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Does Dell Know What Women Want In a Laptop?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the fashion-don't dept.

Portables 669

Hugh Pickens writes "Finding the right approach for gender-specific marketing can be really tricky, said Andrea Learned, a marketing expert and author of Don't Think Pink — What Really Makes Women Buy. So when Dell recently took the wraps off a new Web site called Della, geared toward women, featuring tech 'tips' that recommended calorie counting, finding recipes, and watching cooking videos as ways for women to get the most from a laptop, a backlash erupted online, as both women and men described the Web site as 'ridiculous' and 'gimmicky.' Della's heavy emphasis on colors, computer accessories, dieting tips, and even the inclusion of a video about vintage shopping 'seems condescending to women consumers,' says Learned. Instead, Dell should have emphasized function and figured out ways to sell the netbooks that weren't clichéd and reliant on gender stereotypes. 'Some brands go too far with the girlie stuff,' Learned says. 'Della's marketing strategy sounds like it's advertising a purse. There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing.'"

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Fabulous first post! (-1, Offtopic)

lxs (131946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965185)

is fabulous.

Re:Fabulous first post! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965733)

This [exonome.com] would be my ideal laptop but only if it had a larger screen/keyboard. A 15.4" version would be lovely.

Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965195)

Sorry to be politically-incorrect here. But just because some people find a certain stereotype demeaning doesn't necessarily make it a complete falsehood. Sure, it's stereotypical to say that women like pink, pretty accessories, shoes, knick-knacks they can put on a million shelves on the wall (instead of the movie posters that belong there), a pink cover on the toilet, decorative soaps, scented candles, etc., etc. But you know what? That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (2, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965239)

That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends.

Your thinking like that might explain why they are no longer your girlfriends.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965325)

Actually, I suspect that 2 of them are no longer my girlfriends because I stopped answering the phone when they called.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (4, Funny)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965395)

Actually, I suspect that 2 of them are no longer my girlfriends because I stopped answering the phone when they called.

Oh, so you defend your use of a stereo type by promoting another stereotype that women like to talk on the phone way too much? :)

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965347)

Stop being a feminist douchebag. Wow someone has ex-girlfriends it must be his fault because he is not out there kissing ass and finding everything offending. Where do you think some stereotypes come from? There is a billion dollar marketing industry on what you may find offending so instead of trying to attack someone because you think his observations of misogynist (because thats everyone's favorite word these days) why not take a look at Madison avenue. Marketing isn't racist, sexist, evil, or good, it is just a cold calculating system designed to get your attention positively.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965495)

I think your missing the point here
a /. poster, with 5 girlfriends?

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965709)

a /. poster, with 5 girlfriends?

Yep. They're called Thumb, Index, Middle, Ring and Pinky.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965245)

Hey, we didn't get these stereotypes out of thin air, most often any stereotype comes from observed reality of the actions/traits a certain strata of the population exhibits a great deal of the time.

I really hate this PC era...everyone needs to lighten up a bit, learn to laugh at themselves, and others. Quit looking for a reason to be offended.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (2, Insightful)

zoloto (586738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965365)

>> There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing

Actually, there's a level of sophistication missing period. In my experience, MOST people don't know wtf a computer does other than email, the "world wide web" and viruses. Targeting to a subset of those not in-the-know isn't anything new and these feminazis need to find something else to complain about.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (3, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965439)

"hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!" (from: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1489/why-do-people-say-hear-hear [straightdope.com] )

Indeed, it appears too many people have too many long toes that, defying all normal laws of physics, appear to extend through the entire internet! Offense here, offense there, no more exclamations of fuck and damn, self-censorship and, ultimately, a bland, offenseless society which will take offense at the slightest of bumps in the bland.

It all could improve with a little understanding (http://ted.com/ for your weekly dose of understanding).

B.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

kandela (835710) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965509)

By marketing at stereotypes, you reinforce them. By treating women like they aren't tech savvy, you're making them feel uncomfortable about being tech savvy.

