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On a lighter side... As you can see from your own blog, personal stories do work. Your shoe store has changed because a company cared enough to send flowers to someone, who in turned wrote about it, and then you placed it on your website for all the world to see!


I couldn't agree more, B. Stories DO work, in the right context. And notice I was telling a story about someone else, not myself. It's always easier to talk about someone else you admire (or had a bad experience with!).


On the storytelling angle, I think it depends on who tells the story, and how germane it is to the campaign.

More to the point, though, I think women on the whole DO care, a lot, about a lot of things, and more specifically, about a lot of people. It is not necessarily patronizing to acknowledge this. Again - it depends on what the ultimate message is.

Michele, you make an excellent point, in that if a company/campaign were sincere in their "honoring" of a certain segment of their client base, they would not see the need to ask permission first.

For Thanksgiving, I wrote and distributed a list of 313 people whom I'm grateful to have in my life. (http://www.wordsmadeeasy.com/313_people_i_am_thankful_for.htm).

One of my friends made the comment that I should have asked each of them permission before mentioning them publicly. Say what? That would have completely falsified the meaning of the note in the first place. What you are saying is similar.

Simply put, I think women care a lot - but they also care how the "compliment" is worded.

Best regards -



I do bristle at being categorized as a caretaker, simply because that seems to be the default category for women. Both men and women fit this role in many aspects but for some reason for women we seems to boild down as caretakers even if we are CEOs, artists, accomplished musicians, or just plain smart. Yet, this never seems to be the perception of men even though men are caretakers as well. When it's a man we change the language and call him a "provider." I pride myself on being a caring person, but I also am a business owner, a photographer, a friend, and have a subversive sense of humor. Who is CVS to decide which of these matters most to me or all women?

I think Dove's campaign for real beauty resonated with people because it wasn't patronizing. The people in the ads are very attractive, they just break the mold of typicaly shampoo ads.

Elizabeth M. Johnson

Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" resonates with women because it is as authentic as advertising gets. Through this campaign, Dove created an opportunity for "imperfect" women (most of us!) to identify in a positive way with someone who looks like they do. Dove makes real, beautiful. CVS' campaign does the exact opposite: it positions all women as caretakers...as the same, not unique. In attempting to honor caregivers, CVS has marginalized the real work that caregivers offer while simultaneously offending those of us who wear multiple hats. Another attempt to please "everyone" winds up pleasing no one.

Nora Lee

I'll admit upfront that I haven't been impressed with CVS since they opened right down the street from me. And my first thought was "What caregiver has time to sit down an write about their experience?" That would explain why people are writing about others. But, as has been pointed out, women have a built in s@#*-detector and the request for permission to send info is the smelly part here. I immediately assume the rest is just window dressing.

Kare Anderson

Spot on!
And I am so happy to hear your sentiments echoed here in the comments because I thought I was being a grinch until I read your post. Bet many "niche" markets will be on the receiving end of awkward attempts like this to "help" and "support."


Michele, oner word sums up why Dove's campaign worked while others come across as merely pandering: "authenticity."

When you tell me a story that engages me and then I get the feeling that you've only told me the story to seduce me, then I feel exploited. Moral: Don't tell me stories if your only objective in doing so is to get me to buy your products.


Mary Schmidt

While it's true that women often are the caretakers - it really irritates me that somehow because I am a woman, I'm automatically - well, of course! - a caretaker...and want to "share" my stories. Then, let's all put on our pink sweaters, do a group hug and sing Kubaya.

As David notes above - regardless of sex or "demographic" - there's a huge difference between connecting and exploiting.

Richard Anderson

A member of our organization, the Well Spouse Association, actually wrote to one of the story-collectors on the CVS site.

Apparently men are welcome to contribute also. It's a surprise, when you see the illustrations on the site, all of women, and the way it reads, aimed at the (I assumed, female) customer.

So as a former (male) spousal caregiver, I'm going to write in!

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