I have a confession. I’m a sucker when it comes to keeping my lips moisturized: lip balm, lip gloss, lip shine, lip shimmer. It’s probably a borderline obsession, considering I have an assortment of lip-goodness with me at all times.
My favorite brand to buy? Burt’s Bees.
Burt’s Bees was purchased by the Clorox Company in 2007, and while Clorox certainly has some questionable ethics, their Burt’s Bees line is 99% natural and doesn’t test on animals. They’re what I consider a socially responsible company, so I feel good about spending money on their products.
And I’m not alone. The Burt’s Bees target market is women just like me.
Burt’s Bees is just one example of socially responsible companies marketing towards women. There are several other companies that come to mind: Dove and their many (controversial) beauty campaigns, and The Honest Company, whose marketing ads that are cleverly produced for active moms in their late-twenties and early-thirties.
Why are women the primary target for these highly-engaged, “ethical” brands? Here are 3 reasons why socially responsible brands may cater their advertisements towards women:
1. Brands Believe in Gender Stereotyping
Even though it’s 2015, gender stereotypes still exist. Shopping and tending to the home are “womanly” things to do—and so caring more about where you shop may seem like something a woman does.
Need proof? In commercials and advertisements, women are most often pictured as the ones active inside a home, showing their desire for a clean home (like in this Swiffer commercial) or the latest food product. Compare that to men in ads, who are often seen doing yardwork or sitting on the couch watching a game.
This relates to women’s economic power (see #3) and shopping habits, but it’s also an issue in itself: women are seen as the people who may buy home goods, and who care to buy these products. Brands play into that stereotype, and encourage women to be a “smart shopper” in this way. Care about your family? Then buy this cleaning product that’s good for them.
2. Brands Want to Be Seen as “Progressive”
Women make up half the population, so narrowing the focus to women isn’t that big of a leap. But even more importantly, women are a historically disadvantaged group (and one that currently has a lot of power), so appearing “women-friendly” is both a safe bet and a smart reach for CSR campaigns, if you want to appear both non-politically “progressive,” and approachable.
As a conscious consumer, I’m definitely more likely to buy a product from a socially responsible company because hey, you’re empowering me! Tell me about the number of females you have working at your company; share an inspirational quote or idea that I can share with my Facebook friends—I want to know that you care about women.
3. Women are Economic Powerhouses
Whether it’s due to societally-imposed gender roles or something else, women do shop more. And brands are taking note.
Women make the majority of household product purchases: they account for over 85% of all consumer purchases made each year. Women have a lot of purchasing power and socially responsible companies are taking care to be aware of the economic force that women bring to the table.
It’s undeniable that “socially responsible” brands want to win women over. And as women, it’s our responsibility to use our influence in this space for good: to make more brands jump on the “socially responsible” bandwagon, and to ensure that all people (regardless of gender) can reap the benefits that come along.
Becca Tuck is a senior at Kennesaw State University studying Technical Communication. She’s a true crime show enthusiast, podcast junkie, and animal lover, who loves soaking in as much knowledge on linguistic phenomenons as she can. When not at the baseball fields cheering on her two favorite baseball players, you can find her on her website or on Twitter at @beccatuck85.