It’s no secret that the purchasing power of women is something that gets the attention of advertisers. But this hasn’t always been the case. In a recent AdAge article, Julie Halpert discusses top U.S. automaker Chevrolet and how the car company’s messages to female consumers have evolved over the years.
From a 1922 ad in Ladies Home Journal where Chevy stated its vehicles were perfect for wives to “drive the family provider to and from the station” to current Chevy ads targeting 22-26 year old women purchasing their first cars, Chevy has come a long way.
As modern women, it can be difficult to imagine a time when women didn’t even realize driving cars was an option to them. Chevy claims to have sold more vehicles between the early 1900s and World War II by helping to convince women this wasn’t true. In the 1950s, women were portrayed in ads as a “good wife” but this image evolved over the years, leading to the 1970s when women in bikinis were thought as accessories to the cars being shown in ads. It wasn’t until after women flooded the workplace in the 1980s and after that they were finally starting to be seen as customers.
Chevy marketed its S-10 Blazer to women in the 1980s by showing that it was a fashion statement. Ads included women loading the back of a Blazer with gardening gear and flowers. Other messages used featured Blazer as an “urban safety vehicle” that allowed drivers to dodge potholes and survive harsh winter conditions.
The popular “Like a Rock” campaign began in 1991 but was soon adapted to reach female truck consumers, playing on the idea that women want to be “like a rock” to their husbands, children and co-workers. Images of women in professional dress as well as images of mothers and women using their trucks for personal needs were used to help show the trucks as being dependable.
In 2008 Chevy hired a fashion photographer to shoot the Malibu for ads that were run in women’s magazines, positioned with ads for upscale, elegant products. It might not have been the most expected choice, but this allowed the car to be seen in a new light.
All of these actions through the years help to paint the picture of Chevy reaching out to women as real consumers with purchasing power in the automotive industry. By learning about women and how they buy, companies large and small can tap into the power of the purse and channel this buying power into dollars and good sense!
FletcherPR is a national communications firm that specializes in reaching women through the power of media. Headquartered in Knoxville, TN with staff in Nashville & Los Angeles, we are a full-service agency providing strategic public relations, social media and marketing communications services to our clients throughout the U.S.