Dear marketers, girls just wanna have fun, not pink.
The oldest advertising trick in the book to attract the straight male buyer is to drape a half-naked lady across the product. The second oldest is to color something pink, when your advertising target is a woman. Bonus points if you manage both to pink-ify a traditionally 'male' item, such as a toolkit, and have a nude woman drape it across her. Win-win, both targets love it, right?
In What women don’t want: pink beer, pink cars, a new pink ghetto at the Globe and Mail, Katrina Onstad hates on pink hard, including pink beer.Yes there is such a thing. The horrors.
The rose beer is part of the pinkification of womanly consumption. It’s now possible to buy pink versions of everything from guitars to the Ford Fiesta. When I went to replace my cellphone, the salesperson led me to a pink BlackBerry and made a Vanna White gesture that said: "Voilà! A phone for the gentler, less technically savvy sex!" Oh, Best Buy clerk, please help me: Which orifice do I hold it up to again?
All of these items would probably please my six-year-old – or my inner six-year-old. But fairly or unfairly, pink – demure, unthreatening, feminine – is not really the colour of a strong, wise adulthood.
In all seriousness, pink is not serious. And it wasn't a "girls colour" until the baby-boomers came along, we can still blame those guys for everything. The Smithsonian article When did girls start wearing pink? even blames advertising for the pinkification. I knew it was our fault.
Gender-neutral clothing remained popular until about 1985. Paoletti remembers that year distinctly because it was between the births of her children, a girl in ’82 and a boy in ’86. “All of a sudden it wasn’t just a blue overall; it was a blue overall with a teddy bear holding a football,” she says. Disposable diapers were manufactured in pink and blue.
Prenatal testing was a big reason for the change. Expectant parents learned the sex of their unborn baby and then went shopping for "girl" or "boy" merchandise. ("The more you individualize clothing, the more you can sell," Paoletti says.) The pink fad spread from sleepers and crib sheets to big-ticket items such as strollers, car seats and riding toys. Affluent parents could conceivably decorate for baby No. 1, a girl, and start all over when the next child was a boy.
When I was a kid a million years ago kids in primary schol wore primary colors, boys even dared purple pants and suave pink shirts with collars that could poke someones eyes out. The Straight Dope weighs in on pink being the original boys color.
As part of this differentiation, there seems to have been an effort to establish characteristic colors for girls and boys. But it took decades to develop a consensus on what those colors were. For years one camp claimed pink was the boys' color and blue the girls'. A 1905 Times article said so, and Parents magazine was still saying it as late as 1939. Why pink for boys? Some argued that pink was a close relative of red, which was seen as a fiery, manly color. Others traced the association of blue with girls to the frequent depiction of the Virgin Mary in blue.
All I know is, I can't stand pink. But I'm a sucker for gold and green. If you want to sell me some beer here's some free advice, don't make it pink, just make the ads less insulting to my gender. I'll buy it.
Lesson #1 in what not to do then.
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