Monday, March 9, 2009

How Marketers Can Get Things Wrong

Marketers are not perfect, we make mistakes, and sometimes we can get it so totally wrong. I got an email a day or so ago from a Facebook API telling me to send ecards to my women friends "that are designed to make them feel 'beautiful'" -- the word beautiful was inside double quotes. The editor alarms inside my head went off, that means so many things! After I managed to ignore the quirky punctuation, I came back to the sentence. I thought International Women's Day was about the exact opposite of that. In fact, this year's UN theme on International Women's Day 2009 is "Women and men united to end against women and girls," I think that includes mental abuse and pressures against girls to conform to standards of "beauty". Unless we want all girls to be anorexic.

Today in the afternoon, I went to a Barista, which is the closest thing to Starbucks out here in Calcutta and my friend sees a small poster saying: "Celebrate Women's Day with size zero." He started laughing. Now this can't be right. Encourage more women and girls to fit in the norm and feel less secure about themselves and lower their self-esteem and self-confidence? That's how you're supposed to celebrate International Women's Day?

All my women friends ARE beautiful, thank you very much. And you can be in all sizes, shapes and forms to celebrate Women's Day. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bra-burning feminist. In fact, I don't like the label. I don't really care about dates and holidays either except for Mother's Day and Father's Day. Christmas, I think is the best way that the Christians back in the days of Constantine marketed their religion. There's no better way of taking over a pagan holiday by saying Christ was born at that time, too. But marketing on a day like this without the depth of what it's all about is just a lost cause. The most ironic thing I find in all this is that capitalists are using a day that began in the Soviet Union to further their causes. It's just the wrong way of going about it. There's nothing wrong with marketing the event and promoting your business, but marketers should at least be sensitive to cultural and social issues that surrounds the event. It looks to me like 'cause marketing' gone haywire.

That's my two cents, what's your take?