Even though it’s half a world away in Japan, the Honda Fit “She’s” has come a little too close for comfort for the western auto industry. Not that there’s anything wrong with the car – the Fit is a fuel-efficient econobox that’s as reliable as anything you’d expect from Honda. It’s the marketing that’s got everyone’s knickers in a knot.
The She’s is all girlie pink, and in case your feeble female brain didn’t get it, Honda’s marketing it to the Japanese women’s market. The She’s logo has a heart instead of an apostrophe, and inside, sports pink accents on the dash and even pink stitching on the seats. It has a UV coated windscreen to reduce skin damaging rays, and some type of “Plasmacluster” air conditioning system to improve skin quality.
Now, a pink car has certain advantages – it’s easy to find in a parking lot, and let’s face it, no self-respecting car thief will have anything to do with it. Despite their sometimes dubious taste.
And if you spend a lot of time in a car without UV coated windows, your face could show it, like poor not-as-old-as-he-looks Bill McElligot. In this age of global warning, maybe more cars should come with UV coated windows.
But the notion of marketing a car to women – even thousands of kilometres away in Japan – seems antiquated by North American standards. After all, didn’t the Dodge La Femme last only from 1955 to 1956?
In Japan, apparently the women’s market is different from the western market. Or is it?
Only a scant two years ago, Fiat released a limited edition hot pink Fiat 500 in England, which riffed on a Fiat custom-made to celebrate Barbie’s 50th birthday. Fiat bluntly stated it was targeting young women and – they snapped it up.
Then there was the recent debacle of the Bic “For Her” pink and purple pens, which landed on our shores this year and launched thousands of hilarious complaints. How this concept made it past the Bic focus groups, we’ll never know. We were only disappointed that they didn’t have pink and purple ink, of which we’re quite fond.
Earlier this year, computer maker Fujitsu launched the “Floral Kiss” ultrabook computer, aimed at women, in flattering shades of pink, white and brown(?). There’s a floral motif, zirconia adornments and a pearlescent power button. Built-in apps include a horoscope and scrapbook, plus a handy flip latch that won’t break your nails. Now that’s thoughtful.
But there’s more. In fact, there’s so much more that Current Media, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning television and online network founded in 2005 by no less than Al Gore, regularly featured comedienne Sarah Haskins in a “Target Women” segment. Haskins parodied products, advertising, and media aimed at women. Among the products in Haskins’ crosshairs were yogurt and chocolate, and the unabashedly female skew of the marketing.
But then who doesn’t equate chocolate with sex? Or cars with sex?
That may be a topic for another post.