If you think I'm talking nonsense then try this experiment. I assume you are a guy with a comment like that. So, go to the department store. Find and buy a pink jacket/shirt and wear it for a month. When someone comments, or asks why you are wearing pink, reply that you like the colour. Then after a month, come back to me and tell me how comfortable you felt about doing it.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (4, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965625)

I'd feel a bit uncomfortable wearing *any* shirt for a month. EEeew.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965699)

Then after a month, come back to me and tell me how comfortable you felt about doing it.

I'm not the OP but I did wear a pink shirt for a while when I had to wear a tie. It was a very nice pink. Only one person asked me about the color and I had no problem telling them I liked the color of the shirt.

That said, I also have a wonderful, no-longer-able-to-find tangerine-colored shirt which I wear in the cooler months. I would like to find more shirts like this but retailers, aside from not carrying clothes in my size, are more interested in grey, black and white than they are about splashy colors to liven up ones day.

But that's just me. I'm still trying to find a neon-yellow shirt I saw at a store closeout but wasn't in my size. It's from a well known manufacturer but I haven't been able to find that shirt anywhere.

While stereotypes, as others have pointed, are there for a reason, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965749)

You are correct. We need to lighten up. At the same time, you need to crawl out of your momma's basement and ask her to let you eat something other than cheezy puffs and Mountain Dew. I suspect that if you were to go outside (you know, into the sunlight) you might find that some women do indeed fall into a stereotype of some sort. But to shoe horn half of the world's population into one stereotype is a bit silly.

Now turn off the computer, put on some sunblock, and go upstairs....

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965751)

Indeed, I think the following Einstein quote applies:

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965277)

Just because they're true doesn't mean they want to be reminded about them. It's like telling that girlfriend she should go on a diet, or that she looks fat in those jeans.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965427)

Next time you buy groceries why don't you glance at all the mags at the checkout. Count how many have something about "Lose weight in 2 weeks" or "See how J-Lo dropped the pounds" or similar. Then come back and tell me again, sincerely, that women don't want to hear dieting tips.

The op is right, we really have to lighten up. I am hoping eventually the world gets burned out on hearing about the "OH NOES - NOT P.C." stories and quits caring.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965619)

Oh I know, my girlfriend picks them up every once and a while... I'm sure just for the sex tips... but I think theres a difference in the marketing. Those are things that you can pick up here and there, plus those are their sole purpose. Having a independent device such as a computer marketed that way is much more blatantly pushed on women.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Informative)

ladybugfi (110420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965743)

Next time you buy groceries why don't you glance at all the mags at the checkout. Count how many have something about "Lose weight in 2 weeks" or "See how J-Lo dropped the pounds" or similar. Then come back and tell me again, sincerely, that women don't want to hear dieting tips.

...but we generally don't want to hear them from our boyfriends when we try out new outfits.

There's time, place and a good way of bringing up potentially unpleasant issues, telling your spouse that "you look fat in those jeans" is not going to net you any karma points.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (3, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965527)

or that she looks fat in those jeans.

It's not the jeans that make you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat. (my apologies to whichever comedian I heard tell this joke)

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965787)

"I'm not fat, I'm big-boned!"
"You're big-ASSED, okay! DINOSAURS were big-boned."
(Denis Leary)

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965623)

It's like telling that girlfriend she should go on a diet, or that she looks fat in those jeans.

Here's a tip that might save you of an evening of sleeping on the couch:

The correct answer to "Do these pants make me look big?" is NOT "There's nothing wrong with those pants."

Talk about having picture but no sound for an entire day.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

Eddy Luten (1166889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965283)

Mod parent up!

Oh come on! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965351)

That's like saying that guys like to pee [herald.com] on geysers just so they can say they did it!

Re:Oh come on! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965453)

I suppose it would be a stereotype to say that guys like explosions, but it doesn't change the fact that I still get half a stalk when the Mythbusters [wikipedia.org] explode the shit out of something.

Re:Oh come on! (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965681)

I suppose it would be a stereotype to say that guys like explosions, but it doesn't change the fact that I still get half a stalk when the Mythbusters [wikipedia.org] explode the shit out of something.

I don't know what you're into, but mine is usually from Kari [wikipedia.org] . Weirdo...

Stereotypes are true for everybody else except me (3, Funny)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965379)

If I had a dime for every time I've heard a woman say, "I'm not like other women." Every woman thinks all other women are pretty much the same and that they themselves are different and unique.

