Trend Watch: The Snarky Spokeswoman


I’ve been noticing a new trend in advertising: the Snarky Spokeswoman. More “Juno” than “Star Search,”¬† the spokeswoman¬† is typically an attractive and witty brunette who comes across as confident and knowledgeable about the products she’s hocking. Ads frequently feature the spokeswoman played against a bumbling or confused male, presumably with the intent of connecting to female audiences.

Notably, the Snarky Spokeswoman is being used to sell products in markets less traditionally marketed to women, including insurance, technology and automobiles. This seems to show a growing awareness among marketers that women are driving actual purchases in each of these markets.

Examples of the Snarky Spokeswoman include “Flo”(TM) from Progressive Insurance, Carly from T-Mobile, and “Jan” from Toyota. Each of these characters has been used in a series of television spots. Here are a few examples:

I should note that T-Mobile appears to be backing away from the Snarky Spokeswoman in more recent spots, which feature Carly strutting in tight leather and rarely opening opening her mouth to talk. It’s not clear to me whether they’ve intentionally shifted their focus to target male audiences (which these ads do), or have simply reverted to more traditional marketing that objectifies women as Carly gains in online popularity with men:

In fact, T-Mobile’s about-face from Snarky Spokeswoman to objectified sex kitten is even more obvious in one of their more recent spots, featuring “Sexy Carly” in a helicopter, not only does she not talk anymore, but there’s an authoritive male voiceover! Oh well, at least they kept the pink. That’s sure to connect with female audiences (note sarcasm).

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply