Pink Filter: Gender Effects in Meaningful and Meaningless Product Differentiation
A simple Google search of the term “Pink Tax” pulls up thousands of results regarding “the cost of being a female consumer.” There is a belief that women’s products are priced more highly than men’s products to reap the benefits of women preferring female-targeted products. We sought to determine the prevalence of these beliefs and the efficacy of such marketing practices. We consider the impact of both meaningful (e.g., different product features) and meaningless (e.g., labelling) differentiation on consumers’ attitudes towards products. We propose that women have become skeptical towards meaningless product differentiation directed towards them. Whereas they respond favorably to products that target women through different ingredients and functionality, they respond more negatively to products that target women purely through packaging. We specifically looked at response to three products: sunscreen, razors, and protein bars and manipulated each product to isolate the effects of product features vs. the product advertising. Results were then measured to determine if different types of gender marketing affected women more strongly than they affected men. The results of this research have implications for product marketing campaigns and for public policy.
Bessendorf, A., & Gans, S. (2015). From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer (pp. 1-76, Rep.). New York City, New York: New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.
Carpenter, G. S., Glazer, R., & Nakamoto, K. (1994). Meaningful Brands from Meaningless Differentiation: The Dependence On Irrelevant Attributes. Journal of Marketing Research, 31(3), 339. doi:10.2307/3152221
Cone, Michael. (n.d.). Pink Tax FAQ. Retrieved from pink.tax
Cooke, Alan J., and Peter Pal Zubcsek (2011), “mLab: A Collaborative Mobile Research Lab,” Marketing Science Institute “Ideas Challenge” research proposal.
Duesterhaus, M., Grauerholz, L., Weichsel, R., & Guittar, N. A. (2011). The Cost of Doing Femininity: Gendered Disparities in Pricing of Personal Care Products and Services. Gender Issues,28(4), 175-191. doi:10.1007/s12147-011-9106-3
Fishbein, A. J., Woodall, P. (2006). Women are Prime Targets for Subprime Lending: Women are Disproportionately Represented in High-Cost Mortgage Market. Consumer Federation of America, Washington, DC
Government Accountability Office. (2018). Report: Consumer protection: Gender- related price differences for goods and services. US Fed News Service, Including US State News.
Mackenzie, S. B., Lutz, R. J., & Belch, G. E. (1986). The Role of Attitude toward the Ad as a Mediator of Advertising Effectiveness: A Test of Competing Explanations. Journal of Marketing Research,23(2), 130-143. doi:10.1177/002224378602300205
Obermiller, C., & Spangenberg, E. R. (1998). Development of a scale to measure consumer skepticism toward advertising. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 7(2), 159-186. doi:10.1207/s15327663jcp0702_03
Obermiller, C., & Spangenberg, E. R. (2000). On the Origin and Distinctness of Skepticism toward Advertising. Marketing Letters,24(2), 311-322. doi:https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008181028040
“Pink Tax” Data source: Google Trends (https://www.google.com/trends).
Shimp, T. A. (1981). Attitude toward the AD as a Mediator of Consumer Brand Choice. Journal of Advertising,10(2), 9-48. doi:10.1080/00913367.1981.10672756
Copyright (c) 2020 Camila Vincent de Urquiza, Alan Cooke
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Some journals stipulate that submitted articles cannot be under consideration for publication or published in another journal. The student-author and mentor have the option of determining which journal the paper will be submitted to first. UF JUR accepts papers that have been published in other journals or might be published in the future. It is the responsibility of the student-author and mentor to determine whether another journal will accept a paper that has been published in UF JUR.