Ladies! PC World Thinks You’re a Dolly Bird!


Originally appeared on Lady Geek on 9 April 2010.

Oh – is that a woman speaking in the new PC World ads? Yes, that’s right, it is! Hooray a woman? Oh wait. Oh. Oh no.

Bargain World

Music World

Do you see the difference? The boy uses his computer to do stuff. The woman acquired it because she just cannot resist acquiring stuff when she’s shopping for fun because, you know, women like to shop. Even better when she can buy more shoes, right?

Believe it or not, and I suspect PC World doesn’t, I use my computer to do stuff. In fact, I am writing this piece on my laptop. I am also streaming music from Spotify, I have (one, two, three, four…) 9 tabs open in a Safari browser and another 3 open in Chrome (I am an equal opportunities geek). iTunes, Tweetdeck, Adobe, a mail client, a photo editor, MS Office AND iWork are all open right now and running smoothly(ish). All pretty useful, all pretty convincing. So maybe it would be nice to know if the proposed Samsung netbook can, for example, connect to the internet instantly or run concurrent browsers. PC World could show the kind of media the Samsung netbook does support or enhance. PC World Dolly Bird, on the other hadn, does not care but aren’t her shoes awesome?

Women are diverse and have competing needs and there is definitely a market for accessible technology, especially where you are not a power user. HOWEVER, PC World then follows up the Bargain ad with this little gem:

Savings for  a Night Out with the Girls

You’ll never guess what? Girls like to drink lattes and go to nightclubs! Wicked, innit? Also, this netbook is cheap. So is this all-in-one printer/scanner/photocopier/blackmail machine. PC World had a second chance to get this right and failed. Failed.

It is simply not enough to keep projecting female stereotypes in the hope this strategy attracts women and their purses. Women are as diverse, as disparate and individual, as men. PC World needs to talk to women like they are humans, not caricatures straight from a dumbed-down version of Legally Blonde.

The ads also disturbingly depict technology and, therefore, their products as a boring diversion, cruelly siphoning off money from the really fun things, like shoes and cocktails. I’m going to put my hand up here and say that many women find technology fun – it enhances their life and provides a constant source of entertainment. Make the product more appealing for women – sell the product, sell technology, sell a lifestyle, not the other things your customers can buy from other places.


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