A Cheer-and-a-half for Soft and Dri’s FSI Ad

Made by a Man? But is it Strong Enough For Women?

This ad for Dial’s antiperspirant/deodorant Soft and Dri, appeared in an FSI during October 2006, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I like the ad, but I wonder if that isn’t because I’m a man. The copy and design are quite clean, in a way that men tend to like. The headline is spare and the call to action straightforward, as is the offer. The product is wrapped by an iconic pink ribbon.

The ad size was just 7 x 5.387... half an FSI page... so I suppose the designers would claim that they didn’t have the space to take the ad in another direction. And they'd certainly be right.

But research suggests that women like (or at least will read) ads with more copy. Considering what Y-Me does, it might have been preferable in this case. Among other things, Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization runs a hotline… staffed exclusively by breast cancer survivors… that answers the anguished calls from women who have learned that they or a loved one has cancer.

With a ‘story’ like that, why wouldn’t they size this up to a full-page ad and show a women answering those calls? Why didn’t they spend a short paragraph on Y-Me’s mission? instead of the hollow “to empower those who can’t wait for tomorrow’s cure.”

Since agency creatives still tend to be male (even if the account person isn't) I'd bet this ad came from a man. I don't think that only women can or should write for women, or vice versa. But when you're designing for the other gender, you better do what Mel Gibson did in What Women Want and put on a pair of panty hose (or a strangulating necktie) as you read the research about the differences in what men and women respond to.
And viva le difference!

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