Marketing & Branding

Marketing to Women: Why the ‘Pink It and Shrink It’ Strategy Doesn’t Always Work

There’s a popular mantra out there that some marketers today still rely on to expand their product offerings to attract women: “pink it and shrink it.” This strategy involves taking an everyday product, producing it in a Pepto-Bismol-pink shade, and making it smaller for women to use.

This method is implemented with razors (the most common offender), ear buds, drills, tool boxes…and the list goes on and on. The main issue with this strategy, though, is that the real problems are rarely addressed. The reason razors are the most common offender is the simple fact that shaving your legs is a lot different than shaving your face.

Suggestion Box

Thankfully, some companies are getting the hint and are actually listening to women’s complaints about “pink it and shrink it.” A decade ago, the National Football League (NFL) applied this slightly offensive and inaccurate strategy to appeal to female fans. You could always find jerseys in pink and white with sparkly numbers and players’ names, instead of the traditional colors that are seen on the field. While some women loved this idea, not everyone was on board. Now the option to find women’s shirts and jerseys in say, orange and navy blue like the players are wearing, is a lot easier.

Recently, the NFL women’s store changed strategies to offer more chic choices rather than just smaller versions of the men’s style. The “Fit for You” campaign illustrates the more fitted and less boxy shirt styles that are available for women to wear on game day; ads for this campaign have been spotted in magazines like InStyle, Lucky, People, and even Sports Illustrated. It’s refreshing to hear that they finally took notice and have these styles available!

According to the NFL’s VP of Consumer Products, Tracey Bieczinski, there are 79 million female fans that make up 44% of its NFL fan base. Not exactly a slim minority compared to male fans, at least not the way I understand majorities and minorities.

In order to better sell to their fans, the NFL has also increased its clothing line to not only include jerseys, but also denim skirts, hair clips, jewelry, nail polishes in team colors, and also fancy high-end bags from designer Anastasia Moda that cost upwards of $2,995 for a jeweled clutch.

Since this shift from their strategy of “pink it and shrink it” they have noticed an increase in female shoppers and a 40% increase in September alone. This proves that maybe women aren’t just pink and sparkle-obsessed shoppers but want choices and options.

Game Time Graphic

At a press event in New York attendees swooned over furry boots, bags, and team nail polishes that were on display. Ms. Bieczinski mentioned that there were ideas for new products not yet in the works, but considered cosmetics, gloves, and even possibly fragrances. Rest assured, these new fragrances will not evoke images of locker rooms.

Even if there are no guarantees of a victory for their favorite team, women can still feel confident in their NFL merchandise next time they watch the big game.