BIC 'Pens for Her' (for us human beings with more delicate hands); pink and blue Kinder Eggs (because what little girls could possibly like blue?) and now - in the ULTIMATE female focused mash up - Seat has joined forces with every modern woman's best friend, Cosmopolitan, to create a car for women.
This new car has, not unsurprisingly, released an outpouring of anger and irritation from friends on my social networks, furious not just at being patronised by marketers once again (sorry guys - sorry) but also on behalf of the thousands of women (and men) who have driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Blimey - there have even women teetering on the edge of FI (I am looking at you Susie Wolff).
This article, or indeed the hundreds of Amazon reviews for BIC's 'Pens for Her', articulate this far, far better than i ever could.
But what leaves me flummoxed, utterly bamboozled, is how can brands as big as Seat and Cosmo (and for that matter BIC and Kinder) - brands at the front line of retailing, brands which must hire the best marketers in the world - possibly think it is OK to treat 50% of the population as one, homogenized, group.
More specifically how could Cosmopolitan, the magazine which prides itself on, indeed was founded on, the premise of understanding all of us women, in all our myriads of complexities - from our sex lives to our work lives, our fashion sense to our sense of well being, our role as daughters and our roles as mothers - how could it possibly turn its back on that heritage and blanket us all together in a one car fits all (women) scenario.
Its baffling. We know, indeed I and my colleagues have written about on a number of occasions, the trick to marketing in 2016 is PERSONALISATION. Treating us as individuals, understanding how we tick, what we want, when we want it etc.
And - do you know - I actually don't actually HATE the concept of this car per se (though give me a throaty, low slung, open top TR6 any day (but that's just me - I love a classic). I am, after all, a marketer at heart, and as such I heart a brand tie up. Perhaps if Cosmo had created the Cosmo-Seat car, a car curated by Cosmo readers - suitable for the age and lifestyle of their average reader- it could have worked. And Seat might have tapped into a market, a younger, professional female dominated market, they perhaps have not been able to tap into until now.
But, they didn't do that. They lumped us "wimmin" all together. They assumed we would be OK with that. They assumed we are all the same, when we know that is laughable. No one is the same, anywhere.
They ignored, for whatever bizarre reason (as I am assuming the last thing they meant to do was alienate their audience), a fundamental tenet of marketing - and in doing so made a big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now....
.... followed by a new business meeting, picking up the kids, going to my drama lesson and - you know - all the individual things I do every day - the things that make me - me.
“The Mii by Cosmopolitan is being designed to meet women’s daily needs,” continued the threat. The panic-inducing words “most female-focused car yet” and “a tribute to the modern woman” followed. The colour … what would the colour be? “We can’t yet reveal much about the car – though we will say the colour is EVERYTHING” was the promise of doom from its designers. For “women”, en masse. That ethereal and imaginary group that marketers pretend exist, who all want the same things. And for those things to only come in certain shades, low in calories, and full of soft feelings and romance, because “women” are idiots.