Advertisers Zero In On Digital Divas

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One thing we know, the feminist movement still hasn’t quite reached the advertising industry. At least they’re fair about it; men (fathers especially) could rightly complain about what bumbling, inept fools commercials make us out to be.

And that we’re depicted as breast-obsessed, beer-guzzling, football maniacs.

Yeah, and?

We don’t complain, of course, because generally we can, unlike Geico’s cavemen, take a joke. Still, as we leave the 20th and all previous centuries and their power structures behind (we are leaving them behind, right?), nothing shakes the advertising industry’s faith in what, generally, women want.

Science is science after all, right?

It’s certainly a new framing for it. Microsoft Advertising and Ogilvy Chicago aren’t so concerned with comparing the differences between men and women in the digital age. That’s well trodden ground. Instead, they’re comparing women of today to women of yesterday, and well, the softer sex is pretty much the same as it always was (assumed to be), only now a subset of them get a new pseudo-empowering handle:

Digital divas.

As if anybody really likes a diva. Put her in the room where we keep the Drama Queens and the High Maintenance Gals and hope that never again do we confuse “strong and independent” with “bitchy and selfish.”


Women have surpassed men (digital dudes?) in numbers on the Internet, a development seeming to require pumping more estrogen through the tubes to reach them—no wonder social networking is more popular than porn this year, eh?

Microsoft and Ogilvy’s study of women’s online behavior revealed some unexpected insights regarding that diva deluge, like how women might have an active interest in what graces their bottoms:

“What we uncovered was unexpected and unconventional insight: Even the most low-interest categories such as toilet paper can apply their digital advertising agenda to reach and impact women,” said Beth Uyenco, global research director of Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions.

Never would have guessed. Also never guessed perhaps is that a certain minority—16 percent, the so-called digital divas—show a higher propensity toward shopping and chatting and using digital devices like cell phones. Listening to her iPod, texting while shopping online and updating her profile? Totally a digital diva.

This newly labeled demographic is of particular interest because they are, just like analog divas, leaders of the pack.

“While Digital Divas are the trendsetters for marketers to understand now, the reality is the mainstream is soon to follow the patterns and paths they are forging now,” said Graceann Bennett, managing partner, director of Strategic Planning of Ogilvy & Mather Chicago. “This group was probably the most compelling of our study as the implications for how they behave are so important for brands.”

That is:

  • 22 percent of them shop once a day.
  • The majority views devices such as cell phones and computers as “extensions of themselves.”
  • 86 percent pass along interesting “finds” to others.
  • On average, they have 171 contacts in e-mail, social networking and cell phone address books.

An army of Paris Hiltons to lead us into the next great economy, whenever it arrives.

The study did eventually, or at least the summary of it, get more into the difference between how men and women process technology as a whole.

“What we found is that men and women fundamentally embrace technology differently; women think less about the technology itself and more about how it fits within their life — seeing their computers and cell phones as extensions of their personalities,” Uyenco said. “It is imperative for brands to adjust the way they deliver their messages in a way that works to meet a woman’s needs.”

Here’s some more information you’ll need for that:

  • More than half “never” unplug from their digital devices, even when sleeping.
  • They view tools such as rewards, loyalty cards, cell phones, coupons via the computer, TIVO and DVR, video on demand, opt-in daily e-mails, and handheld wireless devices to be “blessings” in their lives.
  • Technology “curses” were few and centered on activities and types of communication that were “out of their control.”
  • If forced to, they would “throw out” their television or cell phone first; only 11 percent would throw out their personal laptop.
  • E-mail is overwhelmingly, 85 percent, the most important tool.
  • On average, they have 5.8 “screens” and 12 digital devices.


Advertisers Zero In On Digital Divas
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