Targeting women online, or not.

Firstly, I’m a believer of online advertising.  It’s targeted, it’s impactful and it’s sometimes very engaging and funny.  In fact earlier this week I came across a great ad campaign for SmokeFree – targeting parents who smoke. A great, interactive, online ad campaign and if I were a parent who smoked I think it would definitely grab my attention.

Anti smoking advert

I’m not a parent, or a smoker, yet I still noticed the ads. I’ve worked in advertising agencies for the best part of my working life, it’s been my business to know about online advertising; what’s good, what’s not, what won, and what bombed.

However, if I took myself away from this industry I don’t think I’d ever see it.  In my spare time I do quite a lot of internet browsing/shopping – I read the news, I buy clothes, look for holidays, do my banking and sadly I still find facebook strangely addictive. I guess I do all the typical things that an average 29 year old woman in London does. But when it comes to ads on the internet, I just never see an ad for something I’m interested in and nothing seems targeted at me. I never see fashion or beauty brands advertising online, and that is the sort of stuff that I do actually buy on the internet, and I’d buy it on a whim.

Fair enough I have been swayed by the odd financial ad – lower mortgage rates, 0% credit cards – but hand on my heart, I think they are the only online ads I’ve interacted with in my personal time.  I’m online all the time, why don’t my favourite brands target me more? Why can’t I see the Top Shop’s new season when I’m checking my daily news on Guardian.co.uk ? 

Are marketers missing a trick with the female twenty something demographic? I’m happy to be proved wrong but it feels to me that the majority of fashion brands marketing budget still goes into glossy mags and TV spots? I also get the distinct impression that media planners need to think beyond content-related advertising, women who like fashion don’t just read women’s lifestyle publications…!

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