Marketing Gender-Specific Products to the Opposite Sex

Gender roles and gender-specific marketing have saturated the advertising world. Many retail products are sold primarily to men or primarily to women—rarely does marketing equally favor both.

Most advertisers who have gender-specific products fail to realize the opposite sex as a potential market. For example, I know girls who use men’s deodorant while playing sports because it’s more effective. Brands like Old Spice could be attracting much larger audience with its product. Obviously, not all brands are going to benefit from cross-gender marketing, but it’s a strategy that every company should consider.

If you think you’re stuck with a gender-specific product, there is always an opportunity to create an advertising campaign that says otherwise. Take Chevrolet, for example. Most of the advertising for their Silverado compares the strength of the truck to the strength of the man behind the wheel:

No one questions Chevy’s decision to market this huge pick-up truck to men—that’s the target market, right? Well Chevy and advertising agency Leo Burnett in Detroit decided to reach out to females in their new spot, broadening their target market to capitalize on women who make up 15% of truck owners in America.

They didn’t have to paint the truck pink or create an entirely new product for women. Chevy simply recognized an otherwise forgotten target market and tailored its advertising accordingly. This commercial has received almost 50,000 YouTube views and 12,000 social shares in its first week and has female truck drivers praising the company for finally acknowledging them in a marketing campaign.

Quoting a line from the spot, YouTube user Stacy Sophia Clarke commented, “’And a ribbon that goes on her wall…not in her hair’ Well done Chevy! As a woman with a truck and a 1200lb+ passenger, this commercial captured the spirit of teaming with your horse, being feminine but still strong, and the hard work it takes to be successful in equestrian sports. It choked me up. Finally a company that publicly acknowledges women drive trucks too (there are a lot of us!).”

Chevrolet and Leo Burnett reached out to female truck drivers and generated brand loyalty as a result. This is a great example of a company who took a product geared toward men and successfully marketed it to women. Pay attention to the entire market for your product—if you’re engaging in gender-specific advertising, it may be advantageous to target the opposite sex to broaden your company’s reach.

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