Advertising to women: Weight loss and Race. Why you can’t reach all heavy women the same way

A new study out from the University of Alabama at Birmingham finds that black women are less psychologically affected by being overweight than white women.

The report, which looked at physical function, self-esteem, sexual life, public distress and work, hypothesizes that social norms and body image contribute to larger black women being happier with themselves than their white counterparts.  While all women experienced a fall in quality of life as their BMI rose, black women had “particularly higher” self-esteem.

Author of the report Dr. Tiffany L. Cox said, “The implications of this relationship between weight and quality of life in black women remain unclear. While the highest quality of life is desirable as an indicator of overall well-being, black women’s perception of experiencing a high quality of life despite having a high BMI may also dampen motivation for attempting weight loss. Additional research is needed to understand the potentially bidirectional relationship between weight and quality of life in black women.”

Commenting on the study, women’s website Jezebel celebrated black women’s resistance to being shamed into losing weight; although their response may be considered confrontational, their appeal for proactive, psychologically healthy approaches to marketing to women is spot on.  As they put it, “how about every pro-health push focus on the physical benefits of health rather than the emotional punishment of non-health?”

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Studies show that sexting is on the decline among the young

Young people have and will always make mistakes as they grow up; a particular challenge of the current generation is the ease with which they can record and send these mistakes to their friends.

However, a new study out today from the University of New Hampshire shows that one of the more frightening examples of this phenomenon may be less prevalent than we’ve dreaded.

“Sexting,” it turns out, is far from “normal” for 10- to 17-year olds, with only two and one-half percent appearing in or creating nude or nearly nude (but not sexually explicit) images.  Only 1% of the 1560 respondents said they’d participated in images that showed naked breasts, genitals or buttocks.

This is in contrast to past studies that found 1 in 5 young people was “involved in sexting,” a discrepancy the current research seems to blame on “ambiguous screening questions.”

Having just spent the Thanksgiving holidays with young cousins, babysitters and neighbors in this age bracket, it’s a relief to know there’s not likely to be photos of bare butts in their text messages.  Teens have always been masters of self-preservation, and while we may fear “self-preservation” means assuring one’s social status via sexual favors, perhaps in most instances they understand that’s not the case.

One thing is certain though, this 1% is one you don’t want your child to be part of, and the best way to keep them from it is through discussion.  This study can give them ammunition, in case they find themselves trying to be convinced otherwise.

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Insurance Companies Who “Get” Women

Okay, insurance companies often do a good job sympathizing with what consumers worry about. They ought to, it’s their business. But lately, lots of them prefer to let their ads take the funny train in their never-ending envy of the Geico phenomenon. While I have a crush on the lizard and the Mayhem character is insurance eye candy for women, a few companies have taken the emotional high road and I love them for it.

I’ve enjoyed Liberty Mutual’s responsibility campaign and State Farm ran a moving spot as a tribute for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  But the top prize for connecting with women goes to Mass Mutual’s new spot about their support for families caring for special needs children. The casting, writing and sensitive storytelling will connect not only with customers who need these policies, but with customers who care about companies who care. And isn’t that what insurance is supposed to be about? Congrats, Mass Mutual. You killed it.

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Virtual shopping aisles: coming to a commute near you

I have to admit, while I love the thrill of the deal, you’ll never catch me out early on Black Friday. But Cyber Monday (and the email blasts that went along with it) got me excited.  Only problem, it’s on a Monday.  A very busy Monday this year. As each email came in I lamented about the deals that were passing me by because I didn’t even have time to go to the websites and browse.

That is why I’m so excited about the concept of virtual aisles.  Products displayed on ads rather than shelves in places where you would naturally pass them: your train station, the bus shelter,  even a mall!

Just today, running to catch a train. I was literally stopped in my tracks by an Office  Depot billboard of products simply displayed yet interactive. I can now pick up wish-list items without going into a store or even going to the website.  Just scan it and buy it. It’s that easy.  I almost bought a Kindle for the fun of it!


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Where Does Dr. Pepper Ten Go Wrong? Mary Lou On The CBS Early Show

You know how we feel about the commercials for Dr.Pepper Ten (Don’t remember? Then click here), and their particularly subtle “Not for Women” tagline, but how about their larger campaign, including their Facebook page? Mary Lou Quinlan appeared on the CBS Early Show this morning to lend her insight to the latest ad campaign making internet waves.

