Women Watch the Super Bowl, Too

Discussion
Feb 01, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Marketers, including Unilever and Anheuser-Busch, have decided that women have been overlooked for too long — at least during the Super Bowl, that is.


The two consumer goods marketers have taken heed of research showing that 44 percent of viewers for the Super Bowl are female with spots specifically targeted to the fairer and often smarter sex. This year’s game is expected to draw an audience of roughly 89 million people.


Ed Erhardt, president-ad sales and customer marketing for ESPN and ABC Sports, told Ad Age, “As the property (Super Bowl) continues to be seen as a social event, advertisers are clearly using it to reach a wide variety of audiences.” The game’s broadcast, he said, allows marketers the opportunity to communicate a “big message in a big environment.”


Unilever (a RetailWire sponsor) is looking to connect with the nearly 40 million women expected to watch the game with spots from its Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.


According to a report on the Ad Age web site, “Anheuser-Busch VP-brand management Marlene Coulis has been vocal in her desire to turn her back on past Super Bowl ads that have been called sexist by the National Organization for Women, and instead try to appeal to women who make up 20% of its beer drinkers.”


Moderator’s Comment: What do you think about the strategy of targeting women with commercials aired during the Super Bowl broadcast? How can retailers
use the focus consumers have on the Super Bowl to purchase products not normally associated with a strictly male audience?

George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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14 Comments on "Women Watch the Super Bowl, Too"


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Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 1 month ago

The Super Bowl is an all-gender sport
And watching it gets strong female support.
So, ad mavens, target those savvy gals
And convert them into your products’ pals.

Ah, retailers, don’t let those suppliers
Be the only set of extra sales pliers.
Feature each team’s female blouses and shoes
Then watch your team play football, win or lose.

Karen Kingsley
Guest
Karen Kingsley
15 years 1 month ago

Spotbowl.com

Just one more way to enjoy the game if you don’t happen to hail from PA or WA

James Tenser
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

The assumption that the Super Bowl broadcast is an exclusively male domain was obviously made by male advertising executives – in the 1960’s. Times have changed.

Today the Super Bowl is not a testosterone-charged battle of rules-based territorial acquisition. It has become a brightly-colored, choreographed marketing circus/national holiday with a sports event woven in. Of course the spectacle is of interest to many women – most, from the baby boom on, have grown up with it. Many like an excuse for a little party as much as the next man.

So I am a bit puzzled when advertisers talk of appealing to women as if it was a new idea. Ads in recent years for beer, cars, sport shoes, financial services, soup and computers have pretty much gender-neutral appeal.

Kai Clarke
Guest
15 years 1 month ago
This is an often misguided message. Because we don’t see women specifically targeted in a mass ad, we tend to believe that it is not for women. A popular truck company found this out when they tried to target their trucks (“Does more work than most men” campaign) specifically at women. The Super Bowl is an advertising bonanza for the masses, not for specific segments. However, when we see the latest office superstore ads, airline ads, restaurant ads, etc. it doesn’t mean that they are only targeted at men. Women drink beer, but it doesn’t mean that the commercials have to be putting down men, or only appeal to men to be successful. Good advertising is about communicating a clear message and moving your audience to action. Alienating one sector of your audience in favor of another is not the effective way to do this. You will find that there aren’t any commercials which dismiss women in order to appeal to men (i.e. a truck ad which reads “smarter than most women” would also be… Read more »
Michael L. Howatt
Guest
Michael L. Howatt
15 years 1 month ago

A friend of mine was telling me last night that she was going to a “Tea and Crumpets” Super Bowl protest party. The guys would be banished to the basement and the girls would be upstairs doing all sorts of things. She then said, “I’m sure we’ll turn on the game but won’t let the guys know it.” So I say yes, advertising to women is a good idea.

Tim Duthie
Guest
Tim Duthie
15 years 1 month ago

The answer to the poll is “really all of the above”. Everyone has their own reason for watching the Super Bowl and for some it’s a little bit of everything. The whole is the sum of its parts. You take once piece away and you will lose some of the luster that has made the Super Bowl the event that it is.

Dawn Cripe
Guest
Dawn Cripe
15 years 1 month ago

The assumption is that advertisers need to promote products targeting the female audience only, which may alienate the male audience. Isn’t the reality that we women drink beer, too? Oh, by the way, we like a close shave, too, but on our legs, so why not show a clever commercial with close shaves for both? …and besides, aren’t the beer commercials with animals the best…and keeps the gender message neutral?

Think broader.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Assuming that the audience was mostly male led to the revelation, after looking at the data, that females compose a good portion of the audience. Assuming that you know that female audience will result in more blunders. Who are those female consumers? Are they your consumers? What is of value to them? Making major decisions based on assumptions will keep advertisers in a tenuous situation even if they recognize that 40% of the audience is female.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Simple question. It’s all about the money. If you have enough eyeballs of your target demographic (which includes niches) and it is cost-effective, you do it. Otherwise, you don’t. You’d be nuts to target just a niche. Obviously, advertising that dismisses any group is very bad news. And Karen, why don’t you get back on and tell us what web site you were talking about, where you can rate the ads? Sounds like great fun.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 1 month ago

“Where have the Super Bowl advertisers been?”, is the question.
If women are a major part of the audience, then address them.

Or, are the advertisers telling us they can spend their ad dollars more effectively than this one time show? Hmmmmmmm.

Karen Kingsley
Guest
Karen Kingsley
15 years 1 month ago

My (women) friends and I added another pool to the traditional points grid. We created a grid of the top Super Bowl advertisers and found an online site that is polling viewers by quarter as to which were the best spots. The person whose advertisers have the two highest rankings win each quarter. This way we will be rewarded financially for watching commercials. (Some of this is the work of an ad person [me] trying to support the industry.) I have a number of women who have joined in and am being pooh-poohed by the guys. Ah well.

Matt Werhner
Guest
Matt Werhner
15 years 1 month ago

Ed Erhardt is correct. The Super Bowl is not just a game; it is an event that appeals to a broad audience. The numbers do not lie. With 40 million women expected to watch the game, it only makes sense for marketers and ad agencies to increase their target audience. Also, expect more ads targeting the growing and extremely lucrative Hispanic market. Toyota will be the first carmaker to have a spot that targets Hispanics during the Super Bowl.

In an event of this magnitude, the biggest challenge for advertisers going forward will be targeting specific audiences such as women and Hispanics, while still appealing to all Super Bowl viewers.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Great ads have the widest appeal. They appeal to both genders, all races, all ages, rich and poor. It’s hard to get the right creativity to achieve wide appeal, but it’s available for the right price. The creative cost is tiny, considering the millions spent to air the spots.

Smart retailers accept manufacturer displays that fit the requirements of widest appeal. It isn’t necessary to exclude a group to achieve better sales in the “heavy user” target group.

BTW, the smartest advertisers will demand “protection” or walk away from using the Super Bowl. “Protection” means your ad will be the only one in the category. Auto manufacturers, beverage companies, and cellular providers typically don’t get protection, so their ad impact is awful. Effectiveness is reduced when there are 5 different car ads in 15 minutes.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Several of my American women friends will be watching the SuperBowl but they are all doing it for the sport. Not a single one of them is the least bit interested in either ads or the half time show. My mother is one of them and has elected to stay home and watch rather than go to the Cirque du Soleil which genuinely tempted her but she says that as she watches the games all season, there is no way she will miss the big one. Perhaps she and my friends are atypical but it is certainly possible that those women who do watch are there for the game and nothing else. Which means, in my book, that they are all the more likely to find the ads sexist and patronising – advertisers, beware.

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