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Does Dell Know What Women Want In a Laptop? 669

Hugh Pickens writes "Finding the right approach for gender-specific marketing can be really tricky, said Andrea Learned, a marketing expert and author of Don't Think Pink — What Really Makes Women Buy. So when Dell recently took the wraps off a new Web site called Della, geared toward women, featuring tech 'tips' that recommended calorie counting, finding recipes, and watching cooking videos as ways for women to get the most from a laptop, a backlash erupted online, as both women and men described the Web site as 'ridiculous' and 'gimmicky.' Della's heavy emphasis on colors, computer accessories, dieting tips, and even the inclusion of a video about vintage shopping 'seems condescending to women consumers,' says Learned. Instead, Dell should have emphasized function and figured out ways to sell the netbooks that weren't clichéd and reliant on gender stereotypes. 'Some brands go too far with the girlie stuff,' Learned says. 'Della's marketing strategy sounds like it's advertising a purse. There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing.'"
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Does Dell Know What Women Want In a Laptop?

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:31AM (#27965195)
    Sorry to be politically-incorrect here. But just because some people find a certain stereotype demeaning doesn't necessarily make it a complete falsehood. Sure, it's stereotypical to say that women like pink, pretty accessories, shoes, knick-knacks they can put on a million shelves on the wall (instead of the movie posters that belong there), a pink cover on the toilet, decorative soaps, scented candles, etc., etc. But you know what? That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wjousts ( 1529427 )

      That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends.

      Your thinking like that might explain why they are no longer your girlfriends.

    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:34AM (#27965245) Homepage Journal
      Hey, we didn't get these stereotypes out of thin air, most often any stereotype comes from observed reality of the actions/traits a certain strata of the population exhibits a great deal of the time.

      I really hate this PC era...everyone needs to lighten up a bit, learn to laugh at themselves, and others. Quit looking for a reason to be offended.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by zoloto ( 586738 )
        >> There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing

        Actually, there's a level of sophistication missing period. In my experience, MOST people don't know wtf a computer does other than email, the "world wide web" and viruses. Targeting to a subset of those not in-the-know isn't anything new and these feminazis need to find something else to complain about.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cecille ( 583022 )
          Therein lies the complaint though. There are tonnes of people out there (men and women alike) who know next to nothing about computers. I can't tell you the number of times I get the all-encompassing question "what laptop should I buy?", and it's not just from women. Non-tech people can have trouble really evaluating their needs and finding a good machine at a good price point to do that. So yeah, it makes sense for Dell to put up a site that HAS tech tips for non-tech people and to advertise their smal
      • by toQDuj ( 806112 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:44AM (#27965439) Homepage Journal

        "hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!" (from: [])

        Indeed, it appears too many people have too many long toes that, defying all normal laws of physics, appear to extend through the entire internet! Offense here, offense there, no more exclamations of fuck and damn, self-censorship and, ultimately, a bland, offenseless society which will take offense at the slightest of bumps in the bland.

        It all could improve with a little understanding ( for your weekly dose of understanding).


      • by kandela ( 835710 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:51AM (#27965509)

        By marketing at stereotypes, you reinforce them. By treating women like they aren't tech savvy, you're making them feel uncomfortable about being tech savvy.

        If you think I'm talking nonsense then try this experiment. I assume you are a guy with a comment like that. So, go to the department store. Find and buy a pink jacket/shirt and wear it for a month. When someone comments, or asks why you are wearing pink, reply that you like the colour. Then after a month, come back to me and tell me how comfortable you felt about doing it.

        • I'd feel a bit uncomfortable wearing *any* shirt for a month. EEeew.

        • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:59AM (#27965699) Journal
          Then after a month, come back to me and tell me how comfortable you felt about doing it.

          I'm not the OP but I did wear a pink shirt for a while when I had to wear a tie. It was a very nice pink. Only one person asked me about the color and I had no problem telling them I liked the color of the shirt.

          That said, I also have a wonderful, no-longer-able-to-find tangerine-colored shirt which I wear in the cooler months. I would like to find more shirts like this but retailers, aside from not carrying clothes in my size, are more interested in grey, black and white than they are about splashy colors to liven up ones day.

          But that's just me. I'm still trying to find a neon-yellow shirt I saw at a store closeout but wasn't in my size. It's from a well known manufacturer but I haven't been able to find that shirt anywhere.