I used universals to incite a flame war. Hey it's Friday!

Re:Stereotypes are true for everybody else except (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965633)

Every woman thinks all other women are pretty much the same and that they themselves are different and unique.

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17

Re:Stereotypes are true for everybody else except (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965823)

That's really deep, man. Say, do you like Nine Inch Nails?

Re:Stereotypes are true for everybody else except (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965635)

If I had a dime for every time I've heard a nerd say, "I'm not like other nerds". Every nerd thinks all other nerds are pretty much the same and that they themselves are different and unique. There fixed that for you

Re:Stereotypes are true for everybody else except (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965701)

Indeed. The aspects that womens' stereotypes address are generally not the aspects that make them unique (though when I think back about previous girlfriends, the differences definitely come to mind first :P )

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (2, Funny)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965405)

OMG PINK LAPTOPS !

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965409)

But you know what? That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.

And that fifth girlfriend it didn't describe? And the solid minority that don't want that label? The 10% or whatever that have been trying to shake that which society has tried to force on them because it suits everyone else's needs?

And had your mom and aunts had the option to not follow the norm and do what they wanted to and not have to play with Barbie dolls would they be like that today? You know, like you're not popular if you don't have Barbie's accessories mentality?

I say kernel of truth be damned. I'm not your stereotypical geek and I would be sickened if I was marketed to as such.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (3, Insightful)

Michael Restivo (1103825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965679)

What I find most revealing in your comment, which I think other posters should think more carefully about, is:

that which society has tried to force on them

When a person resists the expectations of our culture's gender socialization, we consider that person unconventional, non-conformist, deviant, or something of the sort.

However, when a person adopts those gender expectations, we call that "natural."

cheers, Mike

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (2, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965761)

I say kernel of truth be damned. I'm not your stereotypical geek and I would be sickened if I was marketed to as such.

That's because the marketing companies don't know how to market correctly to geeks. They think the word "geek" applies to people who use MacBooks, drive hybrids, sip a cup of overpriced coffee while wearing their designer glasses and twitter everything insignificant in their lives.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1, Insightful)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965819)

And the solid minority that don't want that label? The 10% or whatever that have been trying to shake that which society has tried to force on them because it suits everyone else's needs?

That pressure you feel to conform, that's not society, it's you.

No one is going to stop you living your life if you decide to paint yourself purple and wear nothing but a kilt, eat the gherkins and throw away the burger, learn tagalog and eat frozen petit-pois for breakfast. Fine. So people might dissociate themselves from you, point and laugh, post gherkins through your letterbox ... you can still do all those things, you don't have to allow the narrowmindedness of others to cloud your personality. You can be "you".

At the extremes, say you get sick of petit-pois and decide pan-fried human liver would be nicer, then yes others will stop you, but you don't have to fit anyone's expectations.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

Merlinator (1158779) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965417)

While it is true that women differ from men in the general sense,most of the things mentioned in here about Della wouldn't interest most women I know. Between my mother, 2 aunts, 2 female cousins, 4 sisters, and 2 sister-in-laws, only 2 of them would enjoy this site. 2 out of 11 is not a good statistic. The point here is not that woman and men are the same, it's just that Dells marketing personnel need to be whacked with a rolled up newspaper for stupidly making assumptions based on bad tv shows.

Re:2/11 women (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965661)

This whole comments section is describing the Hello Kitty Generation demographic.

What % of Woman Corporate Raiders responds to Dell's brand of marketing. Yesterday I think I saw Google's Exec in charge of something was a woman. What are her tastes in computers?

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965443)

But you know what? That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.

On the flip side of the anecdote, this stereotype definitely doesn't even come close to describing any of my past girlfriends, or my present one, or any of my female friends. I guess we are attracted to different kinds of women.

Stereotypes often come from somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily mean they represent a majority of people. It only means they represent enough to get noticed.

Make a website for women that's all pink and talks about shopping and dieting, and you will appeal to some women. But thinking that you're appealing to women in general, or even a majority, is just stupid, and is guaranteed to offend and annoy the many women who don't fit the stereotype (and possibly some who do).

