I don't blame you if you stop reading this right now. What could be more boring than marketing to middle-aged women?
It's so boring that no one wants to do it. We're the wallflower generation. Nobody wants to talk to us.
At the risk of sounding whiny, let me say that nobody wanted to talk to us when we were in our 20s or 30s, either.
Yes, yes, we know. You're talking to our daughters now. On the Internet. In such magazines as Jane and Marie Claire. But midlife women are all but invisible to automotive marketers.
We want to be spoken to directly. We want to be looked straight in the eye. On TV. In the pages of the newspapers and magazines we read. On the radio. In direct mail. At marketing events.
We're tired of getting the leftovers from messages intended primarily for middle-aged men - our husbands, our brothers. And we know how ardently you are courting our kids. It's a source of wry amusement.
What are we asking for? Respect and recognition as an economic force. We want automotive marketers to show they know where we live.
No, that's not easy. We're a diverse bunch. But it isn't easy to chase elusive twentysomethings, either.
We know the force of our spending power and our financial worth. We're trading our money for goods and services every day. So imagine what it feels like to move through the automotive landscape unseen. Ignored. Invisible. Living daily in a world clothed in corporate logos but with nothing cut to fit our shape.
I speak of a generation of women who were social pioneers. Women who bequeath to our daughters and your daughters the right to hold a credit card in their own names. The right to buy a vehicle without the signature of husband, father or brother.
We see ourselves as financially capable. We believe we have earned the right to be spoken to. That's what makes the silence so irksome. We are relevant.
You talk to minivan moms in fits and starts. You talk and talk and talk to our husbands and brothers. You talk to our kids. But where is the direct address to midlife women?
Et tu, Tahoe?
This rant began as an idea from an editor to enter the Chevrolet Tahoe write-your-own-ad campaign. I created my ad before I went to the contest Web site.
What did I envision? A campaign that features real midlife women playing out their passions in life. The tag line: "You and your passion to play."
Each ad features a real-life woman. You don't need a lot of bio. Her face will tell you she loves her family, cares for her aging parents, helps her friend through breast cancer, earns her way through decades of life.
The Tahoe is on hand, part of the woman's daily life. The ad's simple text or voice-over tells us what this woman most loves to share in her life and how that passion makes her feel. Real-life connection.
Then we are told about the price of a typically equipped Tahoe, its standard safety features, the fuel-economy rating. We are given the address of the Chevy Web site to obtain more information or a dealership name.
That was my vision. Then I opened the Tahoe contest page. The contest art and music already are formatted. My idea was stillborn at Step 1.
Lots of Tahoe glamour video. The Tahoe on a snowy mountain outcropping. The Tahoe and a waterfall. The Tahoe traversing rugged terrain.
No way to show the Tahoe as part of a woman's passionate involvement in life. No way to show that Chevy knows how we live every day.
That's what we want. Touch us where we live. Give us the resonance of recognition. We know who we are. We are amazed you don't see us.
You may e-mail Mary Connelly at [email protected]