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Marketers need to catch up with what women want

The portrayal of women in advertising should come down to an economic debate, meaning brands can’t afford not talk to women in the way they want to be spoken to, according to director of specialist women’s marketing agency, VenusComms, Bec Brideson.

Brideson’s comments come one year on the launch of Getty’s Lean In collection, a curation of images aimed at portraying realistic and powerful images of women. In that time the collection has been licensed in more than 65 countries and includes more than 4500 images.

Brideson said the launch of the collection has been an important change in the industry and said agencies which aren’t using them are doing a “disservice” to their clients.

“It’s basically down to economic debate: women are outspending and making decisions, and marketers have not caught up with that,” Brideson said.

“We should be communicating with women, the world’s largest economic segment, the way they want to be communicated with.

“I definitely see the Lean In collection as progress and that’s why I latched onto it. I was actually aware of the collection as soon as it hit Getty,” Brideson said.

She said the images were integral to a recent campaign the agency created by Australian super fund CareSuper. She said that until finding the Getty collection, the agency struggled to find aspirational images of women in retirement or in the workplace, instead finding most of the images were very passive.

“This is why CareSuper started working with us in the first place. They thought there was just such a lack of communications in the finance world that resonated with women, that they were always depicted in secondary role,” Brideson said

“Here we were trying to get women to take control of their financial futures but women were never being shown in control.”

But Brideson said in some of the more gender neural marketplaces, VenusComms has had to work harder to educate clients on the way women respond to different images.

She said that while the Getty collection has helped, the indsutry needs to move the same portrayal of women into other areas including TV, cinema and online communications.

“Things are changing on a macro social level and I think there is probably 5% to 10% of marketers who get it. I think there is a bus coming called “talk to women the way that they want to be talked to’ and there aren’t a lot of people who know how to get on that bus,” Brideson said.

“I think we need to show women in all stage and phases and walks of life; as they actually are, not an old world cliché of what they were from the 50s and 60s.”

“The more we show women reflecting what their ideals are today, the better everyone is going to be, and more importantly for marketers, the more their brands are going to resonate.”

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Henry Sapiecha

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