Banner Advertisement

Real You: Dear Advertisers. It’s me, Female Consumer.

Posted on | June 20, 2008 | 2 Comments

By Kaira Sturdivant Rouda

Every month I’m excited to read my favorite magazine. I open the glossy cover with its witty teasers to find: full-color, beautiful woman, product, no substance (flip). Repeat. Repeat. Great content (finally!). Flawless woman, product (flip). It’s a vicious cycle. I quickly move past the ads to get to the good stuff.

My most recent issue included:

220 pages
91 advertisements
6 that almost got it right
1 that actually spoke to me

It’s disappointing to say the least. Here you are with your great brand, prime real estate in a highly-circulated magazine, an over-paid advertising agency on retainer and a full page that says … nothing. Hello? Anyone listening out there?

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I realize you have merely seconds to catch my attention. But can’t you do it without portraying me as Martha Homemaker in the kitchen or Claudia Super Model in my new <insert any make-up company here> foundation? Where’s the story? Where’s the connection? Help! What happened to the emotionally captivating messages that accompanied the great imagery?

Many brands try humor (try again). Others go for the happy family (at least you’re considering your audience). Some just don’t care (talking to yourself). And every once in awhile, a brand gets it right. I feel a connection. I know how I will feel, how I will look when I purchase this product. Oh yeah, and I want it now. I can’t live without it. Even better, I tell my friends about it. Perfect scenario, right?

It’s all in the message. Always’ cause marketing and American Express are on target. They get me. They speak to my indulgences, my frustrations and my dreams. They’re simple and inviting. They’re real.

So, advertisers, I challenge you—I dare you—to make me smile, make me think, make me reflect and make me want your product. It’s a lofty goal, but I know you can do it. Just remember me, Female Consumer.

Check back next Friday for another Real You column.

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is the creator of Real Living, the first women-focused real estate brand. She has more than 20 years of experience marketing to women and is the author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. To learn more, visit and join the community.


2 Responses to “Real You: Dear Advertisers. It’s me, Female Consumer.”

  1. Holly Buchanan
    June 24th, 2008 @ 11:12 am

    I am SO totally in agreement. I’ve pretty much given up on women’s magazines for a lot of reasons. But one reason is – I find the ads not only don’t speak to me, they disturb me.
    Imagine, companies and brands spending all that money to actually turn me off as a customer.

  2. Kaira Sturdivant Rouda
    June 24th, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

    No kidding! So many of them are trying to be creative, but they’re missing the mark.

Leave a Reply