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Use of Rosie the Riveter in ad being called sexist, but is it?

Rosie the Riveter is the timeless symbol of the power and struggle of women, so using her in an ad with a mop is being called sexist, but others say it is simply par for the course. What say you?



swiffer rosie

swiffer rosie the riveter

The curse of attempting vintage imagery

It was recently uncovered that the Swiffer brand invoked the image of Rosie the Riveter from the WWII “We Can Do It!” campaign that got women to work outside of the home. The new ad campaign has been highly criticized and called sexist, but is Swiffer really just trying to go vintage as so many other brands have done (and hipsters dictate is “cool”)?

Swiffer told HuffPo, “We are aware of the concerns regarding an image in a Swiffer ad. Our core purpose is to make cleaning easier for all consumers, regardless of who is behind the handle of our products. It was not our intention to offend any group with the image, and we are working to make changes to where it is used as quickly as possible.”

You weigh in

So, is the use of Rosie in this fashion sexist, or is it reinforcement that even housewives are badass? We asked on Facebook what your thoughts were and they were predictably diverse.

Vicki Moore asked, “where’s their creativity? I hate the ad – using Rosie that way is sacrilegious. She’s an icon and statement of the era.”

Katie Miquoe Dalrymple was equally against invoking Rosie, saying, “It’s really just extremely ignorant. I can’t imagine them putting this ad together AND truly understanding that they are advertising polar opposite stereotypes unless they were trying to lose their job. But it’s truly amazing what pure stupidity can get through a whole team of people.”

Kelly Saccomanno opined, “it’s a big *facepalm* moment of advertisers distinctly Not Getting It. Dummies. I mean, oooh, so revolutionary. Expecting women to do housework.”

Par for the course?

Whether for or against the image, perhaps this kind of “shocking” advertising is just par for the course.

“Well let’s be completely honest,” Tara Sybrant stated, “it might be a horrible use of ‘Rosie’ but the fact of the matter remains that people are talking about the ad- good or bad, it did it’s job. There is an over saturation of marketing and advertising in this world and as a marketer the day that someone starts talking about your ad, good or bad, is a good day. We need to push boundaries to be noticed, to get the job done. It’s a challenging time to be a marketer trying for the limited attention span of today’s consumer.”

Loren Nason was more blunt in saying, “big woop… keep bitching all you want about a lame ad. It just gets them more eyeballs which is all they want.”

Good point.

Interesting thoughts on the subject

Rachael Glosser noted that “even strong, powerful, and independent women have to mop the kitchen floor sometimes,” so perhaps the image isn’t as negative as many are taking it.

Eve Richter said, “having a GUY in that picture would have made it funnier and a better commentary. As it is – yes, [it is] sexist, and indeed pissing on the icon’s legacy. Just stupid.”

Sharon Mays agreed. “This ad is lame and a missed opportunity to actually market the product. It’s pretty pathetic that whoever created this campaign didn’t stop to think about all the other demographics that would use this product but are not typically the target audience. Why not feature a person in his/her first apartment or home? Or someone tackling a huge mess, like a Dad cleaning up after his messy toddler? That might actually resonate a positive emotion and encourage a purchase. Using Rosie the Riveter is just stupid. This is an icon that was created to empower and encourage women to join the workforce during wartime. Now she’s promoting cleaning? Pathetic and Stupid.”

What do you think? Is Swiffer’s use of Rosie the Riveter sexist, supportive of the strength of women, or simply an expected marketing tactic?

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?



blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.



Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.



Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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