What are the most important elements in advertisements targeting women? Quite often – the images.
So what images do women respond to?
I asked Sally Bjornsen that question. Sally runs Sally Bjornsen Represents where she represents a select group of photographers. Ad agencies hire these photographers to do photo-shoots for their clients. I wanted to talk to Sally for two reasons:
- She has an extensive advertising background working for companies like Nike and Nordstrom as well as running her own women-focused ad agency.
- With her current business, she sees firsthand what types of images agencies are looking for today.
Sally has seen some trends as to what types of images are connecting with consumers, especially female consumers.
Which images attract/resonate with women?
Authentic/real images– Posed, stiff images can look, well, posed and stiff (think of the typical family portrait). Women respond to less formal, more authentic looking ads that include women they can relate to. Women want to be able to put themselves into the ads.
I love this image by Marcy Maloy. The fact that the tiara is slightly askew makes the image more authentic and relatable.
Images that include specific details– The problem with much of the imagery on the web is that it's stock photography, which is very generic, purposefully. They don't want to show a lot of clothing, or jewelry or other specific details that might date the picture and make it less versatile.
Yet women notice details. They are paying attention to what the woman in the image is wearing (would I wear something like that?) Is the baby sporting a new trendy product? What about her hairstyle? Is she carrying a purse like mine? Sally cited a catalog shoot where they placed a Vanity Fair magazine on the table and Jane Eyre on the bookshelf. The women actually commented that they love Jane Eyre.
A major consumer products company hired Marcy because of her ability to capture real emotions.
Images with people interacting– I'm throwing this one in because women are focused on relationships. They want to see how multiple people in an image are interacting. I noticed Marcy's pictures often feature more than one person. You instantly want to know what the relationship is between the people in the photo.
Look at the images you're using in your advertising. If you want images that will resonate with women – check out Sally Bjornsen Represents for a host of talented photographers.
To see a recent web test on images, read How Images Increase Sales to Women.