This Just In: Advertising Works on Women

Kindle, Hershey's, Lincoln Climb Ranks of NBCU Brand Index

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Amazon Kindle, Verizon, and Hershey's were on many women's minds in October, according to NBC Universal's latest women brand power index, now in its third month. But it wasn't Christmas shopping or Halloween trick-or-treating alone that got those brands in good stead with the ladies, say NBCU researchers. It was advertising and marketing.

The index uses search data from Compete, social media "buzz" data from New Media Strategies, and conversations tracked by Keller Fay Group to determine the monthly ranking of 500 brands among women. And last month, Kindle's aggressive "Buy Once, Read Everywhere" campaign and a Kindle vs. iPad TV ad; Verizon's initial iPad push; and Hershey's Bliss Chocolate cause campaign for breast cancer all resulted in increased brand importance among women.

Verizon moved up to No. 3 from No. 4, but Kindle zoomed from No. 386 to No. 170 and Hershey's from not-even-on-the-chart to No. 122. Lincoln saw a similar bump. The Ford unit's heavy ad push put it on the list for the first time at No. 59. (Maybe it also helped that it starred "Mad Men" actor John Slattery.)

In other words, massive ad campaigns drive awareness in women.

OK, but while we're all behind the fact that media buys bring brands to top of mind -- and it's good to know marketers are getting their money's worth -- wouldn't the result be the same for both women and men?

An NBC Universal spokeswoman said that is certainly possible -- they don't do a control study for men -- but said the study did find some nuances in the way women were being targeted, particularly from the tech and car companies. For example, in the Kindle vs. iPad ad, it's a woman who is happily holding the Kindle, while a man can't read on an iPad in the sunlight.

Of course, marketers would be crazy not to target women considering the research factoid that women control some 80% of household purchases, and further influence something like 95% of them. (I quoted that research in a story a few years ago, and a male editor asked me, "Are you sure we even get 5%?")

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