Women Are Responsible For This Year’s Hottest Brands.

Adage’s 2010 Hottest Brands list is out and from the brand names on the list, it just goes to show the power of the female consumer.

With moms 32% more likely to use smart phones than the national average, it’s no wonder the Droid is at the top of the list followed by Glee (we’re quite the gleeks over here at Just Ask a Woman) and our personal favorite, Groupon

We know the power of the female consumer, which is why we’re not surprised to see Old Spice on the list.  We fell in love with the new campaign targeting the female influencers in men’s lives.

We are also glad to see Dawn dish soap made the list.  Procter & Gamble has done well combining innovation, value messaging  and saving the environment – from recession to oil spills, this brand knows how to make women feel good and clean.

U by Kotex has done a fantastic job getting young women to feel more comfortable in what we like to call, the “pink ghetto” ( That aisle in the supermarket or drugstore that we quickly walk down or avoid altogether.)  We especially loved that the campaign poked fun at typical advertising in this category.  Breaking the cycle can be difficult for many brands. Companies can learn from their brave move.

And while there are quite a number of other brands that made the list that can link their success to women, Reebok’s EasyTone also has Katrin Ley, Head of Brand Strategy, Business Development and Women’s Sport Business, to thank for the growing toning category. They have sold 5 million pairs of EasyTone in the U.S.

And while My Pillow Pets and Silly Bandz have a much younger audience, we know who is laying out the money for these as well.

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Prescription to Listen

An article by Rich Thomaselli in this week’s Ad Age observes that drug-makers are finally starting to see the benefit of listening to their consumers, thanks in part to the recent increase in patient-focused social networking sites. 

One such site, Patients Like Me, is an online community where people can gather to share information about their respective illnesses, as well as provide support and opinions on treatment options.  Co-founder and president Ben Heywood says of the site, “the challenge with health care is that it’s always been very individual, very personalized…[Patients] have different things going on, different needs, different problems they want to talk about. You need to solve those problems specific to that person…”

We saw this need for personal support and validation during research we have done on conditions like Fibromyalgia, incontinence, menopause, menoraghia—complicated conditions that can present differently in each case, making it difficult to diagnose and to treat.  These are also diseases that can carry a stigma (thanks to their ever changing laundry lists of symptoms), with some physicians dismissing the symptoms as purely psychological which can result in incomplete or incorrect treatment.  When we spoke to patients with these conditions, the universal wish was to be heard.  They wanted to know that their doctors were listening to them, believing them.  That their disease was real and they weren’t alone.  That validation was almost as important as physical relief. 

Patients Like Me gives patients a chance to be heard by the people that can make a difference.  Talk about transparency, they let their posters know that the information they exchange on the site will be sold to pharma companies—with the purpose of enhancing care and creating better solutions.  After all, how is a drug company supposed to know how to sell their products to a patient if they don’t understand what she wants or what she worries about? How will a physician know how to diagnose if they don’t know what to listen for—they need to learn to speak her language, because chances are she doesn’t speak like a textbook.  Bravo for making the effort to listen to real women!

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Zico: One of America’s Hottest Brands is also a Whole Truth Brand

I was very happy to see that my favorite coconut water, Zico, made it to Ad Age’s 2009 America’s Hottest Brands List, reported by Natalie Zmuda.  Introduced to it over two years ago at a hot yoga studio in New York, I looked forward to my Zico water at the end of each class even more than the class itself.  

Now I must confess, I wasn’t that good at Bikram Yoga. When everyone was staring at the wall behind them during backbends, I was looking at the ceiling and my favorite part of class was when they shut off the lights and I could lie perfectly still for as long as I wanted. (Hot yoga was a lot of work for an early evening nap!) 

As my reward for not passing out and actually lasting the full 90 minutes in the room, I would treat myself to a cold Zico.  And while I could have drunk the whole 11 ounces right there in the locker room, I enjoyed walking out of the building and onto the subway platform with my Zico in hand so others would think I was a dedicated yogi. 

As a Whole Truth Brand, Zico has connected with the E (Ego Protection) of G.A.M.E.S., our acronym for why women tell Half Truths.  Zico gives people bragging rights. And that’s actually part of the brand strategy. Mark Rampolla, Founder of Zico Beverages says that it heads straight for hot yoga studios, where it has had success in cultivating a crop of brand evangelists.

And while I haven’t been to hot yoga in quite some time, when I’m feeling like I need a pick me up, I pick up a Zico and head down those subway steps, and hold the container so others might think I could have just come from class.

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Advertising Age: Women’s Hidden Holiday Secrets

Our recent survey to more than 2,000 women revealed some pretty dramatic half truths and whole truths for today’s Advertising Age.

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If it Ain’t Broke…

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A recent AdAge article by Abbey Klaassen describes the growing recognition by marketers of the importance of the “humble product review.”

In research we conducted for a baby gear company, we spoke with both new and experienced moms, asking them how they made their decisions when it came to major purchases for their children—such as strollers and carseats.  Interestingly, nearly all of the women cited online product reviews as primary resources—even though that meant they were heeding the advice of virtual strangers.  The women made the point that it is unlikely someone will take time out of their busy day to sit down and review a product unless they have a passionate opinion (be it negative or positive) that they feel could benefit others.  A kind of ‘pay it forward’ ideology.

This fleshed out, undivided attention to a specific product or service is absent in other, more abbreviated mediums, such as Twitter and Facebook, which are designed to be casual and fast-paced.  Klaassen states, “while Twitter conversation and Facebook chatter is interesting and important, it’s not structured, and can be difficult for marketers to implement into their processes.  Review data, on the other hand, address a particular product- and when a consumer is in the mode to talk about it.”  In short, product reviews are more focused, more in-depth and thus, more actionable.

The article sites Walmart, Samsung and the Oriental Trading Co. as just some of the big name retailers who are taking notice and benefiting from this ‘old school’ feedback.  Samsung says it has started using its reviews to stay in tune with what their customers are thinking and even “enhance the shopping experience for consumers who are increasingly seeking more information,” among other things.  If the reviews are good enough and credible enough for their customers to base their decisions off of, retailers would do well to pay attention to, and act on, the free advice!

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October 24, 2020
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.
Go There

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