In the past few years, members of MIPAA (automotive public relations practitioners), have been interested in reaching women car buyers through “lifestyle” media. Indeed, I’m told, that women now account for more than half of all new car purchases.
I hear the same message from car journalists; that their publications are increasingly targeting the female market – recognising this pulls in the automotive advertising.
So why were pretty young models the primary promotional tool at the 2006 Geneva Show? Check out the Autoblog‘s post on “The Girls at Geneva” – there is even a photo gallery stimulating lively comments.
Is it just a bit of fun? Is it part of creating an aspirational, glamour image for cars? Or does it show a lack of creative thinking in the marketing departments at the car companies?
Are men really only interested in cars when an attractive female is standing beside it? So why aren’t there more women car sales staff in dealerships? And what about the impact on potential women buyers? Doesn’t this all contribute to the impression of car showrooms as being sexist and unappealing to women?
I suppose for the models, they may get their photographs in magazines adding to their portfolio – and it is probably well paid work (although hard on the feet). Most will know nothing – and care less – about the car they are perched upon.
This image of girls and cars has become an icon of motorshows – and the car launch industry. When did this approach begin – I found this 1954 shot from Paris, presenting a very stylish lady beside a Die Valkyrie.
But the Lotus Esprit launch of 1976 – which some might think of as the heyday of bikini-clad bonnet beauties is without such adornment.
Are the rumours of topless young women draped across bonnets untrue? When did the view that sexy girls are a key component of motoring shows begin? And how come, in this supposedly politically correct days, this approach still continues?