That Think You Do

Women on Drugs

A good portion of my time is spent predicting the future.

Now prepare to be shocked — a good portion of everybody’s time is spent predicting the future. If (If!) I do it better than most it could be due to my studies of history, evolution, economics, anthropology, probability, things like that. The more you know about how things have happened the easier it is to figure out what will happen.

Case in point, I’m very confident that more and more female-oriented drugs will come onto the market. I’m not the only one who believes this will happen. The facts go like this:

  1. Women of all ages are gaining economic power (controlling more dollars).
  2. Historically women controlled household (family) dollars, now they’re increasingly controlling larger volumes of personal, discretionary dollars.
  3. This economic power was obvious during WWII.
  4. This economic power was obvious and continuing starting in the mid 1960s when women gained reproductive freedom.
  5. Economic anthropology has shown a shift in advertising dollars towards an increasingly female oriented audience.

To me, this is fascinating stuff. It should also be obvious to people in the marketing world; there’s been increasing demand for Mommy-marketers, increasing requests for female-persona expertise, increasing use of women in creative marketing roles, …

What’s also fascinating is the shift that’s occurred in what is being marketed. Originally goods and services marketed to women primarily dealt with reproductive fitness (making oneself more attractive to males), now it’s focused on personal achievement, comfort, self-recognition and worth, … I was recently observing a panel of men and women, 24-65yo, cross-ethnic and culture, watching an advertisement for a new line of sports bras.

The male comments were embarrassing in their ignorance (”I don’t see the point of the commercial.”, “How does wearing that make you more confident?” “I didn’t know you were suppose to feel comfortable in those things.”).

What very much caught my attention was the women’s responses. As little as five years ago and definitely ten years ago there would have been patient explaining by the women regarding what the commercial was really selling. This time there were open looks of disgust, dismay and intolerance.

Women, gaining power in society (most recently and as mentioned in Men, The Stimulus Package and Fear of Commitment) are demonstrating that power in non-buying social settings. More plainly, “confidence here equals confidence there”.

One of the ways this increasing economic control is demonstrated is in drug manufacture and marketing. A sad truth of our society is that more is known about treating the male body than the female body and much of that is due to historical male economic control of western society. There was no economic advantage to making sick women well, so why investigate it?

Of course, at first this surge in pharmaceutical research and marketing will be driven by men. Anybody remember, a few years back, advertisements for a pill for women to help you through the “in-between” days? Yep, a pill to get you through those days when there was no bloating, no swelling, no pain, no cramps, no discomfort, no moodiness, no nothing and by golly, we’re going to treat you for it.

Or how about when Viagra was marketed to women?

Those didn’t last long.

And remember Rice-a-Roni? Or any commercials where the wife stayed at home to serve and await her husband?

Now we have commercials showing women in power. We target car commercials to women. Today’s woman’s day isn’t ruined because her fried chicken didn’t turn out the way her husband wanted it. Today’s woman is just as likely to pick up a bucket o’ Colonel Sanders as she is to cook up the latest Rachel Ray chicken recipe.

Barbara BillingsleySome of you may know that June Cleaver/Barbara Billingsley died last year. She’s been replaced by an athletic, independent mother with a career, children, a husband who’s an equal if in the picture at all, and her portrayal has gone from pearls and petticoats to jogging shorts and sports bras.

So my prediction is that more and more drugs will be female oriented and marketed for things that women genuinely care about.

Like getting rid of men who think they know what they’re doing.

Happy new year, everybody.

{Many thanks to the Women of NextStage (Susan, Sandra, Seana, Janice, B, and Jennifer) for their comments on this post}

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  1. Kymlee said,

    January 10, 2011 @ 6:14 am

    hopefully this also means a decrease in pink products for women phenomenon…

  2. Joseph Carrabis said,

    January 10, 2011 @ 7:35 am

    We can but hope.
    Thanks for commenting.
    Stay warm and well,

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