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MARKETER: Intimate Brands


CRITIQUE: We admit it. The Cyber Critique staff has almost unfailingly, almost unflinchingly, almost unapologetically offered an almost exclusively male viewpoint in this space since 1995. We make no excuses beyond noting the byline that runs with this column and letting readers draw their own conclusions.

So to spend some time looking at how marketers are advertising to women, we typed "women" into our Web browser and were taken to We looked at lots of ads and, after all that good intention, found ourselves right back in our male-centric viewpoint-writing about Victoria's Secret.

Here's why. The small right-side square ad has something we've never seen in our extensive research of the company: a guy. People have always assumed Vicky's catalog/TV spots were really aimed at men. So what do you do to target the consumers who use your product? Change your focus. This ad isn't some unrealistically built woman looking good in lace. Rather, it's a mildly unrealistically built woman looking good with a hunky guy wrapped around her. The copy reads "Add a little something to your romance," which if you miss the "click here" line below, almost sounds like a house ad for a Cosmo-esque quiz on how to please your guy.

As right as it is to create a different look for a different audience, the marketer is kept a secret, which could be a mistake for one of the strongest brands in its industry. And it means that anyone who doesn't click through gets no message from the marketer.

Nothing intimate about that customer relationship, no matter what you're wearing or what your gender is.

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