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“My Lowe’s” Makes DIY Projects Doable

Lowes’ new campaign, “Never Stop Improving,” shows both men and women across all generations that the store will be there for every home improvement projects over their lifetime. Through the “My Lowe’s” online tool and phone app, consumers will be able to access all their records of past purchases at the store, making it easily accessible to remember dimensions, colors, brand and cost, so future purchases are hassle-free. Users of the service will also be able to set themselves reminders for home-upkeep issues, like changing their filters. Oh, the power of convenience… especially appreciated when one is trying to tackle a DIY home project. Taking the consumer ease factor even further Lowe’s could offer free shipping to their customers  by implementing a shipping membership program, much like Amazon’s Prime, a membership that costs $79 for the year.

Lowes’ new campaign is an especially supportive home improvement approach for the female homeowner. Women constantly are assessing their home for what could be updated and fixed to suit her family’s current needs, but do you think she has time to search for the name of her trim paint from 5 years ago? Lowe’s is offering homeowners the vehicle to make home-improvement projects as seamless as possible. Their hope is that consumers will get on board, and stay on board, until they reach their destination.  This platform differs greatly from long-time competitor Home Depot, whose slogan, since 2009, has stood “More saving. More Doing.” To me, this saying conveys the feeling that there will always be more to be done. Women don’t need to be reminded of their to-do list. They don’t want to feel guilty that they haven’t done it all or that there is still more to fix. The missed opportunity is to congratulate them on all of their progress.

Check out their touching, but upbeat video spot, which follows a couple from their first date to a BBQ with their grandchildren, of course with Lowe’s supporting every one of their twirls, dips and spins.

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GetGlued In Gap’s Latest Fashion Trends

The social media site GetGlued allows users to check into, rate and share the entertainment sources they use and like best. Show your friends what shows you’re tuning into, what music you’re dancing to, what great book you just read and so much more. What’s more is the site just recently partnered with Gap, their first retail partnership, which will rewards site users who check into the 12 listed fall TV shows with discounts up to 40% off to use in the store. Well if watching TV is going to turn my brain to mush, at least I will look cute in the process?

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Strange Talk And P&G Make Cheer More Cheerful

It must be the month of awesome laundry product campaigns. Hot on the heels of Tide’s confessions, Cheer has broken out the big guns by sponsoring the video for band Strange Talk’s single Climbing Walls.  But it’s not a deluge of product placement (we’re looking at you, Britney)—it’s a series of interactive pop-ups, where colorful items are highlighted and, once clicked on, bring the viewer to the brand’s Facebook page to enter giveaways for the clicked-upon items. Fun!

It’s also worth mentioning that this just may be the most Gen Y-targeted campaign for a Gen X product we’ve seen of late. Cheer detergent makes you think of immaculately-coiffed housewives laundering their children’s soccer-stained uniforms, not vibrant Passion-Pit-meets-Foster-the-People indie up-and-comers brimming with energy and amps. Not to mention surrounded by fantastic choreography, because there’s that, too.

Cheers to Cheer (forgive us, it was too easy) for walking the walk and imbuing their brand with the color and energy they offer to consumers. And, move fast – a new round of giveaways starts August 31st, 3pm EST.

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Too Lazy For Real Pants: Tide And The Whole Truth

Tide and Febreze have teamed up to create Tide Sport, an odor-zapping detergent. But it’s not the product that caught our eye—it’s the ad campaign. Instead of the usual pale purple waft lines of freshness surrounding a laundering housewife, the newest Tide campaign features women telling the Whole Truth.

Our favorite ad (above) revolves around a woman gushing about how Tide Sport removes odors from the yoga pants she wears for all manner of workouts… but actually, they’re so worn-in because she’s “too lazy for real pants.” Looking back on our lazy yoga-pant wearing college years (You didn’t have those? Us neither), her confession made us laugh, but also think.

Props to Tide for hitting just the right note of humor and Whole Truth. Now if you’ll excuse us, it’s time for yoga pants.

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Now I’m really part of the IKEA FAMILY

On a trip to IKEA Red Hook last week, without child or husband weighing me down (I love them but they are not good shopping buddies), I roamed through the Marketplace and found myself in the children’s department looking at a kiosk for the IKEA FAMILY card. I did a little dance for joy without even knowing what the card offered!   I love loyalty cards (even if I don’t always remember to bring them) and I have hoped for an IKEA program for years.

What you get:  IKEA FAMILY offers free coffee or tea during each visit, 30 extra minutes in Smaland and discounts on IKEA FAMILY products (of which I bought 3 without even realizing it) and monthly discounts on specific products and sweepstakes. You don’t have to worry about points and it’s free and easy to sign up for and they are really excited about getting customers to join the family. (I watched the cashier tell a young family to go back and get a card, she’d wait for them.)

I saved $6.45 on my cart and got a free frozen yogurt for just signing up. Thanks IKEA.

Glad to be part of the family!

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October 20, 2021
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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