Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Material World: Pink It & Shrink It

Will advertisers ever really know what women want?

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Every other week, hosts Lindsey Rupp and Jenny Kaplan guide you through the consumer universe, breaking down what's going on with all the things people buy.

Marketing to women is getting more nuanced than the stereotyped, often sexist, efforts of the past -- kind of. How are companies that sell typically macho-things like beer and guns appealing to the fairer sex?

Gunmakers aren't doing much more than making pistols smaller and prettier, Bloomberg's Paul Barrett explains. Other industries are trying a bit harder. MillerCoors's Britt Dougherty breaks down how beer companies are are working to convey a more inclusive message to increase their sales. Bloomberg's Matt Townsend describes how toymakers are ditching gender-specific categories to appeal to girls who like superheros and Barbies.

Even as society changes, technology is allowing for more nuanced advertising. Social media helps marketers target customers based on their interests regardless of their gender, explains Malinda Sanna of consumer insights firm SPARK. What will it take for companies to know what women really want?


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