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965525)

Your generalization of what women like is erroneous because your sample space is obviously skewed by your personal preferences which were probably influenced by the environment you were brought up in.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965543)

Doesn't correlation vs causation come in here?

Does the stereotype exist because women like pink, or do women like pink because of the stereotype?

e.g. how many female babies do you see dressed in black?

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965551)

...but consider:

  • Stereotypes usually come from anecdotal sampling, rather than hard numbers. Why should we put stock in them?
  • A "kernel of truth" says nothing about the relative size of the effect. E.g. even if women prefer pink on average, how predictive is that statement for a particular female consumer? What are the error bars?
  • Even if a stereotype is correct, on average, using it as the basis for marketing is usually dumb because the group you are targeting may well be offended by the implication of the stereotype. Again, even if it is true, you may do more damage than good in using that marketing angle.
  • Even if a stereotype is correct in some context, that doesn't mean it translates to others. For instance even if women on average prefer pink, that doesn't mean they want pink laptops. Clothes tend to be aesthetic purchases, whereas laptops tend to be functional purchases. Thus the priority for a woman shopping for a laptop may be totally uncorrelated to color. (Or maybe it is correlated--but anecdotes and stereotypes do not suffice to make that determination.)
  • Stereotypes often arise from cultural forces and even "self-fulfilling prophecies". They are not necessarily intrinsic. From a marketing perspective, the provenance of a trend usually doesn't matter; but from a "treat people with respect" perspective it can be relevant. For instance the "blue=boy and pink=girl" motif is relatively recent. In fact some sources from the 1800s contend that pink is the correct clothing color for baby boys.
  • Stereotypes are frequently generalized illogically. E.g. "girls like pink; I saw I guy wearing a pink shirt yesterday; that guy must be girlie and weak" (this includes both the unfounded pink->girl and girl->weak assumptions).
  • Stereotypes describe one aspect of a class at the expense of others. E.g. maybe women on average like pink, but is that really the defining feature of that class? Is that the most pertinent thing to focus on? Even if true, the choice to focus on that trivializes the identity of the class.

Point being: stereotypes are looked-down upon for a reason. They are spurious, frequently unhelpful, often downright wrong, and usually rather insulting.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

pHus10n (1443071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965689)

My wife is very much the type of person they were marketing to. She loves reality shows, X17, pink anything (including Victoria's Secret's line 'PINK'), and her Macbook --- not only because of it's function, but it's beauty. The stereotype does hold for some people.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965775)

But do you know why that is? It tends to be nurture rather than nature. Girls are programmed by their family and society at an early age to like those things. Boys get blue, girls get pink. Boys get trucks, girls get dolls. I have two nieces. Know what they get from me? Green, yellow, and orange things. Neither of them really seem to like dolls. Stuffed animals are pretty gender neutral though. Honestly it is a matter of what you are predisposed to like naturally (from parents' genes) as well as family upbringing (from parents' upbringings). Society just tends to deem girls with pink and dolls and soaps and candles as more acceptable than girls with trucks and overalls and greasy wrenches. It kind of annoys me but I'm not about to go on a crusade over it.

Re:Stereotypes usually have some kernal of truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965793)

That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.

Stop selecting girlfriends based on how much they remind you of your mother. Zing!

If it sells laptops... (3, Insightful)

GordonCopestake (941689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965229)

why wouldn't Dell do it? It may be gender biased and un-pc but if it the amount of sales outweighs the cost of creating the website then it's done it's job. Business 101

Re:If it sells laptops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965361)

Exactly. The website doesn't have to appeal to all women, or even most women. It just has to appeal to *enough* women (and not royally tick of the rest, which it might be doing) to sell enough laptops to be worth it.

As long as Dell doesn't get too much backlash about this, the truth is there *are* women (and girls) out there to whom this marketing approach might appeal, even if Mz. Learned isn't one of them.

Yes, there are smart, sophisticated women out there who might feel this website and its message demean them, but there are *other* women to whom it is likely perfectly targetted.

Re:If it sells laptops... (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965445)

Surely you'll learn in business 102 that despite short-term gains you can damage your brand by looking mindless, sexist, and bit stupid?

Re:If it sells laptops... (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965805)

you can damage your brand by looking mindless, sexist, and bit stupid?

