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Advertising Trend Emphasizes Gender Differences

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"You're a woman -- shave like one." That's the message of the latest Gillette Venus advertising campaign. But do men's chins and women's knees really require an entirely different approach? Or is the Gillette campaign the woman-targeted version of recent "manly men" ads -- see Dr. Pepper Ten's tagline: "No Women Allowed" and Miller Lite's "man up!" campaign. Do women really need to "women up?" What does that even mean, anyway?

If you subscribe to Gilette's version of womanhood, it means you want "protective ribbons of moisture" from your razor, as well as a pivoting head that "easily adjusts to your curves." The campaign promises to combat the state of affairs a recent Venus Gillette survey supposedly revealed: 30% of women use men's razors.!!! Could anything be worse?!

Gillette admits the blades of the razors in the Gilette Venus are identical to the ones in their Gillette Fusion Power for men, though a visit to the Gilette website reveals the ads for the men's version don't include any mention of ribbons. In fact, they sound closer to a car commercial with their talk of a "blade suspension system." So why exaggerate the differences between two similar products, and along such worn-out lines?

Because it's effective. We all remember the Secret deodorant tagline, "Strong enough for a man, made for a woman." But if you look at the label of Secret deodorant and Sure for men, you'll see the ingredients are identical. As Killian Branding's website points out, the difference is in the sell: "Sure builds confidence" (promising to enhance manliness, like the Dr. Pepper Ten ads) and "Secret reaffirms femininity" (it's just for us).

Jezebel pointed out that the Cosmo piece essentially defending the campaign "neglects to mention that women's razors tend to be more expensive than those designed for men," another reason Gillette would want to make them seem extra special -- and specialized -- to female shoppers.

What do you think? Is it absurd of Gillette to think women don't see how similar men's and women's versions of their razors are, or is there some aspect of the feminine sell that appeals to you?