Marketing to Women – Best Commercials of 2012

What were the best marketing to women commercials of 2012?   I had to look long and hard…..very hard….Bueller? to find shining examples.  

The criteria:

  • Must feature a woman in the leading role
  • Must be able to pass The Buchanan Test for not stereotyping women

That's not asking too much, right?   In order to pass The Buchanan Test a commercial must do three things. It must feature women who:

  1. Are outside of the home
  2. Are in a role other than that of "mother"
  3. Are NOT doing yoga

It was nearly impossible to find commercials that pass these simple criteria, especially outside of beauty or fashion products.   So I used The Buchanan Test as a guideline but not a deal-breaker (or there'd hardly be anything left).

I started with Adweek's 10 Best Commercials of 2012.   Only one commercial featured women in a lead role – P&G's Best Job in the World commercial featuring mothers of athletes.    Most of winning ads didn't include any women at all (except as hot babes in the background or teenage boy crushes). 


So – I set out on a mission to find great commercials that might actually appeal to women, who control over 70 percent of purchasing decisions.  I know.  Call me crazy. 

Best Marketing to Women Commercials of 2012 

So – here's my short list of marketing to women's best commericals of 2012.   These commercials feature women in lead roles and in non-stereotypical ways. 

John Hancock – "You're Not Alone" – Bedroom


In most finacial ads it is the husband who is the financial visionary and the calm voice of reason.   I love that the wives are the ones who are being sensible and not getting caught up in short-term fear.   The tagline is also classic female communication style "You're not alone." 

 Under Armour – "No Matter What. Sweat. Every. Day."


Under Armour continues their successful efforts to reach out to women. Yeah, I know, I said not doing yoga was part of the criteria, but the yoga featured is only one of many activities featured and these women are going way beyond your average down dog.   These women are sweating and kicking serious ass.  Pure inspiration.  

Buick Regal – Exploding Can

While the woman grocery shopping is stereotypical, I love the twist that she was out burning rubber and lovin' a high performance car.   So nice to see a woman driving something other than a minivan.

Prudential Financial – Day One – Linda Gutherie

Losing your spouse is a really hard thing to handle.   I love that this commercial tackled this subject matter and instead of showing a woman lost without her husband, showed a resliant woman making it on her own.

Subaru – The Beach – Dog Approved

Ok, so technically there wasn't a woman in a lead role, but…..

If you want to appeal to women, feature animals or examples of human/animal bonding.  Subaru has clearly figured this out.  BTW – one third of women say their dogs are better listeners than their husbands.  Just sayin'.

Using dogs was a smart strategic move given Subaru's audience. About 70 percent of Subaru owners have a pet, roughly twice the figure for car owners in general.

Visa Olympics London 2012: Nadia Comaneci


The first olympic gymnast to score a pefect 10.  Nuff said. 

Visa – Go World – 2012 Olympics – Global Cheer 

While Michael Phelps is the star of this commercial, it does feature female athletes.  And the spot is a beautiful tribute to the fact that the Olympics aren't just about competing, they're about bringing the world together – in one global cheer.  That's something women and men can appreciate.  

NFL – Evolution – Player Safety – Little Guy


For those of you wondering why there's an NFL promo in a marketing to women contest – News Flash!  40% of NFL viewers are women.   Ray Lewis' mom is the star of the spot. (And yes, I am once again breaking my "in a role other than mother" rule).  And it focuses on player safety, something very important to women but to players and their families as well.  


Advertisers are constantly trying to figure out how to stand out, how to get attention, how to break through the clutter, how to engage their audience. For any advertiser who wants to reach women – apply The Buchanan Test.  Break through stereotypes.  Feature women in the lead role.   Women will take notice. 

Did I miss any commercials you feel are deserving?

What are your votes for Marketing to Women Best Commercials of 2012? 

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