Just like the Miss America pagent!

ZING!

Re: Business 206 (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965821)

In the following year they explain that the reasons corporations are fun is they can invent themselves any time without notice, called Branding.

(Analogy)
Ever gotten into a rabid argument about Yum Brands? I bet not. Yet I would gather you've thought about whether some day's lunch was Kentucky Fried Chicken vs. Pizza Hut.

The thing is women like to form their little "women's cliques" and then tell men something totally different. See elsewhere why it's great for a magazine to insinuate that the GF weighs too much, but not okay for the LesserHalf.

So let Dell CoBrand all they like. They can have the Pony brand, and the Artemis brand for those scary stiletto-heel types.

Eurgh (3, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965247)

I hate stuff like this - it makes me cringe. Same with video games that are overtly aimed at girls. I mean, fair enough, target audience - but for crying out loud, don't just soil the thing in stereotypes.

Keep it subtle in multiple directions, and you open up to multiple target audiences (including women) rather than targetting one area poorly, and driving it away

Dudette you're getting a Dell! (3, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965251)

Dell probably spent millions on research figuring out what they thought was the magic bullet in marketing a laptop to women. Focus groups, design teams of women, and they might have even found things that a majority of their women customers are interested in.

And they blew it. No woman actually wants to be told they should check out dieting tips, that's like telling a wife/girlfriend she looks fat in those jeans. On top of that even if a lot of women are interested in cooking and recipes it comes out in very bad taste when you release your laptop for women as an extension or helper of domestic chores. I wonder if the wives of Dell executives are upset, or maybe they're too busy doing the dishes and cooking dinner to even know what's going on...

Re:Dudette you're getting a Dell! (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965331)

I wonder if the wives of Dell executives are upset, or maybe they're too busy doing the dishes and cooking dinner to even know what's going on...

I dunno. Maybe we should ask the wife of their marketing executive [dell.com] .

Re:Dudette you're getting a Dell! (5, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965741)

I wonder if the wives of Dell executives are upset, or maybe they're too busy doing the dishes and cooking dinner to even know what's going on...

Interesting that you assume all the executives are straight males. Who's not being PC here again?

Re:Dudette you're getting a Dell! (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965783)

On top of that even if a lot of women are interested in cooking and recipes it comes out in very bad taste when you release your laptop for women as an extension or helper of domestic chores.

It's not just that. Let's say hypothetically that Dell's marketing department has decided that in order to reach the male demographic better, they're going to start putting sports news on their web-site. Now, does anyone really think that putting sports news on their web-site is a good idea? No, of course not, it's totally irrelevant to the process of buying a computer, if I want sports news, I'll go to espn or something. Dell would pretty quickly get a reputation for being complete idiots doing this. It's one thing to try and appeal to the female demographic by targeted marketing, but it's another to do it badly, which is what Dell did here. Just like nobody wants sports while buying computers, nobody wants recipes either.

Between this and the Adamo [slashdot.org] ads, I think that Dell is rapidly destroying any desirability or panache they ever had (think Apple products). But then again, they never really got much after those "Dude, you're getting a Dell" commercials, I myself just kind of forgot about it. I think they're pretty much doomed to stay the mundane computer manufacturer like this though.

News flash... (5, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965259)

In the top ten percent of the personal market, women want very similar things to men. In the bottom 90, they want pink frilly stuff. If you want the 90%, you have to figure out how to silence the 10% of people you're going to offend.

Hint: Men are the same way (not the pink part). Give them sports data and stuff with their favorite team logos.

Business is a whole different world...

Re:News flash... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965675)

Hint: Men are the same way (not the pink part). Give them sports data and stuff with their favorite team logos.

And this is based on the detailed sociological studies of...who, exactly?

Why I Feel Divorced From Marketing (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965271)

'Della's marketing strategy sounds like it's advertising a purse. There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing.'

If you add the level of sophistication, you might be perceived as thinking men are incapable of it. While it's socially ok to think of men as the lesser stupider sex today, I don't think that solves the problem.

