Rethinking Pink

Has the era of marketing products specifically for women come to an end?

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In Today's Issue

Science Reminds Us That Not All Women Like “Pretty” Marketing

So you’re trying to figure out how to spice up that photo for your product ad. It’s a product aimed at women, and you’ve got a few options from the design agency.

Obviously, you should aim for the creative that’s more feminine, right?

Not so fast.

New research finds that women make purchase decisions less by design-first features, like colours and the way an object is shaped, and more by… wait for it… how good it is. (Honestly, I’m a big fan of science, but it’s a little bit sad we needed a research paper on this. Anyway.)

Throughout 11 experiments scientists found that when choosing items for female (vs male) people were 2.8 times more likely to pick a prettier USB memory stick. There was no such difference when females were picking for themselves.

Even when people are reminded that they are probably biased, they continue to make the same choices.

Why does it work?

We tend to hold certain societal beliefs about gender preferences (e.g. women like beautiful items). 

Some previous research has suggested that women may be more associated with concepts of feelings, while men are associated with rationality…

Women are often portrayed as more concerned with physical appearances. This in turn becomes a stereotype, even in non-beauty products.

Indeed some retailers have tried to pinkify things they didn’t need to.

Probably the most awkward attempt was when Dell Computers made the Della web site aimed at women, which looked like something out of the 50s.

Dodge even made a separate car called the La Femme, which was basically just the same car but in pink and beige tones.

Twilio CEO Steps Down Amidst Boardroom Battle

Some boardroom drama at Twilio — a marketing platform used by many marketers in the DTC space.

The company’s co-founder Jeff Lawson yesterday said he is stepping down as CEO and board member, and handing the reins of both those roles to a long-time company executive.

This is apparently all because of backroom pressure from two activist investors who have been pushing for changes at the top.

But will it be enough to placate the rabblerousers? It might not be. Both want Twilio to sell itself or completely divest its data and applications business.

The company recently laid off laid off 5% of its workforce.

Its shares closed up about 7% last night on the news.

Does your brand/agency use Twilio?

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Google to Will Delete Web Sites Made With GBP on March 1

Heads up if your company’s web site was made using the light-weight Google Business Profiles tool — the company yesterday announcing it is shutting those down, and soon.

Web sites made with Google Business Profiles will stop working on March 1.

For a brief time — about two and a half months — that URL will redirect to your Business Profile listing, but for some reason, after that period on June 10th, they’ll also delete the redirect.

People will then get a 404 Page Not Found error.

Barry Schwartz at noted in his coverage of this today that Google’s own web site recommendations say that 3 months is too short for redirects.

The web site builder was launched about five years ago.

Google says they’re shutting it down due to low engagement.

Amazon Prime Video Comes Out Swinging

Amazon really wants part of your ad budget — especially, if you’ve got a chunk set aside for streaming video. Adweek reports this week that the company will launch ads at the end of January and the CPMs will be in the low- to mid-$30 range.

That’s actually a great deal, considering that Netflix and Disney+ initially put their CPMs around the $50-$60 mark. Netflix is said to have cut it back to a more reasonable $39-$45 because of lower-than-expected interest at that higher price.

Amazon’s also taking an interesting risk with consumers by switching all its users over to the ad-supported streaming plan by default. That certainly will increase the pool of available eyeballs for advertisers, but is a revenue risk for the company. If people don’t want ads, they’ll have to pay $3 a month.

That means the vast majority of the 289 million global Amazon Prime households (with 94.5 million in the US) will now become ad-supported viewers.

By comparison, Netflix reported that it had reached 15 million ad-supported subscribers as of November 2023, with total global subscribers across tiers reaching 247 million.

For advertisers, it’s a relatively easy decision: Advertise with Amazon and get cheaper access to streaming audiences than through competing platforms, with a much larger audience out of the gate.

Threads Search Function Was Leaked

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Last night, Threads launched its long-awaited search option that sorts content chronologically. Until now, when you searched for something, you got post results but it was sorted by some unknown algo, probably tied to engagement and follower count, and the usual Meta nonsense.

But then, just as quickly — poof, it was gone.

Turns out, the leaked feature was only an internal prototype and somebody there accidentally hit the “Publish Live” button.

What’s interesting here is that back in November, Meta executive Adam Mosseri said they’re not planning an option to search for the latest results, saying it would create a “safety loophole.”

Having a comprehensive list of every post with a specific word in chronological order inevitably means spammers and other bad actors pummel the view with content by simply adding the relevant words or tags.

And before you ask why we don’t take down that bad content, understand there’s a lot more content that people don’t want to see than we can or should take down.

Adam Mosseri

Many people believe one of the remaining upsides Twitter has over Threads is its lack of real-time post search.

So despite the concerns, maybe they are indeed working on it.

Instacart Partners with Google Shopping

An interesting new partnership between Google and Instacart.

The latter is testing ad campaigns that run inside Google Shopping and bring in its own first party data from its retail network. That network includes a catalog of 1.4 billion products.

So far, it’s mostly food brands in the testing pool — Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Lunchables, that sort of thing.

One example offered by the company shows a high-intent consumer searching for “mac n cheese” on Google Shopping. They get returned a row of sponsored display ads from Kraft linking out to Instacart and promoting same-day delivery. 

Instacart sits in an interesting place in the retail media ecosystem, providing delivery and pickup orders that are sourced from other grocers, many of whom operate their own rival networks.

Securing a stronger connection to Google, still the most-used search engine by a wide margin, could provide Instacart with an advantage as online platforms and retailers push to link e-commerce closer to advertising to get in on a lucrative media opportunity. 

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Fake AI-Created Celebrity Ads Run Rampant

Taylor Swift is popping up on YouTube Ads promoting, well, you’ve got to hear it to believe it.

Yes, Taylor Swift has apparently become so bereft of cash that she’s turned to hawking scammy-sounding schemes.

No, she hasn’t, of course. But that is a real YouTube ad. And 404Media says the recent fakery is everywhere.

Shoddy AI clones of celebrities including Joe Rogan, Taylor Swift, Steve Harvey, Ice Cube, Andrew Tate, Oprah, and The Rock are hawking Medicare and Medicaid scams to millions of people on YouTube with seemingly little intervention from Google.

Ads connected to this scam have been viewed more than 195 million times on YouTube according to a playlist of more than 1,600 videos compiled by a tipster who shared them with 404 Media. 

YouTube has taken down few, if any, of the ads…

The thing is, they’re not even really good AI creations either. Almost all of the video is b-roll. The faked celebrity only appears for the first couple of seconds, and the people behind the ads didn’t even really sync up the mouth to the words that well.

As for why YouTube hasn’t pulled them? That’s a great question. It’s not like they’re hard to find.

One college student was able to get a huge list of them — 16,000 ads — by just looking them up using Google’s own Ads Transparency Center.

It is relatively easy to identify hundreds of videos for the same scam in a matter of minutes, and … Google has seemingly not taken the time to do this.

At the same time, Google continues to collect ad revenue from these companies.

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