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Using humor as part of your marketing to women strategies is often a smart move.  “Brands shouldn’t be afraid to use humor,” said Amanda Stevens from Splash Consulting Group during her 2010 M2W® presentation. “Serious is boring.”  Kotex latest initiative is definitely not boring—especially since they have partnered with Emmy Award winning comedienne Kathy Griffin.  As part of the brand’s Panty-Approved program, the Kotex has launched a 5-webisode series that documents the head-to-toe ‘makeunders’ of their recent “Kotex Project Makeunder” winners.  Thousands of women participated in “Kotex Project Makeunder” which asked women to share their stories about the state of their lingerie drawers with winners receiving a ‘makeunder’ with Griffin and celebrity stylist George Kotsiopoulos.   In the webisodes, Griffin divulges personal stories while she and Kotsiopoulos style the three winners with new head-to-toe looks. Created and produced by BUZZMEDIA, the webisode series was also co-written by Kathy Griffin.  “Kathy and George were the perfect hosts to bring some fun and humor to the lingerie drawer,” said Kotex Brand Director, Aida Flick. “We hope the ‘Kotex Project Makeunder’ program and webisode series inspire women everywhere to embark on their own ‘Makeunder.'” The webisodes can be viewed on KotexProjectMakeunder.com.

The Kotex brand Panty-Approved program started in March 2010 and includes print and digital advertising, an updated website and a 7-day Panty Challenge.

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The importance of connecting with Millennial women has been an M2W® conversation since 2008.  “Millennial women have the power to change everything in the world,” said Gigi Carroll of Draftfcb during her 2008 M2W® presentation.  “They have the power to change everything in marketing.”  And now, according to a new study by Levi’s®, it appears a generational shift in life priorities is truly changing the marketing to women playing field for this new group of women consumers.  Key highlights from the Levi’s® Shaping a New Future study include:

Redefining success and how to get there:

  • Ninety-six percent of Millennial women worldwide list “being independent” as their most important life goal.
  • Last on Millennials’ priority list? Marriage and other more traditional pursuits – being a mother (68 percent), getting married (50 percent) and being wealthy (43 percent), were seen as far less essential in defining success.
  • Not only are Millennial women reshaping what success looks like, they’re changing the way they reach their goals as well. More than half (58 percent) of women worldwide “do not have a definite plan to achieve their long-term goals.” This lack of a “life plan” is precisely what Millennial women seem to relish – and perhaps what makes previous generations so nervous, leading to accusations of Millennials extending childhood into their twenties.

Re-imagining mentorship:

  • While they might not desire a prescribed path, Millennial women do express a need for perspective from other women. To that end, they are re-imagining traditional mentorship – transforming it into a communal exchange that’s two-way rather than one-way, shared among many women rather than one-on-one.
  • In fact, 94 percent of Millennial women agree that “the best mentors are people you can both give advice to and receive advice from.” In addition, 88 percent agree that “a mentor is someone who helps them shape their future, regardless of their age or professional experience,” and 77 percent say that “mentors can be someone their own age.”

In response to these findings, the Levi’s® brand has launched ShapeWhatsToCome.com, a global online community where Millennial women around the world can connect with peers and mentors to shape their futures.  “Since introducing the first pair of women’s jeans 75 years ago, Levi’s® has been a relevant part of women’s lives,” said Mary Alderete, Vice President of Levi’s® Global Women’s Marketing. “Today, young women face more opportunity in their twenties than any generation of women before them. It’s important we understand their mindset and their cultural and societal impact. We truly see ShapeWhatsToCome.com as a community of women changing the world – it’s a global platform of women coming together to share, inspire, grow and shape their futures.”

A new survey of Boomer Women conducted by VibrantNation.com, in partnership with marketing to women expert Holly Buchanan, indicates a dramatic shift in the way Boomer Women think about responsibility for their financial futures—Boomer Women want and expect financial service firms to recognize their independence and their importance as decision makers.  Some other key insights:

  • While almost half of Boomer Women respondents said they were raised to believe a man would take care of them financially, only 3% believe that now with a stunning 97% saying they have to take control of their own financial future.
  • 78% didn’t relate to current images in financial advertising, many of which show women depending on men.
  • Key emotions Boomer Women feel about their futures include fear (52%) and uncertainty (39%) with only 10% expressing calm or security about their financial future.