If I may impart my engineer's point of view on this topic, don't divide your customers on controversial lines. The fact that you made it any different shopping as a man or woman is going to cause the public to pick apart each site with the finest toothed comb and set to you like dogs. Because it's an old battle and women have very real memories of the glass ceiling and at least some form of repression.

You aren't making an Ebonics themed site for African Americans and you aren't making a talk-over-your-head snooty themed site for Caucasian Americans. Why? Because it's a sensitive issue. Any subtle difference will cause you to catch hell. Why, I'm going to get torn apart for the adjectives I used above because I'm sure some words have baggage meaning they're slightly better or worse than others.

Are you going to make different purchase sites for Hindus, Jews, Moslems and Christians? Nope. Say it with me now: because it's a sensitive issue.

Are you going to make a homosexual themed site so that homosexuals can be distinguished between buyers that are heterosexual. Again, see above.

There's a list that goes on and on ... frankly, I'm a customer. I expect to be treated the same as another customer unless I have chosen to be treated differently. And if I chose to be treated differently, you better be careful or you'll lose me as a customer. You want to make a Trek themed site to target Trek fans? Fine, but don't you dare pay for images of Scott Bakula or the deal's off.

Don't Think Pink -- What Really Makes Women Buy

Thank god a woman wrote that. If it was a man, I'm sure there would have been a march on Washington.

Why do you even start this up again? Are you really running out of marketing ideas that the only thing left is controversy? Haven't we learned our lesson time and time again?

Here's an idea if you want a marketing gimmick: pick non-sensitive topics. When a popular super hero movie comes out, make good guy versus bad guy themes and always allow the customer to go to the regular site? Or make generic themes that have no conflict at the center?

Re:Why I Feel Divorced From Marketing (2, Informative)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965715)

I expect to be treated the same as another customer unless I have chosen to be treated differently.

Such as, I don't know, going to the Della site rather than dell.com?

Re:Why I Feel Divorced From Marketing (1)

EatHam (597465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965767)

While it's socially ok to think of men as the lesser stupider sex today

It is socially ok, but we all know it's wrong AMIRITE???

Della is kind of a "fat" name (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965285)

Maybe it's because it's one letter away from Delta, but Della just sounds like a "fat" person name. Like "Gertrude" sounds like an old person name. And "Candy" is a stripper name.

Maybe it wasn't the targeting of women that was gimmicky. Maybe it was the use of an unattractive person name.

A Laptop Named Desire (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965621)

"Della.... DELLA!"

They need a "Dilbert committee" (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965303)

I seem to recall a few companies operating groups like this. Get a bunch of ordinary workers not associated with a project and have them look at it. If they can see it appearing in a Dilbert strip, you probably need to axe the idea.

This one clearly fails the Dilbert test. Alice would kick the managers responsible into their own hats.

Does ANYONE Know What Women Want? (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965313)

Since I was born I've learned only three things about women:
- No two are alike
- No two want the same thing
- What a women wants changes from moment to moment

But that all being said, I'd try and sell Laptops via a "Aspirational Lifestyle" (e.g. "You're a 20~ successful, confident, and stylish women. This is the laptop for you.").

Then produce a bunch of stylish laptops that match that "look." Or match the look of the women in my adverts to my laptops. Either way, the people who aspire to "be that thing" will buy the laptop to do so...

I bet they removed the clock app, too (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965319)

Because there's already a clock on the stove.

Re:I bet they removed the clock app, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965481)

Wrong. But effin hilarious. Well played Sir.

Re:I bet they removed the clock app, too (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965585)

Except that one shows <blink>12:00</blink>.

Gag Me! (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965321)

Just slap some pink glitter on it and build in a makeup mirror into the screen and I'll buy it? Where did they get their consultants who advised them this would work? A time warp to the 1950s?

Re:Gag Me! (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965703)

build in a makeup mirror into the screen

Isn't that what built-in webcams are for?

Sales still great! (4, Funny)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965343)

FTA

"Despite the backlash from women about the sexist advertising schemes, sales of the Delldo (Dell's new dildo mount for laptops and pc's) was spectacular."

Dell's Mistake (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965369)

You can't really pull off the whole Like-A-Women's-Magazine to sell netbooks unless you can convince women the netbook will:

1. Teach them 20 ways to supercharge their sex in the bedroom.
2. Help them lose 40lbs in six months while simultaneously making the world's most delicious 5,000 calorie chocolate cake.
3. Do yoga exercises that take 20 years of their visible age.

