In the last several months, I’ve talked to several women about the proliferation of pink outdoor gear being offered as a way to woo the female market. I’ve seen pink air rifles, hand guns, coolers, hats, shooting vests and gun cases. Chris Woodward, editor of Sport Fishing magazine, assures me it’s no different on the fishing side with pink rods, reels, tackle bags and more.
There’s a diversity of opinion on the subject. A friend of mine in the shooting industry says bring it on. She loves her pink and wears it loud and proud. She said in her experience, it’s the dominant color to reassure women on the gun range. On the opposite end of the spectrum is a woman who eschews the pastel hue saying, “I don’t want to be a female hunter, I just want to be a HUNTER. Bringing gender into it usually just comes off as pandering.”
While some women I talked to scoffed at the industry’s “pink it and shrink it” marketing mentality, most fell somewhere in the middle saying while pink isn’t for them, if it helps introduce women to the outdoors, that’s great.
One point women seem to agree on is their support for pink gear that raises funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. A product that immediately comes to mind is Alpen’s pink binocular.
“Pink is the color most associated with breast-cancer research,” says Vickie Gardner, vice president of Alpen Optics. “Our new line of Alpen Pink is more than just a pink binocular. With more than 40,000 Americans dying each year of breast cancer (400,000 worldwide), Alpen Optics has created its Pink binoculars to help focus on a cure, while delivering the best binocular for the best price in the marketplace.”
A portion of the profit for each binocular sold goes to the NBCF. However, just because a company’s product is pink does not mean it’s teaming with NBCF to find a cure. Vickie assures me the process for becoming an official NBCF partner takes a whole lot more than making and marketing a pink product.
I’m not the only person wondering if marketing strategies for women need to go beyond “think pink.” Interestingly enough, there’s a mainstream book called “Don’t Think Pink” by Lisa Johnson and Andrea Learned. This book chides manufacturers for only scratching the surface of understanding women and instead falling back on old stereotypes and hoping pink will work some marketing magic. The book, published in 2004, looks to offer terrific advice for understanding and marketing to women.
Well, the time has come to quit speculating on whether or not the industry should go beyond pink in its offerings to women. Chris Woodward and I decided last week we were going to take this discussion to the next level. We enlisted Southwick Associates to help us understand, in quantifiable terms, the effect pink has on women’s purchasing decisions. Southwick agreed to include a list of optional questions in their September surveys. After Sept. 1, please visit http://www.anglersurvey.com/ and http://www.huntersurvey.com/ to make your opinions known. If you need additional motivation, each month you complete the survey, you will be entered in the monthly drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of your choice.
You can also read Chris Woodward’s thoughts about this topic at www.sportfishingmag.com.
On a different note, I want to present a resource that I think you’ll be ga ga over, a comprehensive review of women’s hunting clothes and boots. You can find this article, written by Managing Editor Hilary (Mizelle) Dyer of the Grand View Media Group, at:
Let’s talk about this subject some more. You can find me at facebook.com/tammy.sapp2 and Twitter @TammyDianeSapp.