Some companies have started paying special attention to women in their ads. This has been going on for a few years, since a few studies suggested that women are 80% of the discretionary consumers.

As part of this trend, some companies have started to focus their ads to specific segments of the female population and rely a lot on social media and word of mouth, since women tend to recommend their favorite products more than men do, and they have been quite successful at it. See Tiek, Zulily and Zappos.
(Plastic surgeons must be successful with their ads as well, but they stopped targeting me directly since I changed my birth year on Facebook).

Still, I was a little surprised to see on the New Yorker 3 ads for the Hyatt hotel chain designed by Marisa Acocella Marchetto which definitely target female business travelers.


And indeed, the Hyatt web site seems to be addressing more than 50% of its pages to women. That is, there are many photos of women who are not made up, scantily dresses, anorexic models, but empowered young and middle aged women in formal elegant clothes or yoga pants, using the various Hyatt amenities, or purchasing an important grooming item which they forgot to bring, like a curling iron or nail-polish removal wipes.

I am surprised because, while 80% of discretionary purchases are done by women, hotels rooms for business trips are not discretionary expenses and I am pretty sure that the big majority of business travelers are men, particularly those who will go to the Hyatt and not a Motel. I am basing this assumption on totally anecdotal data of course… but I know am I am right!

Marisa Acocella Marchetto’s comics appear regularly on the New Yorker, Glamour and other magazines. In her cartoons she tends to portray emaciated and superficial affluent Manhattanites. I find them really funny but I don’t think that there are many who would want to identify with these shallow characters.
Or maybe I am naïve.
The woman that appears in the 3 comics she made for the Hyatt ads is a strong, empowered woman, who absolutely needs a curling iron and a yoga mat during her stay, or she won’t be at her best during her meetings. Moreover, she is on the fad diet of the month, so she is concerned about her meals. I have done my share of business trips and my little challenges where more around printing a document than finding a curling iron. I feel that I don’t need to curl my hair to manage a meeting with professionalism, and my life will not go to pieces if I need to take care of special dietary needs outside of the hotel.

I am left wondering, who are these Hyatt ads targeting and are they successful?

And talking about Marisa Acocella Marchetto, here are a few more of my favorite comics.