The Moving Target - Marketing to Women in the 1970s
Rena Bartos was named Senior Vice President at the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1977 and was an influential figure in the advertising industry. She was highly regarded for her pioneering work on marketing to women, a concept she called â€˜The Moving Targetâ€™.
â€˜The Moving Targetâ€™ focused on changing perceptions of women in the 70s; it was designed to help advertisers recognise the shifting roles of the modern woman, encourage them to portray her more realistically in the media and sell to her more effectively as a consumer. J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America showcases Bartosâ€™ ground-breaking research on the female consumer through her speeches, articles and publications. The Moving Target booklet presented here would have supported Bartosâ€™ presentations to JWT clients and other advertising leaders at industry events. It reveals the challenges Bartos faced in convincing the (mainly male) advertising industry to revaluate their perception of womenâ€™s roles at home and at work.
As well as revealing how advertisers in the 70s thought about women, The Moving Target includes statistics that challenged the stereotype of the American housewife and shone the spotlight on the emerging cohorts of women who didnâ€™t fit the established mould. Bartos showed that in 1974, while 34% of women were married with children, an equal 34% were neither married nor had children; 27% of married women had no children and interestingly, there was a growing number of women with children but no husband. Bartos used these figures to show advertisers why they needed to change their marketing tactics to reach this quickly evolving market. She told them to look ahead and aim where the target is going, and not where itâ€™s been.
Using savvy marketing techniques, Bartos writes as if in a Q&A session with the client, recreating the persuasive rhetoric she would have used in her speeches. As the publication goes on and her arguments hit home, her job now isnâ€™t to convince the client to accept that womenâ€™s roles are changing, but to teach them how to reach this new market. And this is where J. Walter Thompson come inâ€¦
Bartos uses â€˜The Moving Targetâ€™ to promote JWTâ€™s strategies for understanding the female consumer. She deftly demonstrates to prospective clients how, as their chosen ad agency, JWT will help them identify and speak to their new female consumer and earn a share of this growing, lucrative, female market.