “Most of the women thought the characters were too male and that they were leering at them. So we’re sitting in a conference room. There’s me and, I think, like, 11 or 12 guys, and we’re going through the results, and they said, ‘I don’t see it. I just don’t know what they’re talking about.’ And I said, ‘Guys, guys, look, I’m a woman, and I’m going to tell you, these animated characters are male-looking.”


Another more perilous example is the automobile industry’s resistance to recognize gender differences in safety tests. It wasn’t until 2011 that female crash dummies became formally required in test crashes. As a result, cars were consistently designed and tested for the safety of men. Airbags, that may have blown open at the chest for males, were opening at the chin for smaller females. Airbags, intended to provide cushioning for the head and neck, were actually creating a greater risk to women in those same areas. As a result, some testing with female mannequins found that small women were almost three times as likely to be seriously injured or killed as their male counterparts.  


Businesses that do not adapt their marketing and design to account for women will be left behind in our ever-competitive economy. Women now hold 80% of the buying power, making female inclusion imperative.



Allinium applauds gender lingual companies making an effort to speak to women. Female representation on marketing and design teams is, now more than ever, a prerequisite to business success. Without their consult and contribution, businesses will continue to miss the most important customers: women.

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