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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Kotex: Whole Truth or Too Much?

For more than 10 years we’ve been doing research about “below the belt” type products and categories. Yup. Lots of stuff about “intimate” things. If you aren’t comfortable talking about stuff “down there” then you wouldn’t be good on our team.

We’ve talked about waxing, itching, leaking… and whenever we do women talk about how bad fem hy advertising is. They are embarassed by the euphemisms and imagery of women wearing white pants and bikinis. BUT when we have shown them more candid creative executions that take some liberties and even poke a little fun at the category, they back off their criticism and admit that they really don’t want anyone to talk about this stuff too graphically. Adult women just aren’t super comfortable talking about these things even if they pretend that they are. Trust me, I’ve heard more than one woman (old and young) refer to their menstrual cycle as “aunt Flo” or “her friend”.

So when I read about Kotex’s new campaign in an Andrew Adam Newman’s article in The New York Times I was intrigued. Here is what I love:

I love that the work is taking a Go Big or Go Home attitude and I think that if a brand like Kotex doesn’t take these kinds of risks that it will disappear into the sunset after being trampled by competitors. I’m impressed that JWT was able to get this strategy approved. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during these brainstorming sessions.

I love the inside baseball type references to market research!

I love that packaging in this category is getting more modern. This U by Kotex packaging is definitely a departure (black versus baby pink).

Here is what I worry about as a business strategist:

Will women, especially the young ones ages 14-21 that are being targeted, be brave enough to laugh at these jokes? Is any 14 year old girl confident enough for that? Plus if you are 14 years old you haven’t really been exposed to the historically bad category advertising to get the joke. Sort of like why I don’t think that 14 year olds and 40 year olds appreciatte Facebook for the same reason – if you are 14 you aren’t old enough to have lost touch with people! Who are they reconnecting with?

I also worry for Kotex that the work will be like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Consumers will be relieved that someone has spoken the truth but that they won’t be motivated enough to change their behavior or their brand preference. Will a good, clever message equal increased sales? Remains to be seen I guess.

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October 20, 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.
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