Sumita Vaid

Move over Tulsi and Parvati, Ally McBeal is here

Women find Hutch and Samsung ads more enjoyable than Chevrolet and Fair and Lovely ads, according to Evesdropping, a study conducted by Grey Cells, the strategic planning division of Grey Worldwide

For this brand of Indian woman Tulsi and Parvati, believed to be the icons of the archetypal Indian woman, are passé, cellphones take precedence over washing machines, Jhankar Beats makes for better viewing than a star studded run-of-the-mill Bollywood flick and marriage is not about subservience to in-laws or husband, but a relationship of equals. These are some of the findings of the study, titled Evesdropping, conducted by Grey Cells, the strategic planning division of Grey Worldwide. The study aims to equip marketers with valuable insights while preparing the communications strategy for the homemakers of tomorrow.

The study seeks to understand the woman consumer of tomorrow through an understanding of her life, by studying her attitudes and perceptions, and tries to tie in the findings to marketing strategy. Talking about the study, Naresh Gupta, national head, account planning, Grey Worldwide, says, "The objective of the study was not only to get a peep into the life of today's woman, but to get a feel of what she will be like in the future. The changes that the new age women are driving will change the way we look at our own audience."

The study shows there has been a paradigm shift in the way today's young women think. The woman consumer of today is versatile and multi-faceted, who is financially independent and confident. She is outright straight while stating her expectations from life and stays miles away from being stereotypical. She believes in being ‘equal partners' where she aspires to effectively manage dual family responsibilities and not to be a Tulsi. For example, 60 per cent of the women from mini metros, which include Nagpur, Ahemdabad, Lucknow and Chandigarh (as against 35 per cent of women from metros) do not consider religious customs such as Karvachauth a symbol of the new ‘Indian bahu'.

What the study also brings to light is the fact that geographical segmentation has already become redundant, as women share converging attitudes and beliefs. The homemaker is more evaluative, aware and experienced than her predecessor. Her awareness has given her confidence in herself. While she does not aspire to be a superwoman, and is willing to reveal a bit of eccentricity, she insists on being accepted for what she is and does not refrain from being the conspicuous consumer with a sizeable chunk of the funds at her disposal.

The study also shows that women consumers could be driven by impulse. There is an increasing need for symbols that reflect luxury and status - where the homemaker would adopt with open arms new brands/concepts and live for ‘now' rather than save for the future. In fact, the typical mindset of frugal living is giving into guilt-free materialism. About 86 per cent of the women in mini metros versus 30 per cent in metros think that it is necessary to have a car and a house to be happy. Cell phones, for example, rank third in the list of durables even before a refrigerator. She also has an increasing acceptance for quick and easy solutions; therefore packaged foods, instant mixes and new age appliances find favour with this class of Indian woman. The concept of entertainment has evolved to match her lifestyle, with a shift in focus from ‘epics' to ‘episodes' where stereotypes are passé. Even ‘celebrities' might be losing their touch as they steadily lose their strength as a source of credibility. Serials such as Ally McBeal and Friends are liked more than the family pack of K dramas. These women find Hutch and Samsung ads more enjoyable than Chevrolet and Fair and Lovely ads.

What has also emerged from the research is the rising demand for weekend entertainment and holidays since both husband and wife are working. Therefore quality time is fast becoming synonymous with weekends. Hoping that this study would give some strategic direction to marketers, Nirvik Singh, chairman, South Asia, Grey Global Group, says, "This study has been a big eye opener. It has demolished many myths and stereotypes. I believe Evesdropping will permanently change marketers' perceptions of their audience and help the industry create communication that is more focused and endearing."

Evesdropping is a qualitative research conducted by Grey Global Group, over a period of six months, which involved a sample of more than 4,000 unmarried women in the age group of 19-24 yeas from SEC A and B across five metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore) and four mini metros. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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