A few weeks ago Kimberly Palmer, reporter for U.S. News and World Report, contacted me to ask my opinion on the new CVS “For All the Ways You Care” campaign. I know there are other marketing-to-women honchos out there who tend to play it safe, reacting positively to almost any campaign that is directed towards women. But that’s not me. I can’t help being the one who drops the cat in the punch bowl when the party needs a little life.
While I was mentioned in Kimberly’s excellent article, I thought I’d post my original thoughts to Kimberly here:
If this is a major marketing campaign for CVS, they run the risk of alienating many of their female customers, who may “bristle” at the thought of being pegged as a “caretaker.” While it’s true that most women do fill this role at times, it’s usually done in a private manner and to have it acknowledged could make these women feel condescended to... the act of caretaking is an unselfish one that is confined to a “one-on-one” basis. Many women don’t necessarily like calling attention to themselves in this role.
What I find quite interesting are the “stories” that have been posted on the CVS website. You can see that most women are sharing stories about others who care (not themselves), and many of these involve men Probably the biggest mistake that CVS makes here is that they ask for permission to promote CVS-based discounts in the future. It’s good that they ask permission, but they shouldn’t be asking AT ALL. If this is a safe space to honor caretakers, it should be just that – an authentic, genuine way to share stories about generous people WITHOUT being promoted to. If it’s really for “all the ways you care,” then it SHOULDN’T be about CVS. Women will remember where they posted the story – CVS would be smart to realize that giving a space for women to share their voices is enough – they don’t need the promotion aspect of it all.
Little did I know that Kimberly agreed with me. Read her new blog post about corporations who are trying to get women to share their “personal stories” via marketing efforts and websites, and why she doesn’t find it to be a good fit with consumers.
What do you think? Are campaigns like the ones that Home Depot and CVS have created on the right track when it comes to connecting with women? Why did the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty resonate when others haven’t? I know why, but I want to hear from you. Are there any other good or bad examples of this going on in the marketing world? Share your comments here, and we’ll make sure Kimberly sees all of them. Who knows? You might end up in her next article.