‘Let’s go with purple!’ I can hear the art director’s wafting response to the young designer’s predictably girlish pink attempt at the Herald Business section’s front page ad for the ‘Women’s Lifestyle Expo.’ Purple is surely the second obvious ‘this says female’ colour choice. And these are women, after all.
The ad for the ‘Women’s Lifestyle Expo’, with it’s paint splash and cheery logo font, is aimed at decision makers in consumer-related businesses targeting women. Or, more precisely, yet bafflingly vaguely, Women’s Lifestyle.
Beyond the photo of coffee-carrying, purple bag-toting women, the call to arms shouts to company marketers like a chauvinistic preacher, ‘With thousands of women under one roof for an entire weekend, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get up close and personal with your customers’! I had to read it again. And then break it down.
Up close and personal. Maybe this was a hangover-inflicted advertising executive lazily churning out his last few words on a Friday afternoon, as he received a text that Jono was already in the pub. The overused cliche was the only phrase that said ‘women’ to Andy’s weekend-ready mind. They like to be close and personal, don’t they? They like to cuddle and go to the bathroom in packs. And men like to get up close and personal with women, right. Of course. Nailed it. ‘On my way, mine’s a Canadian Club.’
I mean, this ‘expo’ hardly needs selling. It’ll be like a giant bathroom queue full of opportunity to have women buy, buy, buy! Like a hungry pack of tigresses, protecting their free samples like their precious young, they’ll go wild for all things ‘woman’. Yes! And this, this is an opportunity to get up close and personal with them…all of them! For an entire weekend. For God’s sake, when else would you get the chance to get up close and personal with an entire aircraft hangar full of consumer-crazed women other than at a Women’s Lifestyle Expo?
‘Thousands of women under one roof for an entire weekend’. Wow. An entire room full of women. This is a rare thing indeed. And, just hold on a sec, Andy, did you say, for an entire weekend? Holy. Shitballs. Now this IS an opportunity. And how, pray tell us, do you intend to orchestrate this mass captivation? How are you going to succeed in herding so many women under just one roof? And, how do you propose to hold them there, for the entire weekend? Electric fencing? Psychopathic dictator? Ah, ok, the hypnotic enticement of the latest sanitary revelation, a miniature can of hairspray and a sachet of green tea. Course.
Now the concept of the ‘expo’ is saddening enough; morbidly bored people milling around at shuffling pace in puffer jackets collecting leaflets and entering prize draws. The parking, the branded t-shirts, the ‘promo girls’, the waffle. But a Women’s Lifestyle Expo. How in God’s name did anyone come up with this as a suitable theme for one of these awful wastes of a weekend?
Women’s Lifestyle – when you have an event dedicated to the entire lives of half of the population of the planet, don’t you think you’re casting a bit of a wide net? I mean, wouldn’t it be easier to narrow down your target market, just a little? Or at least actually have a target market? Women’s Lifestyle. What could possibly constitute a suitable stall, suitable product, for such a gaping area of need I wonder? We could be talking new-look lab coats for nuclear scientists, storage devices for landscape gardeners, contraptions to pee into for concertgoers, holiday inspiration for Roman history lovers? I mean, what are the parameters here? For half of us, it’s simply a ‘living your life’ expo.
However, in Whangarei this August, thanks to NZME, there exists the golden opportunity of an eager female flock, prepared to set aside their weekend – their entire weekend – to be wowed and inspired by being shown essentially what it is to be a woman. And have a ‘lifestyle’. A catch-all gender 101 handily summed up in a collection of stalls, products, and cooking demonstrations. And the businesses wishing to tap into the potential buying power of this frenzied flock of femininity must be salivating into their pink drawstring sample bags. After all, when does this kind of fervent female mass hysteria ever happen beyond the tantalisingly up close and personal realms of a women’s lifestyle expo?
So, if you’ve not already jogged off to the boozer Andy, me and my fellow women wonder how you’ll go about selling us the Men’s Lifestyle Expo? Andy? Andy?