What do women want? Geraldine Laybourne, CEO of the Oxygen Media TV and interactive networks, thinks she knows.
'It isn't enough for (women) to see a cool product and to see cool ads,' the TV industry veteran said during a Feb. 16 speech to the Adcraft Club of Detroit.
Speaking specifically of automotive marketing, she said, '(Women are) tough customers, and we hold grudges.'
Laybourne, one-time president of Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and the Disney/ABC Cable Networks, insists that advertising directed at women should talk about the company's values and should show women that their cars are designed with women in mind.
Laybourne pointed out four TV commercials that she believes are 'breakthroughs' in reaching women:
1. Chevy Blazer's 'Let's hear it for the lady - here's to you, Mom' spot that features a woman running in a jogging outfit toward her child. The ad ends with Chevy's tag line: 'We'll be there.'
2. Chrysler's spot for the PT Cruiser in which a little girl asks, 'What the ...?' when she sees the Cruiser for the first time. The vehicle is bathed in sunlight as the voiceover announces the 'Chrysler PT Cruiser' and insists, 'You've never seen anything like it.'
3. Ford Division's spot for the Windstar minivan starring engineer Cynthia Hodges, who explains that she designed the vehicle for people such as her neighbors and family - those who understand the van's full range of family oriented benefits. Hodges' daughter speaks the ad's exit line: 'My mom built that car.'
4. Saturn's commercial that shows a salesman introducing a first-time buyer to his colleagues. 'This is Julie, and this is her first new car,' the salesman says. The spot ends with a scene depicting Saturn's trademark ritual of taking a picture of the buyer and the new car.
Laybourne, along with talk show superstar Oprah Winfrey, founded Oxygen two years ago to provide a network of women-focused Web sites and a 24-hour cable network.
'We want real relationships,' Laybourne says, 'and we want to know that automakers understand us, that you respect us and our world.'