          While stereotypes, as others have pointed, are there for a reason, there are always exceptions to the rule.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by xaxa ( 988988 )

            I was going to suggest UNIQLO, since their t-shirts are all in really bright colours, but their shirts are mostly blue, white and grey. And you're probably looking for something smart.

            My fancy school required me to wear a shirt and tie of my choosing (age 16-18). I didn't want to wear a white or blue shirt, like 95% of the rest, or black, like the other 4%. I eventually found shirts in bright orange, turquoise, yellow and lime green from Asda (i.e. Walmart) and Matalan (discount clothes store). They were cr

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
          Actually, one of my favorite shirts is pink, you insensitive clod!
        • I really doubt their intention is to target and stereotype all women in the world. They're targeting a niche, and to be honest, lots of girls like those things. If they dont, they dont need to use or buy it. Simple as that. Hell, it would be kind of kinky to see a girl with similar gaming, entertainment and programming equipment to mine.

          However, lots of girls I've seen and dated (including my current girlfriend) would like those, despite the fact that they also like lots of different things. But men and women do see and act to things differently usually, so its good someone also tries to market to that 'niche' (I wouldn't really call it a niche tho).

          Also lots of girls aren't tech savvy. Yes, there's girls that are (wohoo), but men generally are way more interested in technology and such. Or why do you think men have to get the biggest, loudest and latest TV sets with hifi sounds, while most girls are ok with some normal tv if they can just watch it (and not bother too much with it)

          and btw, pink shirts have been in men's fashion for a few years. I doubt anyone comes comment about it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DrLang21 ( 900992 )
          Before you get indignant, ask yourself this. Would you be offended if Dell put up a website marketing computers to guys talking about how they look up stuff about cars, boxing, and football? If yes, carry on. If not, then STFU.
      • by MadKeithV ( 102058 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:02AM (#27965751)
        Indeed, I think the following Einstein quote applies:

        Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

      • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:13AM (#27965969) Journal

        I don't think anyone's particularly saying they're offended, just that the marketing scheme is a bit of a joke.

        Imagine they made a website targeting a male stereotype, showing a laptop being used in some sports context on a backdrop of explosions and guitar riffs. I can only assume the average Slashdotter would chuckle and treat it as if it were marketing to 'dumb jocks', pointing out that it didn't even mention the technical merits of the machine. We wouldn't be offended, but I think most people here would look down on the site with something between disdain and pity. I expect the phrase "How stupid do they think we are?" would come up, with people wondering why one wouldn't just buy it on the normal Dell site where actual product comparisons are available.

        That's what people are saying here - not that it's deeply offensive, just that the level of sophistication is laughable and that talking down to one's customers is a quick way to lose them.

    • by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:35AM (#27965277) Homepage
      Just because they're true doesn't mean they want to be reminded about them. It's like telling that girlfriend she should go on a diet, or that she looks fat in those jeans.
    • That's like saying that guys like to pee [] on geysers just so they can say they did it!

    • by EraserMouseMan ( 847479 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:41AM (#27965379)
      If I had a dime for every time I've heard a woman say, "I'm not like other women." Every woman thinks all other women are pretty much the same and that they themselves are different and unique.

      I used universals to incite a flame war. Hey it's Friday!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by piripiri ( 1476949 )
    • But you know what? That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.

      And that fifth girlfriend it didn't describe? And the solid minority that don't want that label? The 10% or whatever that have been trying to shake that which society has tried to force on them because it suits everyone else's needs?

      And had your mom and aunts had the option to not follow the norm and do what they wanted to and not have to play with Barbie dolls would they be like that today? You know, like you're not popular if you don't have Barbie's accessories mentality?

      I say kernel of truth

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        What I find most revealing in your comment, which I think other posters should think more carefully about, is:

        that which society has tried to force on them

        When a person resists the expectations of our culture's gender socialization, we consider that person unconventional, non-conformist, deviant, or something of the sort.

        However, when a person adopts those gender expectations, we call that "natural."

        cheers, Mike

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spazztastic ( 814296 )

        I say kernel of truth be damned. I'm not your stereotypical geek and I would be sickened if I was marketed to as such.

