Leah Panapa: Marketing mishaps in gender equality

Opinion 03/05/2019

By Leah Panapa, Magic Nights host.

It must be hard nowadays for anyone in marketing to sit around the boardroom table (or where ever they dream up their ideas) and hope that what they land on doesn’t come across as offensive.

The brains behind the Mother's Day brochure for fashion and homeware department store Farmers, must not have thought they would cop some flak for advertising hair removal gadgets and weighing scales as gifts for mums.

Why would they? On Fathers Day, there is an equally glossy brochure that shows an array of shavers, nose and ear trimmers, socks and underpants – things all men want!

Has Farmers missed the mark with their latest campaign?

According to some customers they have.

One commented the brochure was a ‘terrible move’ and reminded mothers that their value is intrinsically tied to their appearance, based on normative beauty ideals".

Another, posted: “Here mum, have a set of scales because you clearly need drop a few kilograms. Love ya."

My Dad for each Christmas would get my Mum as part of her presents, either the latest fry pan or crock pot or some gadget that my mother loved! Was that because she enjoyed cooking and preparing meals for her family or was my dad trying to make sure she stayed put in the kitchen?

My mum loved her latest appliances and was by no way offended.

Now if he had bought her weighing scales and shavers; well it was the 70’s so I think ‘hair’ was okay back then and she might have thought the scales were for all of us.

By the train of thought by those that have been offended, what then about the advertising/selling of makeup or perfume? Isn’t is suggesting somehow my natural face is offensive and I smell!

The reality is many women (and men) use weighing scales and shave and promoting them on Mother's Day is smart business by Farmers.

Leah Panapa is host of Magic Talk Nights.