“Financial service companies that want to help the Boomer Woman maintain her independence need to talk to her directly, not through surrogates like her husband, children or parents,” said Stephen Reily, Founder and CEO of VibrantNation.com. Reily led a roundtable lunch discussion on connecting with Boomer Women during M2W® 2009 and VibrantNation.com is set to be a 2011 sponsor of M2W®.   Added Holly Buchanan, “The language and images used in financial services marketing aren’t connecting with Boomer Women. They prefer images of families (with no clear hierarchy) over images of couples. Terms like ‘feeling financially secure’ and ‘having a comprehensive plan in place’ scored higher than traditional marketing language like ‘wealth management.’”

“This survey underscores the fact that this is a generation of women who want to have as much control over their lives as possible,” said Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Senior Strategist with VibrantNation.com. “Even those who allowed others to call the financial shots prior to the Recession have now taken the reins. Marketers who ignore this trend take the risk of alienating the very decision-makers they now most need to reach.”

Get more from Reily and Orsborn by picking up their latest book, Vibrant Nation:  What Boomer Women 50 Plus Know, Think, Do and Buy. Also, don’t miss VibrantNation.com at the 2011 M2W®-The Marketing To Women Conference, April 13 & 14, 2011, at the Chicago Cultural Center.

During last year’s M2W®, Jeff Weiss and Deborah Adams of Harbinger Communications gave us insight into how the dynamics of word-of-mouth marketing have changed in the ‘real’ and digital worlds and how the lifestage of a woman affects the way she gets and spreads information.  Now, Harbinger has released findings from their latest study that suggests that not only does the lifestage of a woman affect how she uses off and online forms of word-of-mouth, but product category also plays a vital role in how women seek and spread the word about brands.  So which categories are most word-of-mouth worthy?  The study found women are most likely to share information about restaurants (78%), automotive (74%) and entertainment (72%) and are least likely to share their preferences about fashion jewelry and accessories (30%).  Other interesting nuggets:

  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of women rely on friends and family when exploring restaurants, but only 41% rely on them when deciding about clothing or fashion.
  • Half (51%) of ‘Singeltons’ (defined by Harbinger as women who are single, usually under the age of 45 without children), but only a third (34%) of ‘Career Graduates’ (women who are no longer working fulltime; over the age of 50, without children living at home) rely on family and friends when making choices about home furnishings.
  • ‘New Moms’ are the most likely to go online first for product information before turning to family and friends to finalize their choice while members of the ‘Back to Me’ lifestage (women with children who have all left home) are most likely to look to family and friends first for information before going online to finalize their choice.

”Marketers need to be aware of how product category and lifestage impact the decision-making process so they can provide women with relevant, useful information where they prefer to find it,” said M2W® speaker Deborah Adams, SVP, Harbinger.  “Our study has provided a general roadmap for reaching women at different lifestages with category-specific messages.”

‘Real Women’ campaigns are nothing new to M2W®.  Brands such as Dove have been part of the M2W® program and executives from companies like Citibank’s Women & Co. have been part of the M2W® audience giving us greater insight into how using real women in their campaigns has led to greater marketing to women success.  Now Wonderbra® appears to be heading into the real women world for their new web-based series that will feature reality video vignettes that are expected to air in spring 2011.  “Since its debut in 1994, the Wonderbra brand has strived to empower women to feel confident and sexy every day,” said Tricia Bouras, Marketing Director for Wonderbra. “Now we’re looking to cast four real women with that unmistakable Wonderbra appeal as our national brand ambassadors.”  Casting videos are being accepted now through November 19th and Wonderbra will select four winners who best represent specific personas:  the diva, the starlet, the free spirit and the trendsetter.  Not sure how “real” those personas appear to be, but we are looking forward to how the brand will use their web-based reality series to build additional buzz with female consumers.

Popular condom brand Durex® is the latest brand to call on 2010 M2W® Associate Sponsor House Party to help them connect with women.  On October 9th, Durex® held 5,000 Girl Talk House Party™ events with hostesses and their girlfriends exploring new ways to improve their sex lives.  Women learned about the wide assortment of Durex® products available and received tips from Dr. Laura Berman, America’s leading expert in female sexual health.  The Durex® Girl Talk House Party™ event is part of a new Durex® campaign designed to communicate to consumers that the brand is much more than just condoms. “Durex is about great sex and how our products can help couples have better sex together,” said Ahmet Abaci, Vice President of Marketing, SSL Americas.

House party, a company that pioneered the fusion of in-home and digital marketing, specializes in engaging thousands of qualified consumer advocates to host in-home parties where a brand such as Durex® is at the center of the party.  “What better way to connect with women than in-home parties?  The parties enable consumers to engage both in-home and online to explore and promote brands they love,” said House Party, Inc. CEO Kitty Kolding during her 2010 M2W® presentation on how the company has successfully worked with numerous brands including ConAgra Foods.

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