        That's because the marketing companies don't know how to market correctly to geeks. They think the word "geek" applies to people who use MacBooks, drive hybrids, sip a cup of overpriced coffee while wearing their designer glasses and twitter everything insignificant in their lives.

    • by Rary ( 566291 )

      But you know what? That "stereotype" effectively describes 4 out my 5 last girlfriends, my mother, all my aunts, and a solid majority of female friends I've had over the years.

      On the flip side of the anecdote, this stereotype definitely doesn't even come close to describing any of my past girlfriends, or my present one, or any of my female friends. I guess we are attracted to different kinds of women.

      Stereotypes often come from somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily mean they represent a majority of people. It only means they represent enough to get noticed.

      Make a website for women that's all pink and talks about shopping and dieting, and you will appeal to some women. But think

    • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:53AM (#27965551)

      ...but consider:

      • Stereotypes usually come from anecdotal sampling, rather than hard numbers. Why should we put stock in them?
      • A "kernel of truth" says nothing about the relative size of the effect. E.g. even if women prefer pink on average, how predictive is that statement for a particular female consumer? What are the error bars?
      • Even if a stereotype is correct, on average, using it as the basis for marketing is usually dumb because the group you are targeting may well be offended by the implication of the stereotype. Again, even if it is true, you may do more damage than good in using that marketing angle.
      • Even if a stereotype is correct in some context, that doesn't mean it translates to others. For instance even if women on average prefer pink, that doesn't mean they want pink laptops. Clothes tend to be aesthetic purchases, whereas laptops tend to be functional purchases. Thus the priority for a woman shopping for a laptop may be totally uncorrelated to color. (Or maybe it is correlated--but anecdotes and stereotypes do not suffice to make that determination.)
      • Stereotypes often arise from cultural forces and even "self-fulfilling prophecies". They are not necessarily intrinsic. From a marketing perspective, the provenance of a trend usually doesn't matter; but from a "treat people with respect" perspective it can be relevant. For instance the "blue=boy and pink=girl" motif is relatively recent. In fact some sources from the 1800s contend that pink is the correct clothing color for baby boys.
      • Stereotypes are frequently generalized illogically. E.g. "girls like pink; I saw I guy wearing a pink shirt yesterday; that guy must be girlie and weak" (this includes both the unfounded pink->girl and girl->weak assumptions).
      • Stereotypes describe one aspect of a class at the expense of others. E.g. maybe women on average like pink, but is that really the defining feature of that class? Is that the most pertinent thing to focus on? Even if true, the choice to focus on that trivializes the identity of the class.

      Point being: stereotypes are looked-down upon for a reason. They are spurious, frequently unhelpful, often downright wrong, and usually rather insulting.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by value_added ( 719364 )

        Point being: stereotypes are looked-down upon for a reason. They are spurious, frequently unhelpful, often downright wrong, and usually rather insulting.

        Time for a Pop Quiz. Which of the following is an endangered species?

        a) The drinking Irish;
        b) Boys that like to break things;
        c) Girls that like dolls;
        d) Men who enjoy sports; or
        e) Women who like pink and appreciate flowers.

        It's a trick question. The correct answer is "All of the above."

        Dunno about you, but I repeatedly meet all the above, along with black

    • The reason this is stupid is because none of those things really have anything to do with a computer.

      The reason this is offensive is because it shows how dell thought women were too stupid to recognize this.

  • by GordonCopestake ( 941689 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:32AM (#27965229) Journal

    why wouldn't Dell do it? It may be gender biased and un-pc but if it the amount of sales outweighs the cost of creating the website then it's done it's job. Business 101

  • Eurgh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DavidR1991 ( 1047748 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:34AM (#27965247) Homepage

    I hate stuff like this - it makes me cringe. Same with video games that are overtly aimed at girls. I mean, fair enough, target audience - but for crying out loud, don't just soil the thing in stereotypes.

    Keep it subtle in multiple directions, and you open up to multiple target audiences (including women) rather than targetting one area poorly, and driving it away

  • by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:34AM (#27965251) Homepage
    Dell probably spent millions on research figuring out what they thought was the magic bullet in marketing a laptop to women. Focus groups, design teams of women, and they might have even found things that a majority of their women customers are interested in.

