Less than 15% of ads are directed specifically to women and less than 5% are intended just for men. The remaining 80% are apparently targeted to everyone. This presumes very little difference in overall response between genders, which is strange, given that fundamental gender differences do exist. For example, women typically respond more positively to ads than men. Why should this be so? Is it intrinsic, is it cultural, or are there types of ads that work better with women than men, and vice versa? What leads to such differences? This paper reviews gender differences stemming from in-utero hormonal flows that shape the embryonic brain. How do such differences affect overall gender response to advertising? The findings show that advertising directed to just men or just women is more effective – yet paradoxically, it is seldom utilised, as most advertising appears to be targeted to both genders. In addition, although there is a wide range of effective styles of advertising and of content types that are demonstrably effective, many are comparatively neglected. Thus, there are opportunities for much more creativity and variety in the way advertising messages are communicated. The paper seeks to provide some clear pointers on how to go about this.
International Journal of Market Research,
Vol. 53, no. 2 (2011), pp. 147-170