Because Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus: how Reader’s Digest reminds us about an often-forgotten targeting basic


so the lovely Emily Fairhead-Keen send me the above chart courtesy of Reader's Digest, outlining the top unfulfilled ambitions for forty-plus men and women.  it makes for a wry chuckle and no doubt will reinforce those perceptions that we all knowingly or otherwise hold close to our chests: that men are generally boys that have failed to grow up and still harbor ambitions to do the extraordinary, and that women are on an eternal quest for self-improvement and fulfillment.

so far so stereotypical, but it made me think about the last time – in a planning capacity – I actively and specifically even considered let alone proceeded to target genders differently.  its not uncommon to get a brief for a male or female-orientated brand or product, so you follow the well-trodden and familiar paths of newspaper sport sections or weekly celebrity mags accordingly.

but its rare to get a brief that's not gender-specific that, as a planner, you choose to split along gender lines.  perhaps because whilst its easy to develop products (and brands) for a gender its a lot harder to exclusively target one or the other; and if you decide to plan to engage with each gender differently then you need a degree of exclusivity in how you do so.

or perhaps you don't?!  perhaps the new media economy and ecology permits more easy reaching people along gender lines…  I recall the recent work done by social media agencies in Australia for a Toyota Yaris live pitch, for which the now closed / merged Population's campaign was based around the rivalries between Sydney and Melbourne, with alternative Facebook fan pages for the two cities.


there's no reason why the same tactic couldn't be applied to gender…  for the right brand with the right brief it could be just the thing to capitalise on long-ago-formed and entrenched rivalries; because whilst the ways and means by which we reach people will become ever more sophisticated, its worth remembering the basic truth that men really are from Mars and women are from Venus.


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