    And they blew it. No woman actually wants to be told they should check out dieting tips, that's like telling a wife/girlfriend she looks fat in those jeans. On top of that even if a lot of women are interested in cooking and recipes it comes out in very bad taste when you release your laptop for women as an extension or helper of domestic chores. I wonder if the wives of Dell executives are upset, or maybe they're too busy doing the dishes and cooking dinner to even know what's going on...
    • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:38AM (#27965331) Journal

      I wonder if the wives of Dell executives are upset, or maybe they're too busy doing the dishes and cooking dinner to even know what's going on...

      I dunno. Maybe we should ask the wife of their marketing executive [].

    • by feepness ( 543479 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:01AM (#27965741) Homepage

      I wonder if the wives of Dell executives are upset, or maybe they're too busy doing the dishes and cooking dinner to even know what's going on...

      Interesting that you assume all the executives are straight males. Who's not being PC here again?

    • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:03AM (#27965783)

      On top of that even if a lot of women are interested in cooking and recipes it comes out in very bad taste when you release your laptop for women as an extension or helper of domestic chores.

      It's not just that. Let's say hypothetically that Dell's marketing department has decided that in order to reach the male demographic better, they're going to start putting sports news on their web-site. Now, does anyone really think that putting sports news on their web-site is a good idea? No, of course not, it's totally irrelevant to the process of buying a computer, if I want sports news, I'll go to espn or something. Dell would pretty quickly get a reputation for being complete idiots doing this. It's one thing to try and appeal to the female demographic by targeted marketing, but it's another to do it badly, which is what Dell did here. Just like nobody wants sports while buying computers, nobody wants recipes either.

      Between this and the Adamo [] ads, I think that Dell is rapidly destroying any desirability or panache they ever had (think Apple products). But then again, they never really got much after those "Dude, you're getting a Dell" commercials, I myself just kind of forgot about it. I think they're pretty much doomed to stay the mundane computer manufacturer like this though.

  • News flash... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:34AM (#27965259) Journal

    In the top ten percent of the personal market, women want very similar things to men. In the bottom 90, they want pink frilly stuff. If you want the 90%, you have to figure out how to silence the 10% of people you're going to offend.

    Hint: Men are the same way (not the pink part). Give them sports data and stuff with their favorite team logos.

    Business is a whole different world...

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:35AM (#27965271) Journal

    'Della's marketing strategy sounds like it's advertising a purse. There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing.'

    If you add the level of sophistication, you might be perceived as thinking men are incapable of it. While it's socially ok to think of men as the lesser stupider sex today, I don't think that solves the problem.

    If I may impart my engineer's point of view on this topic, don't divide your customers on controversial lines. The fact that you made it any different shopping as a man or woman is going to cause the public to pick apart each site with the finest toothed comb and set to you like dogs. Because it's an old battle and women have very real memories of the glass ceiling and at least some form of repression.

    You aren't making an Ebonics themed site for African Americans and you aren't making a talk-over-your-head snooty themed site for Caucasian Americans. Why? Because it's a sensitive issue. Any subtle difference will cause you to catch hell. Why, I'm going to get torn apart for the adjectives I used above because I'm sure some words have baggage meaning they're slightly better or worse than others.

    Are you going to make different purchase sites for Hindus, Jews, Moslems and Christians? Nope. Say it with me now: because it's a sensitive issue.

    Are you going to make a homosexual themed site so that homosexuals can be distinguished between buyers that are heterosexual. Again, see above.

    There's a list that goes on and on ... frankly, I'm a customer. I expect to be treated the same as another customer unless I have chosen to be treated differently. And if I chose to be treated differently, you better be careful or you'll lose me as a customer. You want to make a Trek themed site to target Trek fans? Fine, but don't you dare pay for images of Scott Bakula or the deal's off.

    Don't Think Pink -- What Really Makes Women Buy

    Thank god a woman wrote that. If it was a man, I'm sure there would have been a march on Washington.

    Why do you even start this up again? Are you really running out of marketing ideas that the only thing left is controversy? Haven't we learned our lesson time and time again?

    Here's an idea if you want a marketing gimmick: pick non-sensitive topics. When a popular super hero movie comes out, make good guy versus bad guy themes and always allow the customer to go to the regular site? Or make generic themes that have no conflict at the center?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pjt33 ( 739471 )

      I expect to be treated the same as another customer unless I have chosen to be treated differently.

