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Gender Targeting in Advertising

655Gender targeting is one of the Kellogg topics that piqued my interest. Men and women are clearly different, but I found it interesting how some of the different factors of their personalities can be used in targeting a particular advertising campaign towards either gender. Men and women, apparently, differ greatly in how they make judgments - and, thus, their purchase decisions:

  • Men are more likely to:
    • Be quicker in making their decisions
    • More certain about their judgments
    • Be less easily persuaded
  • Women are more likely to:
    • Be slower in making decisions
    • Consider more details in their decision making process
    • Seek more discussion

Therefore, when making decisions,

  • Men tend to be goal-oriented, single-minded, and look for short cuts, such as prior knowledge or the first information presented.
  • While women will tend towards comprehensive information processing, and will tend towards products with more information, not less when making their purchase decisions

This means that, even though gender targeting can be easily presented through the use of obvious, everyday cues (the Heineken ad is a great example of this), the WAY the ad is presented can be just as important in improving the effectiveness of the ad for the target gender. This was a revelation to me!

Some ads try to appeal to both trains of thought - for example, the headline in this AMX ad might appeal to men, while the detailed information might appeal more to women.

I find that the print ads below illustrate perfectly the differences between the male vs. female thought processes. I've never seen them illustrated so well before! I love this campaign.

Print Ad 1 Print ad 2 Print Ad 3

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  1. Interesting ads! If we look at it in a different way, gender targeting is targeting people with different testosterone levels, so it’s not so much one’s gender that dictates the decision making process, but rather the underlying cause of the difference in thought processes.

  2. I agree – the differences are inherent in the genetic builds of males and females. In addition to that though, are the roles that gender plays in society – these reinforce the way their thought processes work. What would you think if a man starts asking his peers for opinion on his suit?

  3. hmm.. i get your point… but i think your example is not very valid Pam. i dun think men are necessarily decision makers when it comes to shopping.. 😉

  4. Not only the way you speak to the audience but colour and image treatments. Then to make things even more complex add in age variations especially for women. Been watching your posts with interest well done on your studies!

  5. Jenny – I mostly advise men and women to shop separately to avoid trouble 😉
    Brett – what can I say? Women are complex creatures. I cannot believe I’m graduating next week! It’s been such an amazing ride.


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