by: David Armano

This article in Business week does a nice job of illustrating what's wrong with the industry.

Advertisers are notorious for creating stereotypes and misreading their target audience.  Especially when they are trying to market to younger demographics. But it’s not limited to youths.  Why pay attention to advertising when you can get your information from a peer who you met in a social network, or through research you’ve done online?  And aside from emerging channels, advertisers just need to do a better job of understanding and communicating to their audience in a genuine fashion.  From the article:

"Flip through an Ellegirl magazine, and you'll find one man-eating female after another. Somehow, someone convinced advertisers that girls want to be represented as cold, aggressive players." "What street corner are you getting your market research from? "Hooking up" with no emotional attachment is messy -- messy for the girls, messy for the guys, messy for the mind. Girls know that anyone who habitually seeks out men this way has something broken inside."

"In the case of this Reebok ad, the backwards marketing maneuver turns the girl into the emotionally detached playboy. While companies may think this man-eater represents a strong, independent girl of the future, it's quite the opposite. From a girl's perspective, Ms. Reebok isn't trendy; she's messed up. She's in denial and desperate to be the center of attention."

"What would constitute a marketing revelation in the portrayal of the girl boy interaction? Ironically, the things that ads have eliminated would be powerful -- sincerity, spontaneity, genuine feelings, passion, expression, caring, family feeling, honesty, loyalty, trust, and commitment. These things make girls feel alive."

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