Where are the pink ladies?
In the 1950s, US car manufacturers discovered a new target customer, the female car buyer. Up until that point, cars had been viewed as a male preserve. However, an increase in prosperity combined with the levelling of the sexes that occurred in the years following World War II managed to change all that. Women wouldn’t want any old car though. Oh no. They’d want a car that appealed to their feminine interests. They’d want flowers. They’d want a girly name. They’d want accessories. But most of all, they’d want pink.
At least, that is what car manufacturers Chrysler believed after researching this apparently strange and exotic creature. The end result was
In 1955 Dodge sent the following letter, expressing the company’s enthusiasm for
TO ALL DODGE DIRECT DEALERS:
The enclosed folder will introduce you to the
At the Chicago Auto Show, the
Exterior color scheme of the car is Heather Rose over Sapphire White, and there is a gold
The crowning touches which personalize the
Available only in the Custom Royal Lancer model, the
I hope you will endeavor to see the
Very truly yours, L F Desmond, General Sales Manager Dodge Division The experiment was a complete failure. The dealers that decided to order
Unperturbed, Dodge tried again the following year. But still it had no takers. Women found the crude attempts to attract their attention rather patronizing. This was, after all, appealing to a classic male ideal of femininity, rather than how the 1950s woman actually saw herself. There simply weren’t enough women who wanted a pink and purple car with matching lipstick holders and combs.
- Don’t patronize your customers. It didn’t work in the 1950s, and it certainly doesn’t work now.