Can You Tell What Pisses Me off About Apple's Marketing Toward Moms?

It's not even the Martha Stewart cookie-baking app.
Publish date:
May 6, 2011
family drama, mothers, mother's day, apple, iPhone, ipad

In an email sent out last week, Apple kindly reminded us all that Mother's day is coming up! And what better way to celebrate than to get that favorite madre in your life something glitzy and techy? Obviously, Apple's got an idea (drumroll, please): an iPod Touch! According to Apple, Moms should love the iPod Touch (or iPhone 4). They can Facetime with their kids anytime they want, or take advantage of a ton of great apps and accessories, and they’ve got unbeatable support that our momz would feel pretty good about. Yeah! I don't like it.

There's something much more subtle in this ad that bothers the hell out of me. Truth be told, I'm not a mother, and I can't speak to what a mom would want for Mother’s Day, nor do I know what gift is appropriate for the occasion beyond a macaroni necklace and/or home-picked flowers. And, however stereotypical they are, it is not the suggested apps that I find abrasive. Moms love to read, so the book app is a gimme. Women will enjoy yoga forever, and health consciousness is a good thing. Shopping is a no-brainer, particularly for those purse-string holding wives. Moms like pictures of their kids, and Instagram makes them vintage-feeling. And, even I admit that there are a helluva lot of moms who both bake cookies and idolize Martha Stewart.

No, the problem is not that at all. Rather it’s this: look closely at the top of the email, showing Mom using FaceTime to videochat with her kids. And a male hand model is holding the phone.

I don’t expect female-looking hands on every single product marketed towards me. But what I do expect in an ad so clearly targeted towards mothers is consistent marketing towards females. They’ve got the Yoga app, the Shopping app, the MARTHA, but they're still assuming that most of their users are men with their man-hands. It feels like the marketing team got a little too zippy with the replacement of the iPhone’s screenshot of a female user and forgot to replace the male hand as well.

If you’re wondering, yes, Apple’s got some lady-hand props in some of their material:

And, wait: why are those phones all monochromatic-like? This Mother’s Day email blast came out days before the white iPhone 4 announcement -- wouldn’t Momma like a white iPhone? I love it so much that I just purchased one and WOULD YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY!

Well, hey, maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe the man-hand and absence of white iPhones in the materials were honest mistakes.


Why aren’t they marketing the iPad to moms?

If someone is going to the Apple Store to get me a gift, I don’t want no cell phone or iPod, child! I've already got those things. I want what the entire WORLD cannot get enough of: the iPad. You want leisure, Mom? IT'S GOT LEISURE with the best reading apps on a much bigger and screen than the iPhone or iPod Touch with more color than the Kindle or Nook. You want FACE TIME, Mom? iPad has it. RECIPES? YOGA VIDEOS? PHOTO GALLERIES? IPAD. It can do everything that could be done on the iPhone or iPod Touch and even more! It's slick and pretty! What woman on EARTH would not an iPad?

The answer is: there isn’t a woman on earth who wouldn't want an iPad. But apparently Apple disagrees. Is it the old Women aren't early adoptersadage? Psssssshaw -- the thing has been out for a very TV-commercial, billboard, and product-placement-flooded YEAR now, plus similar devices like the Kindle or Nook haunt the tabletless everywhere. I fear that moms, in this case, are seen more as the prudent purse-holders than, frankly,peoplewho deserve gifts they’d actually like for Mother’s Day.

There was an urban legend making the rounds a few months ago. A husband who purchased the new iPad II, but and returned it days later with a note that said “Wife Says No”. Wife says no? “Apple Says Yes”, and they gave that husband the iPad he wanted for free, making iPad marketing efforts towards wives awkward to this day.

Why do we need to promote a nay-saying attitude towards wives, mothers, and women? Women buy, use, and recommend Apple products every day (see several paragraphs above), and I haven’t met a woman yet who wouldn’t love an iPad. Chastising an entire sector of the consumer market (women in relationships) with an unchecked urban legend like this one really stings.

So remember this, American Females targeted by Mother’s Day marketing material! Your desires are overruled by your conservative, prudent, economic policies -- unless, that is, you're buying something like jewelry, perfume, clothing, handbags, shoes, or spa-like. That's why you didn't get any good gifts this year.

Happy Mother’s Day. Love, Apple.