I am not a woman. This may come as a shock, given my sleek and slickly stylish dome and ratty Scottish-highland-wannabe beard.
However, I am lucky enough to know many intelligent and erudite people who happen to be women.
My question to them, as folks of the female persuasion, was if the simplistic marketing tactic of "It's pink, women will buy it!" annoyed them as much as it annoyed me.
Turns out it did, sort of.
I am ill equipped (literally and figuratively) to write about a female perspective on consumer electronics, so I present their responses verbatim. Of course, a conversation with my friends hardly constitutes a scientific survey, but as they are smarter than me, consumers, and of course women, their opinion on the topic is far more valid than mine.
My question was: "It seems like every time a company puts out a product 'aimed towards women' it's pink and has some cutesy, mildly condescending marketing to go with it. I figure if I've noticed this, you all have an opinion on it. Thoughts?"
Hell yeah, I've noticed and it's annoying. There are a lot of colors in the spectrum women enjoy, and I don't see everything targeted at men in shades of baby-ass blue...
I also made a point of NOT buying a car from the cheesy used car salesmen who described everything he showed me as "cute" or "cheeky." I was more interested in something with "good mileage" and "low interest"...
Here's my take: These things wouldn't get made if there weren't a market for it. I know one girl specifically that gets super excited for pink KitchenAid products. Hey, I dig chrome. To each his/her own. But what bothers me is when manufacturers feel the need to alter the product to dumb it down and slap a "lady" label on it. And then charge us more for the privilege.
I'm a realist. Stereotypes are around for a reason. A lot of girls like cute things. A lot of women like "designer" things. Sometimes I fall into those categories. Sometimes not. I know men who are WAY more excited about the idea of a Vera Wang iPad case than I am. But the key is that, especially when it comes to technology, the companies realize that we are, in fact, able to use the tech just as well as any guy. Even if it does have a panda on it.
I wouldn't say it annoys me, but I do find it amusing, mostly because I'd never buy a pink CE device. I think the "pink push" is more prevalent in the realm of gadgets and handhelds, probably because the designers don't have the funds or the freedom to do much beyond changing a product's color. Then the PR team is left with no choice but to be mildly condescending because the product doesn't offer anything else that's different.
In the world of speakers, TVs, and Blu-ray players, manufacturers have generally been more subtle — and, I think, more effective — in how they market products to women. They recognize that women do appreciate a stylish aesthetic and might pay more to get it. So, the more attractive designs are often reserved for the top-tier models in a line. The overall push for better-looking products that you'll want to show off is a nod to the buying power of women, yet there's nary a trace of pink to be found.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.
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