Product extensions: why new isn't always better.
Is it just me?
Or are there suddenly dozens of new-fangled thingamajigs being peddled to women?
There's Clinique's new lower-lash mascara, for starters. Yes, ladies, it appears we now need not one, but two, mascaras to do the trick of making our eyelashes most battable.
While you're in the bathroom, be sure to double up shelf space, too, for Dove's new body mist line, made to complement the fragrances of their deodorants.
And, in addition to the fashionable "playdate cards" moms print up these days, there are now personalized "allergy cards" -- in-vogue calling cards announcing Jimmy's permanent divorce from walnuts.
But wait...there's more! Especially if you've got a new baby!
Last weekend I attended my first baby shower in years. Since my youngest was born 8 years ago, they've come up with all sorts of new "musts" for moms, including shopping cart covers, strollers with acoustic canopies (fancy talk for MP3 music piping in), and even Pee-Pee Teepees, little cones that will keep you from being hit in the eye by a warm stream of your son's urine during a diaper change.
I am not making this up.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for smart advancements. But there's a difference between inspired Why Didn't I Think of That? ingenuity and Why Did Anyone Think of That? fluff.
When it comes to new products for moms, here's my litmus test: solve a real problem without making more work for her. Creating another thing for a mom to pay for, own, maintain, and find in her purse is not progress unless it's truly useful. Otherwise, let's call it for what it is: preying on her insecurities while pocketing more of her cash. Clinique could easily have made a two-sided mascara wand with the smaller lower-lash brush at one end, but that would have been less of a "mascara breakthrough!"
Here's the moral of this story: Marketing to moms is all about simplifying her life and solving problems. It's the very heart of our What's Your Blanket? philosophy. And if I -- a broad who works in advertising -- has such heightened respect for a mother's time and intelligence -- imagine how the other 82 million moms in our fair country feel.