      Such as, I don't know, going to the Della site rather than

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:36AM (#27965285)

    Maybe it's because it's one letter away from Delta, but Della just sounds like a "fat" person name. Like "Gertrude" sounds like an old person name. And "Candy" is a stripper name.

    Maybe it wasn't the targeting of women that was gimmicky. Maybe it was the use of an unattractive person name.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Maybe it wasn't the targeting of women that was gimmicky. Maybe it was the use of an unattractive person name.

      Obviously, it's the name of Michael Dell on the town in fishnets on a Saturday night.

  • I seem to recall a few companies operating groups like this. Get a bunch of ordinary workers not associated with a project and have them look at it. If they can see it appearing in a Dilbert strip, you probably need to axe the idea.

    This one clearly fails the Dilbert test. Alice would kick the managers responsible into their own hats.

  • by Manip ( 656104 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:37AM (#27965313)

    Since I was born I've learned only three things about women:
    - No two are alike
    - No two want the same thing
    - What a women wants changes from moment to moment

    But that all being said, I'd try and sell Laptops via a "Aspirational Lifestyle" (e.g. "You're a 20~ successful, confident, and stylish women. This is the laptop for you.").

    Then produce a bunch of stylish laptops that match that "look." Or match the look of the women in my adverts to my laptops. Either way, the people who aspire to "be that thing" will buy the laptop to do so...

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:37AM (#27965319)
    Because there's already a clock on the stove.
  • Just slap some pink glitter on it and build in a makeup mirror into the screen and I'll buy it? Where did they get their consultants who advised them this would work? A time warp to the 1950s?
  • by RemoWilliams84 ( 1348761 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:39AM (#27965343)


    "Despite the backlash from women about the sexist advertising schemes, sales of the Delldo (Dell's new dildo mount for laptops and pc's) was spectacular."

  • You can't really pull off the whole Like-A-Women's-Magazine to sell netbooks unless you can convince women the netbook will:

    1. Teach them 20 ways to supercharge their sex in the bedroom.
    2. Help them lose 40lbs in six months while simultaneously making the world's most delicious 5,000 calorie chocolate cake.
    3. Do yoga exercises that take 20 years of their visible age.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sakdoctor ( 1087155 )

      Women are like Linux distros.

      They are all essentially the same, but some have different package management.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:42AM (#27965399)
    Whenever you make these broad generalizations, there's always going to be the fringe outsiders offended by the stereotype. Dell should have picked a different metaphor that clearly indicates "girly" without saying it. Maybe, market one towards mothers (not women) where there are distinct duties like feeding kids making recipes relevant. Bundle apps for roles and not sex.
  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:44AM (#27965437)
    If someone created a website aimed at attracting men and used images of fast cars, busty models and bottles of beer, would those "stereotypes" be condescending to men?

    If so, there are a hell of a lot of very successful condescending websites and magazines about. Now I'm not saying that all men would be attracted to sites like that, just like not all women would be attracted to pink-themed sites, makeup tips and fashion. However, the difference is that men don't go around wailing at how they're being "exploited" or belittled or generalised by these things. They either visit them or ignore them. I would suggest that if women want to see themselves as equal to men they adopt a similar approach and either like it or ignore it ..... unless the thing they really dislike is themselves, individually, being so easy to categorise.

  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:48AM (#27965465) Homepage

    A woman's laptop should use one of those IBM Thinkpad TrackPoint things for the pointer device.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:52AM (#27965531)

    Then will the same groups go on to shut down Better Homes, Oprah, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping magazines? These magazines are focused on women and only publish articles on calorie counting, cooking tips, recipies, and shopping. Won't the same groups think these magazines stereotype women as being stay at home moms? Or does it simply address the needs of a particular marketing segment?

  • It's got WINGS!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:53AM (#27965565) Homepage

    I hate marketing. Put out the plain truth and let people decide for themselves. That's my thinking. Unfortunately, any company that follows my advice will be out of business in a short time.

    But Dell? I gotta tell ya, when it comes to marketing to women, never focus your marketing on what women actually do with their computers! Focus your marketing on how their computers make them look and feel! Almost all successful marketing targeting women focus on image and lifestyle that they all "wish" they had. Feminine hygiene products all talk about the "things you can do with confidence!" when only a very small percentage of the women who buy them are light enough to actually walk in the sand without leaving giant craters, can play tennis for more than 5 minutes or even know how to fly a kite. Clothes and jewelry are another classic and obvious example -- all displayed by supermodels and mannequins made of sticks.

