Using Women to Market to Men

I’ll join Bitter here in saying I didn’t have any particular problem with the Lucky Gunner ammo waitresses, speaking as someone who went to fetch his own ammo that weekend. Understand that for most people at the shoot, Lucky Gunner was selling ammo. In order to sell more ammo, you have to keep shooters at the line ripping away at the various targets down range. The ammo waitresses were a way to keep people at the line shooting. That they happened to be good looking women I don’t think reflected badly on Lucky Gunner or the shooting sports. None of them were dressed inappropriately. There’s a world of difference between this, and this, and if LG had decided on the latter, I would have been quick to criticize them.

There’s been some criticism of Heidi as well, which I really don’t understand, since when I clicked on her, she is entirely appropriately dressed, is informative, and does not make me think that Lucky Gunner is explicitly using sex to market their product to men. Subtly yes, but that’s because it works. Most sales people that call IT managers these days are women. For pharmaceutical sales, which are mostly to male physicians, it’s generally a prerequisite to be highly knowledgeable about the business, the products, and also to be smoking hot. It’s not like Big Pharma will send them in dressed like they just got out of their night job at Hooters; they’ll be in business attire, but they will get the job done in ways a man marketing to other men can’t.

I do have issues with turning the shooting sports into a boys club, but I would note the ammo waitresses were just as thrilled with being able to shoot all the toys on the range just as much as the guys were, and they were free to when they weren’t schlepping ammo.  If they had dressed them like they were sunbathing at the beach, or like Sniper Babes, I would agree it was inappropriate. But I don’t think LG crossed the line in terms of their marketing, at least not any more than many casual dining establishments, or other industries that market primarily to a male audience.

8 thoughts on “Using Women to Market to Men”

  1. ‘Sniper Babes’? They damned well better be able to shoot as skillfully as the moniker implies.

  2. I am a free market capitalist. Let the market decide. If the woman bloggers, or men for that matter, were disturbed by the companies representation of woman, they could leave and blog about it. Those people could start their own company and use whatever marketing plan they want to succeed. But it is a proven fact that SEX sells.

    I shoot guns and I ride Harleys. HD has recently noticed that woman are riding and buying bikes more than ever before. They went hard for the woman share by making the bikes lower, easier to ride and more ergonomic than ever before. BUT, what they didn’t notice and are coming around to see now, is that because they did such a hard turn, so quickly, they lost more men than they gained in woman. So while the sales of bikes to woman is higher, the sales to men has tanked. They gained some new customers but are losing the core.
    Marketing is a tough master. You have to balance the books and pay the bills. Do not get lost in the gender differences and lose site of your CORE audience or you are done.

  3. Subtly yes, but that’s because it works.

    On men, yes. Which is kind of the point. One that I think you’ve missed slightly. The complaint isn’t that Lucky Gunner was “explicitly using sex” to sell their product. It isn’t even that using sex to sell a product is inherently bad.

    It just does seem that if you are going to use sex, even subtly, to sell your product to men, it doesn’t make much sense to then ask, “Why can’t we get more women to shoot?”

    It just doesn’t seem to me to be controversial to posit that subtly using sex to market to men, is perhaps not the best strategy to market to women.

  4. Lucky for Lucky Gunner that they sell ammo, not guns.
    If eroticism sells guns, and pink guns are for chicks, then who are BIG BLACK guns for…?

  5. The firearms industry also needs more attractive men (with waists, rather than equators), in attractive non-tactical outfits.
    It was a pleasure to… pay close attention to my first firearms instructor, and he wasn’t wearing anything scandalous.

    Every business knows that you benefit from using attractive people of any sex or gender to work with customers. You can see the big companies are getting it by their industry booths, and retail is the next step.
    It’s time to replace uncle Bubba at the front counter, despite his valuable experience as an arm-chair commando.

  6. I was at a trade show several years ago where a lot of vendors had very attractive females passing out information and samples in their booths.

    One of the vendors was selling a new plastic material. They demonstrated the durability of this material by laying a layer of it on the floor of their booth, where a very pretty female skater in a very skimpy outfit was iceskating on it. The skater turned and twirled and flirted with the crowd while the salesman was answering questions and handing out samples.

    One customer watched the skater for a moment then started grilling the salesman about the materials durability in specific caustic environment. The salesman listened to his question then told him “You will need to get that information from our chief chemist.” Then he turned around and said the skater “You need to handle this one, he’s way over my head.”

    The skater stopped spinning, smiled, shook the onlookers hand, introduced herself and launched into a long detailed description of how and why her plastic material would handle the environment he was asking about…

  7. I bet that skater wasn’t in a “very skimpy outfit”, I’d bet she was in an figure skating costume. Which is absolutely appropriate for the marketing hook of “tough enough to skate on” (as well as cool in temp when twirling all day in a full convention hall). Yes, they could have used a male skater, but apparently they didn’t have one who was an actual chemist for the company.

    Kinda like skirts and shorts and sleeveless polos being appropriate for hot weather and simultaneously not inappropriate for range wear (when kneeling isn’t required) if the person wearing them is comfortable doing so.

    Heaven forbid autonomous individuals who are attractive choose to take pride in their appearance and dress in ways that are both situationally appropriate yet appearance enhancing. Not to mention exactly how they would choose to dress in identical circumstances whether working or not.

  8. Oh please. Those women are wearing more than the beer cart women do at golf clubs.

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