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Beauty Advertising That Gets Results

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: October 10, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

A great beauty advertisement lingers in her mind, makes her feel a certain way and motivates her to head to the store. It is no secret that women are different from men in how they shop and select brands—especially their beauty products and services. To win the hearts and purses of female beauty consumers, it is essential to understand both what they say and what they mean. More than 200 female beauty consumers throughout the United States were interviewed about what they think makes an insanely great beauty advertisement.

Three primary themes in which women are using their voices to be heard were uncovered. Here is what they said.

Women shop to relax and relieve stress

Women approach shopping for beauty products differently than the way in which they shop for everyday household items, such as food and children’s clothes. Beauty shopping is something that makes them feel better when they are feeling down. They prefer to shop alone, because it helps them to escape from daily stresses. They often say they feel as though they are in their own world and are better able to cope when they get home.

  • 55% of women said they shop for beauty products to relieve stress and relax.
  • 25% of women said they shop to keep up with beauty trends and products.
  • 65% of women feel happy after they have purchased a new beauty product.
  • Women feel good about themselves but want to look younger

Contrary to popular thinking, most women seem to feel good about how they look and who they are. Today’s female consumer, at all life stages, feels pretty good about her looks. However, she is still very interested in learning about and buying beauty products that make her look younger and feel better.

  • 45% of women said they rate their looks as above average.
  • 46% are extremely happy with their overall beauty.
  • 42% want to buy beauty products that make them look younger.
  • Women believe that advertisers just don’t understand them

Women’s lives today are multidimensional and complicated. They want to see authentic images of themselves and of other women, as well as portrayals of their busy lives. Authentic does not mean every ad needs to feature a size 14 model. What it does mean is that women want advertisers to see them as they see themselves—attractive women, women of diversity, a mom, a CEO, a diva, an artist. Women also view advertisements as an opportunity to aspire, whether it is a new look, a new way to wear lipstick or a new beauty secret. Women love to look and feel beautiful.

  • 92% of women said advertisers don’t understand them.
  • 45% of women said they want to see realistic depictions of women over 40 as radiant, smart and beautiful.
  • 58% of women look at beautiful women in beauty advertisements as an aspiration.
  • Here is what they mean and how you can use it to create insanely good advertising.

Great advertising does not need to be flashy