    I would suck as a marketing person. I despise marketing because it is misleading at least and quite often just a bunch of lies. But examples of success in marketing are out there for all to see.

  • by actionbastard ( 1206160 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:12AM (#27965927)
    But Microsoft does [].
  • by davebarnes ( 158106 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:13AM (#27965961)

    to buy laptops without supervision by a male?

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:18AM (#27966045)

    Can they make a Dell laptop where its baby pink for 3 weeks, then blood red for the fourth? I think that would sell well with the ladies.

  • by BoyIHateMicrosoft! ( 1044838 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:19AM (#27966061)
    Being a girl( I swear I really am female!!!), I have some insight for you. My mom and best friend are very much the people that fit the stereotype. Both of them ADORE pink frilly stuff, love to shop, have a hardcore penchant for knickknacks and are generally very girly. Hell they even have "typically" female jobs, a cosmetologist and a nurse. I, on the other hand, think pink of any sort is hideous, prefer WoW to the Lifetime channel and work in IT. Doesn't mean I don't do girly things though. I love to shop for..... yes shoes. I think I have like 30 pairs. It's my little thing. All people have some piece of them that fit into some stereotype about them. In spite of that, I, and most women I know, don't want to be pandered to. It's a terrible idea. It this whole thing makes Dell look like they don't have a damn clue about modern women. Are some of us on diets, yup we are. Do some of us love shoes, yeah. I know I do :) Do some of us love the atrocity that is the color pink, sure. As another poster said, I am sure this has some appeal to some women, but not me. I'm not trying to say that I'm some super special person because of this either. Just saying it's a terrible fucking idea to to stereotype ALL people in a certain race, gender, sexual orientation and then try to sell them a product based on that. It would be like me setting up a website selling country music and only gear it towards Texans, you can put a multitude of other examples here but you get the point. I think I won't be buying from Dell anymore.
  • by GreggBz ( 777373 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:25AM (#27966159) Homepage

    featuring tech 'tips' that recommended calorie counting, finding recipes, and watching cooking videos as ways for women to get the most from a laptop.

    Here's what my 25-35 year old female friends do with their laptops:

    Music (iTunes, iPods, iPhones), Social Networking, Pictures of their Kids, Casual Games, buy nice bags for them, watch funny videos. One friend is especially into fashion, so maybe she'll look at dresses online and such.

    None of that non-sense quoted above is cool or fun. And, it's available on anything with Internet so how is it special? I'm guessing the larger laptop purchasing female demographic is, you know, more young and more trendy then recipes and watching cooking videos.

    Really Dell? It's 2009. Fire your marketing director.

  • by ph0rk ( 118461 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:35AM (#27966317)
    It seems to me to be aimed at the sorts of people who like accessorizing and color matching crap. Buying a lifestyle, as it were.
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:40AM (#27966431) Homepage Journal

    Recipes? Check.
    Cooking videos? Check.
    Calorie counting? Check.

    However, I also do:

    * occasional gaming (unfortunately I need to run Windows for that - neither cedega nor crossover games will run the games)
    * video editing and transcoding
    * graphic design
    * embroidery (unfortunately I need to run Windows for that)
    * web design
    * occasional small coding projects

    My preferred environment is Linux. When I buy desktop computers, I build them myself; I want workstation-level motherboards and nvidia-based video cards with low failure rates and decent performance.

    When I buy laptops, I seek out desktop performance. For me, that means Dell Precision, Dell Latitude, or a higher-end Asus. Fast dual core processor (quad core isn't worth the premium Dell charges), internal RAID, and the smallest hard drives and RAM they'll ship because I can upgrade those from a distributor or Newegg for 1/5 to 1/3 the markup Dell charges.

    It'd be really neat if I could get a Precision M4400 or M6400 in purple or hot pink, or even blue, but unfortunately the only option is an orange color (Covet). Thanks but no thanks, I'll take the industrial-looking graphite.

    Now, when it comes to a netbook, which I will buy, a nice blue would be nice. The Aspire One would do nicely but there is a huge range of options, and since the goal there is solely maximum portability, performance isn't the goal. For a netbook I will accept compromises for style.

