Avoid the pink cliche

by on July 15, 2011
in Blowing a Gasket

Let me just say this outright: if you have a product and you are suddenly deciding to tailor it to women, DO NOT make it pink. Just don’t. Painting it pink and thinking women will automatically dig it is a cliché. It’s unimaginative. It’s an insult.

This has been a beef of mine for awhile, but I’ve recently noticed more than a few examples of this happening and so it seemed timely to mention it. (I won’t name names – I don’t intend to call anyone out specifically, I just want to encourage everyone marketing to women to be smarter than this.)

Now don‘t get me wrong – I like pink, sometimes. I own things that are pink, and I am not insulted to own them. But make no mistake: I chose pink in these instances. It wasn’t handed to me along with a condescending note stating, “Here you go, this one‘s pink so you‘ll love it!”

So if not pink, what color should you pick that offers universal female appeal? Trick question – there is no such thing!  If you’re tailoring something to women, you’ve got to stretch your brain past the pink and get to the idea that women are different and like different colors. Some like the colors of nature… some like the colors of the garage. Some like pastels, some like bold or jewel tones.  Some like every color under the rainbow, at different times and for different purposes.

If that makes it too difficult for you to tailor your product, consider the notion that maybe a designated “female color” isn’t needed at all. In fact, I can just about guarantee you that color is not what’s keeping women from using your product. Maybe all you need to do is tweak  your  advertising or your outreach program to acknowledge that your product is suitable for women. Use a female spokesperson  (in a non-sexual way). Encourage the women who do already use your product to show their support. (This is easier than ever in the age of social media.) Maybe your product has more serious problems that are keeping women from embracing it. The fact is, to successfully market to women, you‘ve got to uncover the real issues and address them.

All this is not to say you can’t offer a pink product. Go ahead, if it’s easy to do and you have other color options available as well. Just don’t put pink out there and proclaim, “Now in pink – just for the ladies!”

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8 Responses to “Avoid the pink cliche”
  1. Brenda Lauzier says:

    So happy to see this email!
    You said it perfect. It’s about time someone put it into words.

  2. Juju says:

    Thank you!!! From a little girl, I have always disliked pink–not for others, but for me, it just wasn’t right. The loudmouth-tomboy-bossygirl persona just could not picture herself in a pinkie setting. So, yes, let them offer pink stuff out the wazoo, as long as it’s not the ONLY color and not the ONLY way of identifying things as “just for women.”

  3. Shirley says:

    Thank you! We’ve talked about this and I’m so glad you put it in writing … hope the right people are reading this! I actually have NOT bought a product that I otherwise would have purchased simply because I am so NOT pink and it was my only choice.

  4. Jacqueline says:

    I also agree with you. Pink is nice on somethings..but should not just be your only choose when you walk into a dealership and see all styles that you like..but only in Pink. I went to a Harley Garage Party and when they had the fashion show, all the models where a size 3 and had all this pink on and probable had never riden a bike..All of the outfits where put together cute..but they would have only held up and stayed that way if you were just a “Fender Princess.” I like all different colors..but my favorite is Red..specially since my bike is Red.

  5. Rhonda says:

    I 100% agree, when I decided to paint my bike (it was black and everyone assumed it belonged to my husband), I wanted girl but prissy ass pink! I painted it baby boy blue, how’s that for irony, especially since you wouldn’t see many guys riding a baby blue bike. It’s not that I don’t like pink, but it has it’s place, like breast cancer awareness. Good post.

  6. Amen!!! Well said! Every year at the fair I walk by that booth in the Varied Industries Building with the pink tools and roll my eyes. Ahhhhhhhhhh, really??? Pink Tools. Like that’s going to make me want them???? No thanks. That’s like putting roses on everything that Harley Davidson used to make for women. They finally got the hint and started doing something different. Pink is a pretty color. I too like pink now and then but I would never let that color define me.

  7. Coppertop says:

    This is good! If you can’t look at me and see I’m a women on my bike, the pink isn’t going to help you determine that!

  8. Holy hannah, pink tools make me crazy. I do have a helmet that’s got some pink in it (but I would have preferred purple or blue…), but when a guy tried to sell me a pink gun at the gun shop, I thought my eyes would fall out of my head, I was rolling them so hard.

    Pink tools are generally also really crappy and fall apart– and I knew the pink BB gun was junk. Honestly, people.

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