Pharrell Releases Qream Liqueur For Women, Thinks Men Will Drink It

Entertainer Pharrell has released a new “vodka-based cream liqueur” which is low-calorie, nearly lactose-free, and has about the same alcohol content as wine. Taking into account this characteristic reduction, it’s no surprise that it’s specifically for the ladies. Or, as Pharrell puts it in his interview with Rap-Up, it’s a drink “that everybody could enjoy, but women [know it is] for them.” And one more thing: It’s called Qream.

While flavored liqueur is in itself a touch feminine, the girliest thing about Qream (pronounced “cream”) is that the two flavors, strawberry and peach, come in pale bottles reminiscent of the fake perfume in our childhood Pretty Pretty Princess game. With packaging like that, we would like to ask Pharrell the following question: If this wasn’t your creation, would you drink it in public?

Following the success of Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl, it’s no surprise that a beverage targeting women would take the less-is-more approach. But it strikes us as more of a beverage that everybody could enjoy rather than one that everyone will.  Seeing as ordering the liqueur would require yelling “Qream, please,” across both a bar and a thumping bass while indicating what looks like Princess Jasmine’s favorite scent, Pharrell’s best move might be to incorporate it into signature drinks—preferably those easy to pronounce and without the scurrilous name associations.

Not to hate on either Pharrell or his newest product, but if we’re going to try a new adult beverage, we’re going with Copenhagen over Qream.

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Chobani Cheers for Their Littlest Champs!

Chobani’s the newest breakfast for champions… the littlest champions, that is. That’s right, the leading Greek yogurt brand in the country has introduced a new line of yogurts, called Champions, that are blasting with nutrition and fun just for the little ones.  It’s the first Greek-yogurt that is specifically targeted to children. Currently there are only two different flavors to choose from, Verry-Berry and Honey-nana, which–according to the website–are made with natural ingredients, active cultures, packed with protein and will deliver a much-needed source of calcium for those growing bones.

The Chobani Champions website allows proud parents to post pictures of their Champs eating the good stuff, along with a short story as to why their kid is a Chobani Champion. Users of the website vote on the “Champ of the Month” who is then awarded a free case of yogurt.

Through the product and website, Chobani has created a relationship with their customers far beyond simply delivering a good source of nutrition for their children. It allows the parent and child to connect through food that is good for the body and be involved in a conversation with other parents on the website who also are experiencing the same good-nutrition victories, all while are keeping the Chobani brand in the back of their mind.

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Lean Cuisines, Convenient from Bag to Bowl

Often our days become so jam-packed that cooking a healthy meal falls to the last thing on our to-do list.  Lean Cuisine has marketed their line of revamped microwavable dinners to women who are looking for a convenient and easy meal, without having to give up value and good quality.  Their long list of frozen meals recently expanded to add their steamable bag versions, and after trying my first one this week, I’m hooked.

Besides the fact that my taste buds go crazy for the Asiago Cheese Tortelloni they offer, the steamable bags offer some other benefits for Lean Cuisine fans. Firstly, the steaming process helps to make the vegetables crisp and the pasta al dente, providing the same textures one receives from a home-cooked meal. But the steam bags do even more than that: They force me to put my 5-minute-made meal into a civilized bowl for eating. Instantly my microwaved meal that I was feeling slightly guilty about has disguised itself as a home-cooked meal!

I would like to personally thank you, Lean Cuisine, for taking the guilt out of what is otherwise considered an old-fashioned TV dinner… and for helping me fit into my skinny jeans.

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Yoplait: Truth or Trigger?

 

Yoplait, who created an ad where a woman negotiates with herself to be “allowed” a slice of cheesecake (“I could have a medium slice and some celery sticks and they would cancel each other out, right?”), has pulled the ad in response to complaints from the National Eating Disorders Association, which declared that the woman’s internal monologue wasn’t funny or realistic—in fact, it was the depiction of mental conflict that could trigger a person suffering from an eating disorder.

Kudos to Yoplait, of course, for responding appropriately to the situation. Illness aside, here’s a question for you: When the woman in the ad regards the treat and negotiates with herself, what is her actual intention when it comes to her own actions? Let’s break it down:

Half Truth: To justify eating the cheesecake, I’ll limit the rest of my day to celery sticks.

Whole Truth: I’ll consider the celery, but I’ll actually just eat the cheesecake and go on as per usual.

To be honest, we identified with that ad when it showed up in our browser. What unrealistically well-adjusted woman doesn’t second-guess a high-calorie indulgence in the middle of her workday? By nature, Yoplait’s position as a substitute treat and healthy lifestyle aid puts it square at the intersection of health and mental health. And that’s a hard place to be.

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Guns vs Sloth: The Appeal of Nerf

Which is more upsetting: Your child glued to a TV screen for hours on end, or your child actively playing… with a toy gun?
Hasbro, the longtime providers of all things gun (as an aside, the term “gun” is avoided within the company, where they substitute the word “shooter”) has placed its bets behind our horror of young American couch potatoes.

The Wall Street journal describes how Nerf has progressed beyond your basic party-favor water gun to elaborate launchers of water, paper, and foam. What caught our eye, however, is the growth of the Dart Tag league. Hasbro turned Dart Tag into a sport based on and named after one of its most popular models in 2008, and will now recruit young players (of both sexes) nationally to participate in the first-ever championship game held in Orlando, FL this August.

Let’s do a quick rundown: Engaging consumers? Check. Benefitting youth? Check. Increasing sales? Judging by the 2010 reported 8% sales increase of outdoor toys in a wholly unremarkable toy retail market—check. While the mom in many of us cringes at the thought of children shooting each other with anything, that same side cheers for an activity that can peel our kids off the couch. In fact, the appeal has us justifying our approval (“It’s really only water/paper/Nerf”). Well played, Hasbro.

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Just Ask a Woman is seeking an associate planner: Want to join our team?

Just Ask a Woman, the leading women’s marketing consultancy in the US, is seeking an insightful, energetic Associate Account Planner. Job listing below. If all of this sounds like a description of you or someone you know, please contact Tracy Chapman at tchapman@justaskawoman.com

Responsibilities include:

Qualitative Research Support and Execution

  • work with the three JAAW team principals to grow the client base and deliver results that earn repeat business
  • be proficient at research screener creation, interfacing with recruiters and managing multiple recruits across the country
  • development of discussion guides and ability to respond to client edits and direction
  • orchestration of the on-site planning and logistics for the qualitative work, which ranges from large group interviewing to small group, as well as in-store and in-home ethnographic techniques
  • attendance at research sessions and recording notes.  May also include independently interviewing women in a style that shows openness, empathy and engagement
  • ability to pull together consumer perspective, insights and marketing point of view in a highly persuasive, readable document
  • ability to develop PowerPoint presentations
  • ability to review and edit video to support insights in a compelling way
  • effective presenter to client organizations. Comfortable speaking in front of small and large audiences

 Eager Contributor to Content Creation

In addition to our insight-gathering and strategic marketing prowess, Just Ask a Woman is also a prolific communications organization. This candidate will be encouraged to add their voice to not only the Just Ask a Woman editorial but also other media venues, both traditional and digital in order to spread our learning to potential clients and partners.

 A Smart, Likeable, Energetic Team Player

With a small company, it may go without saying that chemistry counts, but here it’s a mantra. Our style with our clients is honest and persistent and frankly, fun. We have a track record for being people whom others really love to work with, thanks to our track record of responsiveness, speed and grace under pressure and our unrelenting commitment to speak truth to power. We are all hands on and expect that same work ethic from everyone.

 Someone who both works to live and lives to work

While we work hard, we are also very conscious of two things. One, that burning talent to the ground is a sure fire way to burn it out, so we are generous with our vacation policy and our flexibility when life calls for it. But we also expect that in return, each team member will include Just Ask a Woman’s goals as a personal priority. We can’t help thinking about women 24/7/365 even when off duty, so our insights are always shared among us, fresh and not slotted under “later.”

 Qualification Requirements:

Must have a Bachelor’s degree. Internships in related fields a plus

2-3 years of relevant experience in an account planning department

Excellent writing skills

Proficient with PowerPoint. Final Cut Pro experience preferred

Travel is required

Assets

Strong awareness and interest in all media forms; active social media presence; pop culture enthusiast; trendwatcher and interpreter; avid consumer, especially at discount; is a careful budget manager who treats our clients’ investments and Just Ask a Woman’s assets with care and precision.

A perfectionist as far as details and follow up, a big strategic thinker who’s also a practical problem solver, fast on your feet, but thoughtful in your approach, an easy sense of humor, empathy and relatability to women of all life stages, income, geography, ethnicity and values.

If you are the person that people turn to for help, the person that others confess secrets to…and you keep them, you are on the right track. And most of all, you must have a deep personal respect and regard for women. We are kind of obsessed with how they think, behave and buy.  And we care about helping them have happier, healthier lives by giving our clients the support to do right by them AND make money doing it.

Please contact Tracy Chapman at tchapman@justaskawoman.com

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Carlsberg Copenhagen: This Beer Matches My Outfit

With the light color palette and clean lines of their newest beer, Copenhagen, Carlsberg looks to entice the quarter of all beer drinkers who are female. While the idea is a good one (why let a quarter of your market fall by the wayside?), this is an actual quote from the company’s innovation director:

“There may be situations where they are standing in a bar and want their drinks to match their style. In this case, they may well reject a beer if the design does not appeal to them.”

Yes, it must be that common “this alcohol doesn’t match my outfit” dilemma that turns many women away from beer. Not the ads portraying them as keg-providing robots. To give Carlsberg credit, though (and Fast Company makes the good point that the company is based in Denmark, one of the world’s most gender-equal countries), the packaging is beautiful—and not pink!

The “androgynous” drink, according to Adweek, won’t make an appearance Stateside—and let’s just point out that beer, not having a sex, gender, or any human biology really, would have a hard time looking androgynous—so it won’t be the new must-have accessory for American women.

Being unable to test it ourselves, we’ll have to address our European counterparts for the answer to the deciding question: How does it taste?

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Television for Women vs Television with Women in Mind

For twelve years we have been trying to help companies gain women’s loyalty by truly understanding them and creating products and services that truly fit their needs. Not once have we recommended to a client that they build a product or service that is exclusively FOR women. That kind of segregation does not boost bottom lines.

We strongly believe that by listening to women you get human solutions not pink ones that are made just for her. When Westin listened to women talk about what they wanted from a hotel room the Heavenly Bed (and its Heavenly cousins) was born. They never had to say that their hotel aimed to be the favorite of women, especially business travelers, but making changes like the clean, fuzzy bed, the curved shower rod and the signature scent showed that the brand had women in mind. When Toyata’s Sienna listened to mothers talk about their mini wagons the famously successful Swagger Wagon viral video series was born. Its brilliance was that it included both parents in the joke truly reflecting how Gen X families operate.

I share all of this to lead into today’s example of why marketing with women in mind is more successful than overtly marketing to women. As the upfronts approach, The New York Post explains that American women are not choosing female focused channels like Lifetime or Hallmark (Lifetime’s rating dropped 17% in the first quarter and Hallmark’s audience drew 17% fewer women than a year ago). They are choosing MTV, Bravo and even the History Channel and ESPN instead. My thesis is that these channels have done a great job defacto marketing to women. There is no doubt that Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is intended for women’s audience (and that all women want Andy Cohen to be their best friend) yet Bravo never has to say they are telelvision for women. And their numbers are up 37%. Even “grown up” women want to watch Jersey Shore and The Real World and as obnoxious as I find Snooki mania you can’t knock the 67% jump in viewership for the quarter. Besides the more unisex programming of shows like Top Chef there is also the husband/boyfriend factor at play. Bottom line, you can probably get your husband to watch something on Bravo but ask him to tune into Lifetime and he will find something that needs his immediate attention.

The jury is still out on OWN but Oxygen, Lifetime and Hallmark have their work cut out for them to compete with all of the cable channels that are stealing their audience by being inclusive.

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Can Real Women Finally Sell Dove?

It’s no secret that Just Ask a Woman has been critical about Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. In fact, we wrote an entire chapter about it in our book, What She’s Not Telling You, Why Women Hide the Whole Truth. Why? While women publicly cheered for the campaign, Dove’s sales slowed and then flatlined. Our conclusion:  Women want to know that when they put their money on the beauty counter they are getting a product backed by science and technology and of course, results. It’s hard to sell ‘Love the Skin You’re In’ .

So I was excited this morning as I was going through my own beauty routine and watching the Today show (before I had to give the TV over to Elmo), to see Dove’s new commercial for VisibleCare Body Wash. The commercial reveals a photo shoot with real women getting close-ups taken by a fashion photographer. Then the women are asked to use the body wash for a week and are brought back to see their close-ups…what do  they find? Close-ups of their skin…before and after shots, and the difference is dramatic.

Dove got it right – they bring us real women which stays true to their brand image but they promise us results, in only a few weeks, backed by technology that is clinically prove to visibly improve skin (“highest concentration of Nutrium Moisture™” – I don’t know what that is but I want it now!) The website provides visual proof and information about the science behind the product.

Women love before and after pictures and we love results. The Whole Truth is that real beauty is on the inside and the outside. I love that Dove is finally focusing their message to what matters most with women and I bet they’ll love what it does to their bottom line.

I just downloaded my $1 off coupon from the website and will be headed to Duane Reade on my way home tonight!

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Earliest Impressions of the OWN network

Thanks to the East Coast snowstorm and our vacation from the office I was able to spend some time cleaning out my DVR. Yes, my life can be that exciting. It was a priority actually because I needed to make room for the new programming on the debut of Oprah’s network OWN. I’ve caught a handful of shows so far and here are my first impressions.

1. Master Class: The debut with Diane Sawyer was wonderful albeit I would watch Diane do laundry because I worship her so much. The storytelling nature (i.e. Diane telling her own story) is appealing versus the narrated versions like A&E Biography – this definitely feels more intimate. Not sure if this will be a must watch for me unless it is about someone I already find compelling.

2. Kidnapped by the Kids This show made me mad. The premise is that parents who spend too much time working get “kidnapped” by their children for a week to reconnect. The debut episode featured a man who traveled a lot for work and his wife and three kids who felt neglected. They got permission from his boss to take him out of the work mode for a week and hijacked him at the airport. It was touching to see young children so articulately express how his absense and the distractions of his BlackBerry and laptop made them feel. I teared up a little when the son said he thought his dad “had another family he liked better somewhere else”.

But a poorly timed toungue lashing by his wife killed the poignant moment. What followed was a montage of things the father got to do with his kids (camping, fishing, grocery shopping, swimming) and it ended with a moment in the family’s yard where he cried and apologized for spending so much time on work. Big hug. End credits with an update that dad has taken a job closer to home. WHAT?! That’s it? The solution here was crying and hugging? What a missed opportunity for the show to take a more practical turn to fix the problem that face so many of us. Let’s start small. Maybe no blackberry at dinner? Maybe a technology free day of the weekend? But the solution can’t be that dad feels guilty about earning a living. Can you tell this is a sore point for me as a working mom? My daughter recently interupted our bedtime story so that she could “take a call” on her pretend phone. Ouch, right? Parents who work don’t love their children any less and unless this show gets constructive it is just another guilt trip.

3. Behind the Scenes: A reality show about the production of Oprah’s last season of shows. Gimme more. Gimme more. This is like candy for me. I live for the behind the scenes look at how the show is put together. Since finding women to interview is part of my daily life I love watching the producers scramble to find the right guests. On the catty side I like seeing the knowing glances among the staff when they think that the big O is being unreasonable or overly demanding.

4. Overall I worry about the TBS and Oxygen effect. Will the lack of new programming make this channel a repository for tired chick flicks? I’ve seen some Tweets in the last few minutes that An Officer and A Gentleman is playing right now. What’s special about that? How is that Oprah-esque?

Being realistic I know that there isn’t enough new material for 24 hours of coverage but monotonous re-runs and old movies will not make for destinationl television. BUT maybe, just maybe the Oprah geniuses already know their audience well enough to know that we will all DVR the shows so it doesn’t matter what’s on in between. That must be it. See I knew they were smart.

I can’t wait to see Gayle’s new show next week and I’m a big fan of Dr. Berman too… but I’ve had enough of Phil, Oz and Orman to last me a lifetime. Tune in and let’s discuss… Stay tuned here because I will post soon about how I believe brands can use this platform to really market with women.

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December 2, 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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