    A computer is a tool, not an accessory. When it comes to tools I try to be practical.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonTHC ( 208439 )

      Linux is a big word for a little lady. Wouldn't you rather have this nice pink computer? It's cute as a button and you can check your emails and even get recipes and diet tips with it!

      Seriously, I have to agree with you. My wife used Linux for a few years until her computer died. It helps that I'm a Linux admin. Instead of insulting vaginal-Americans with a name like "della" they should be focusing on things that women really need, like a computer that just works. Colors are great. Though a true a

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:55AM (#27966705) Homepage

    From TFA, from the author of the book:

    "If the netbook is great for using the Internet and has a long memory, that would really be about helping netbook buyers get stuff done while they waited at the airport -- not because they want to check diet sites," she said.

    Seriously... a LONG memory? She's basically proving that Dell was right to leave out technical details for women.
    Reminds me of a Mark Twain quote: "It's better to stay silent and look a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt.".

  • by beadfulthings ( 975812 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:56AM (#27966731) Journal

    Well, I can state what I want in a laptop:

    1) It has to be configured for whatever application I want to use it for (games, office, netbook, class).
    2) IT HAS TO WORK.
    3) It has to be associated with reliable service.

    Under those three requirements, Dell breaks down rather badly, and all the recipes and shopping tips they want to throw at me will fall on deaf ears.

    This reminds me of trying to buy a car twenty years ago as a woman. If I happened to drag along my husband, the salesman always made the pitch to him--despite the fact that I was paying for the car and would be driving it. This was fairly common and always infuriating. At some point car salesmen realized that, yes, women do drive, and that they care about more than the coordination of the upholstery. There are even car saleswomen now.

    Dell should take a page from the automobile sales book and pitch their laptops to everyone on the basis of quality, reliability, suitability, and service. Unfortunately they can't really do that and be truthful.

  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greg_D ( 138979 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:04AM (#27966847)

    'Some brands go too far with the girlie stuff,' Learned says. 'Della's marketing strategy sounds like it's advertising a purse. There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing.'

    Oh really? And why is it that when we're talking about laptops, the kind of language used is evil and demeaning, but when it comes to overpriced sacks, it's fine? Seems to me that Learned's argument is that women are either irrational or just plain dumb regarding things important to women, but if it's important to guys too, then they suddenly get a giant increase in mental capacity.

    Here's what most women want to know about their computers:

    • Can it load myspace and facebook quickly?
    • Can it run my work productivity software?
    • Can I get my email?
    • Can I compose documents?
    • Can I organize my documents?
    • Can it play solitare?

    Only geeks and gamers focus on raw metrics. The rest of the world? They just want to be able to do the things they need a computer for, quicker. And many are even willing to trade speed for portability. Hence, netbooks.

    People who get pissed at marketers for doing what marketers do are just being dishonest for themselves. Marketers don't create ads out of personal satisfaction, they create them because they want to reach the largest possible audience and convince them to buy or do something. That's how they get paid.

  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:30AM (#27967367) Homepage Journal

    First, make a designer bag that looks great. Then make a laptop that fits in that bag and has no glaring weaknesses. It could be just mediocre in a whole lot of ways, it just has to not suck. Then offer both the bag and the laptop in a ton of custom colors/skins/whatever. Most importantly, MAKE TO ORDER.

    By having them made to order and using netbook-grade components, you could maintain a decent profit margin (each one is a "custom job"), and if the marketing campaign goes completely bust, you aren't stuck with a bunch of stock to dump on Woot or Overstock. If one particular setup sells well, maybe it would pay to get ahead of the game and stock a few -- or make the shells so interchangeable that they can be quickly converted to whatever is ordered. Sell the shells too! The Acer Aspire One comes in a variety of colors, but they're all black on the inside. That sounds like factory-swappable shells to me.

    Women who don't fit the stereotype, or for whom this just doesn't quite hit the mark, will continue to buy regular laptops (since I assume these won't REPLACE any existing product). What harm is done?

    If Dell isn't smart enough to catch this boat, someone will. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be Acer or Asus.


  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @12:46PM (#27968915) Journal

    It's not possible to know what women want. I think it must have something to do with the Heisenberg principle. My wife says women will not tell you what they want because you should "just know", so asking them doesn't work. I could see where this could scale up to opinion polls and product marketing.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker