Marketing Idea No. 265 – What taboo subjects tell us about marketing to women

By openly discussing taboo or socially awkward subjects marketers can learn quite a few new insights which might lead to interesting new products and services. Take for example erotica for women. For years it was wrongly assumed that erotica is dominated by men and it was made and marketed primarily for men. But with the sudden explosion of interest over “50 Shades of Grey” series, marketers identified a few interesting consumer insights

1. Demand for erotica was always there among women and it was suppressed as it was not socially acceptable. But by allowing them to download e-books in e-readers, all of a sudden women can read erotica without broadcasting the whole world that they are doing it

2. By making taboo subjects like BDSM hip and acceptable, a global industry around these kind of sexual games and merchandising has sprung up, showing that there has always been need for them among women

3. Also by making books like “50 Shades of Grey” socially acceptable (Any book that is listed in numerous International lists cannot be called “porn” anymore) now women can openly carry, discuss or exhibit items related to the erotica.

Another interesting insight can be learned from watching brick and mortal lingerie retailers. This is a business that makes a lot of sense if its moved online. Lingerie retailers, due to the nature of the product, must keep a huge number of inventories of different colors, sizes, make etc. because that is what the customers want. But by keeping such a large inventory, the cost of business will be huge. That’s why online lingerie stores are doing very well, even in countries like India where Internet connectivity is less than 10% and the country is also conservative in nature. A new site called “Jivame” is growing business rapidly by selling lingerie to Indian women online. And according to them, it not only makes good business sense but also women prefer to buy lingerie online and avoid the embarrassment of doing it in brick and mortal shops.

Keeping in lingerie business, a new kind of lingerie called “Fundawear” is making headlines. Put on a pair of these magic underpants called “Fundawear”, and you’ll be able to feel your lover’s touch from anywhere on the planet. “Fundawear” is a clever combination of a smartphone app and tiny vibrating motors sewn into female lingerie and male underpants. It accomplishes the task of “transferring touch across vast distances” said the project’s technical director, Ben Moir. A clever insight or an idea taken too far? Time will tell.

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