Re:Dell's Mistake (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965507)

Women are like Linux distros.

They are all essentially the same, but some have different package management.

Re:Dell's Mistake (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965817)

Women are like Linux distros.

Not to mention some have better interfaces than others...

Re:Dell's Mistake (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965745)

Hmmmm... My wife needs to read more women magazines! Okay, except for point three... She would look underage.

Right direction (0, Troll)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965391)

Men do not wear bras or skirts (sorry Scots). This gender based customization might be a good strategy.

As a man I expect more manly looking notebooks with customization made specifically for us men and not mid gender gay looking user interfaces or designs (sorry Apple).

The problem is marketing towards "women" (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965399)

Whenever you make these broad generalizations, there's always going to be the fringe outsiders offended by the stereotype. Dell should have picked a different metaphor that clearly indicates "girly" without saying it. Maybe, market one towards mothers (not women) where there are distinct duties like feeding kids making recipes relevant. Bundle apps for roles and not sex.

Re:The problem is marketing towards "women" (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965763)

Bzzzt, sorry you've just hacked-off as many women as the Della site would. You've assumed that feeding, recipes etc. are a mother's role[1] (actually you said "duty" which might be even worse).

The basic problem is that offense is the opposite of "tolerance" and there are an awful lot of intolerant people out there. Especially if they can see an angle where they can make a little money from their "plight".

[1] and no matter how you play it, mothers are aways and only, women. Say "carer" and you might stand a chance.

so what would be condescending towards men? (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965437)

If someone created a website aimed at attracting men and used images of fast cars, busty models and bottles of beer, would those "stereotypes" be condescending to men?

If so, there are a hell of a lot of very successful condescending websites and magazines about. Now I'm not saying that all men would be attracted to sites like that, just like not all women would be attracted to pink-themed sites, makeup tips and fashion. However, the difference is that men don't go around wailing at how they're being "exploited" or belittled or generalised by these things. They either visit them or ignore them. I would suggest that if women want to see themselves as equal to men they adopt a similar approach and either like it or ignore it ..... unless the thing they really dislike is themselves, individually, being so easy to categorise.

Re:so what would be condescending towards men? (3, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965631)

If someone created a website aimed at attracting men and used images of fast cars, busty models and bottles of beer, would those "stereotypes" be condescending to men?

Absolutely. Thinking that I might buy your product because you add a picture of a busty model _is_ stupid and condescending. Unless your product is busty models.

Re:so what would be condescending towards men? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965757)

Speak for yourself! If one more porn site exploits, belittles, or generalizes about me as a man, I'm quitting the internet!

My sentiments exactly (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965815)

So should men get in a similar uproar about video games/movies that advertise violence/sex?
Let's look at this week's top box office movies:
Star Trek
XMen
Angels & Demons

Violence/sex sells, obviously. Clearly there is a similar selling trend for pink doodads and females, otherwise Dell wouldn't have bothered, right?

Obvious (4, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965465)

A woman's laptop should use one of those IBM Thinkpad TrackPoint things for the pointer device.

After the protest against dell is over (4, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965531)

Then will the same groups go on to shut down Better Homes, Oprah, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping magazines? These magazines are focused on women and only publish articles on calorie counting, cooking tips, recipies, and shopping. Won't the same groups think these magazines stereotype women as being stay at home moms? Or does it simply address the needs of a particular marketing segment?

Re:After the protest against dell is over (1)

crazybilly (947714) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965713)

Mod parent up, +1 insightful

reminds me something (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965553)

i saw on BBC's look around you...the "petticoat 5" computer for women...complete with emery board and lipstick i think...

It's got WINGS!!! (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965565)

I hate marketing. Put out the plain truth and let people decide for themselves. That's my thinking. Unfortunately, any company that follows my advice will be out of business in a short time.

But Dell? I gotta tell ya, when it comes to marketing to women, never focus your marketing on what women actually do with their computers! Focus your marketing on how their computers make them look and feel! Almost all successful marketing targeting women focus on image and lifestyle that they all "wish" they had. Feminine hygiene products all talk about the "things you can do with confidence!" when only a very small percentage of the women who buy them are light enough to actually walk in the sand without leaving giant craters, can play tennis for more than 5 minutes or even know how to fly a kite. Clothes and jewelry are another classic and obvious example -- all displayed by supermodels and mannequins made of sticks.

I would suck as a marketing person. I despise marketing because it is misleading at least and quite often just a bunch of lies. But examples of success in marketing are out there for all to see.

What about men? (0)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965571)

If they made a marketing campaign that specifically targeted men, the feminists would have simply murdered them. So now they openly say they target women and men shouldn't complain about it, because they use computers anyway. Smart.

Re:What about men? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965773)

They DO market towards men... what group do you think the XPS with all its 'horsepower' is aimed at?
I don't have a problem with Dell targeting women in an advertising campaign. What I do have a problem with is the obvious use of stereotypes and the website's underlying implication that women are too stupid to understand computers, so they'll talk about calories and cooking instead.

How stupid the whole way around (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965589)

Just like there are guys who truely like working under the hood of a car and can appreciate it's engineering there are plenty of guys who just want a car that is loud and goes fast. The same is true with women, there are going to be women who really use a machine to it's fullest function and don't need to be pandered to and there are the Jill Sixpacks who want something that matches their fashion motif.

Having a focus on a niche market like that isn't a bad concept as long as you don't try to push the stereotype onto the entire demographic.

Volvo tried this too (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965593)

The brought out a "concept car" that was designed by women, for women. So, it had a split headrest for a ponytail, lots of amenities, interchangeable interiors for color and material. But what I thought was most telling (and insulting) was that there was no hood. The only owner serviceable component was the windshield washer fluid reservoir. The engine and transmission could only be accessed by unbolting the front end sheet metal at a dealership. When asked about this "feature", the lead designer, a woman, said that most women really can't be bothered with servicing the car and they'd much rather have someone else do it.

Apple Does This, Too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965677)

I don't see what the problem is. Apple consistently pushes their marketing to the pompous, holier than thou stereotype and no one bats an eye.

They should hire Mel Gibson (2, Funny)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965711)

He knows what women want because he can read their minds.

Della is pretty clever... (1)

BytePusher (209961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965737)

While Della may offend the most militant feminists, I think it will probably appeal to the average woman. My wife, is very practical and doesn't particularly care about owning a laptop. She'll gladly use mine or whatever computer happens to be around. When I start talking about his and her's she has no interest. Just our's.

I think this is probably not uncommon. My wife won't care about the various specifications, CPU speed, memory, etc. The only thing she might care about is how this laptop is going to benefit her lifestyle. Looking at the Della website, they are trying to communicate exactly this. I think Dell has done a great job communicating how technical details will translate to real life benefits:

"Improve your mood by listening to music, viewing pictures or even watching a movie. Some netbooks even offer an optional DVD drive. If your netbook has an HDMI port, you can expand your screen by connecting your netbook to an external monitor or TV. Several minis have HD screens available as an upgrade!"

Dell is definitely interested in women purchasing "upgrades," but how do you convince a woman to upgrade who is already feeling guilty about spending money on herself? It was hard enough to get her to even start thinking about buying a new computer. So they are simply trying to connect real world benefits to these various technical aspects. If anything, I think Della is a tribute to the practicality(differing priorities) of women rather than an insult to their intelligence.

I'm not Dell fan-boi, but let's be honest here women tend to see the world a little differently than men and we're all better off for it. Why not just embrace the differences rather than trying to force homogeny?

You can't sell computers to women (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27965753)

You can sell clothing to women because women have distinct needs from men in this regard, and there is are well established cultural differences in how men and women dress.

You can sell computers to power users, to office workers, to creative types, to programmers etc, but you can't sell computers to women because a persons gender does not define what they need out of a computer.

shoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965759)

shoe-shaped laptop or free shoes with every laptop or free laptop with every pair of shoes etc

More useful advice.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965809)

But what women really want to know is: "Which computer is best for running Linux - a blue one, or a grey one?"

in response to title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27965825)

Obviously not. I speak as someone of the female persuasion. :P

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