May 16, 2009

Dell... for us ladies.

When guy companies try to reach out to us... so awkward.

50 comments:

rhhardin said...

I buy refurbished and scratch-n-dent at the small business outlet, being a guy.

The 6mb L2 cache on the T9300 processor is a winner, when you can find one under $600.

Prices vary widely in waves over the months. Just wait for a price you like.

It's like hunting.

Theo Boehm said...

Apple has brilliantly managed to sell 'chick computers' for years now without noticeably patronizing women. Think of all those white PowerBooks, not to mention the current MacBook Air.

I wanted to give my wife's hand-me-down PowerBook to my oldest son, but he wouldn't be caught dead with it. All his teenage male friends agree that white Apple laptops are for girls.

Of course Apple's approach to documentation treats EVERYONE as if they needn't bother their heads (pretty little, scruffy and bearded, or otherwise) about technical details.

bearbee said...

Della=Desperation

traditionalguy said...

Digital devices empower women. So what's wrong with pointing out that they are women? Sounds like an excuse to be snarky to the ad people to me. Android People are not in any more. Just be a powerful women and say thank you.

commenter said...

i don't care about dell but rather about the inconsistency of womanhood.

If you are large and in charge, be proud to post your numbers without the lies. if you aren't proud of your numbers, track them on paper or through a screen and do something.

Bissage said...

I was surprised to find out this post has nothing to do with anybody's sister.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Digital devices empower women. So what's wrong with pointing out that they are women? Sounds like an excuse to be snarky to the ad people to me.

Digital devices empower everyone. There is no need to make a "Barbie" style advertising campaign.

I find the concept insulting. It's as if they are saying "Gee...women must be unable to grasp the concepts of GHz of CPU, RAM, DVD/CD RW or ROM data transfer speeds or hard drive capacity, much less video cards and how many Gigs of memory you might want. I know!! Let's make some nifty polka dot accessory bags for the laptop and put on some programs about weight loss and shopping."It's like saying: don't you worry your pretty little head about the performance specs on that 2010 Camaro (which I had the privilege of seeing yesterday at our local dealership...drool) We'll have it come in pink just for you little lady with convenient cup holders and a makeup mirror.

Sorry Della...I'm more concerned with the power and functionality of my computers than I am what kind of accessorizing I can do with it.

jayne_cobb said...

Sorry, but Futurama already created the femputer(plus Bea Arthur)

bagoh20 said...

What do women want?

Paul Zrimsek said...

What's the fuss? Microsoft picked a name based on men's penile insecurities.

Theo Boehm said...

DBQ: Amen. My wife just saw the 'Della" site. She says it looks like a Barbie marketing campaign.

It's no longer cool to be into Barbie past 12 or so, but once you've been trained to buy stuff that way —all that 'accessorizing' and girly designs—marketers will use it as a model to sell you adult toys for the rest of your life.

JohnP@Dell said...

The impetus behind the site was to connect with people, primarily women, but not all women, who value a combination of technology, style and personalization. No intent to offend anyone. Obviously we can do better and we're listening to feedback such as this. More info over on the Direct2Dell blog: http://bitly.com/Isg9D

Kev said...

I wanted to give my wife's hand-me-down PowerBook to my oldest son, but he wouldn't be caught dead with it. All his teenage male friends agree that white Apple laptops are for girls.Interesting. I don't think that carries over to college; there are plenty of guys at my school--guys with girlfriends, mind you--who use white Mac laptops without any seeming challenges to their manhood.

But it does seem like every guy I know has a black iPod, as opposed to any other color.

Kev said...

Crap, I forgot the little formatting trick when I posted the blockquote above. *smacks forehead*

bagoh20 said...

bagoh20 said...

What do women want?
OK, now I know what women want: To express dissatisfaction.

Can you imagine men being offended at anything similar about our stereotypical nature?

Let's say the site had dinosaurs smashing cars while women in bikinis ran to get directions on their camouflage painted laptops. Guys would not be whining about it.

Bissage said...

Corporate robo-comments give me the creeps.

traditionalguy said...

DBQ... The traditional dance that men protect sweet little women is too good to throw out with the digital-intelligence bathwater, just to make independent and powerful women "feel" that they are independent and powerful. Sorry about that pea Dell put under your 7 layers of independent and powerful mattresses. Obviously Dell cannot fool you.

Beth said...

I just emailed Dell to let them know taht as the girly girl in my department responsible for purchasing and replacing roughly 220 computers on a 4-year cycle, I'll be going with HP from now on.

Kirk Parker said...

"But it does seem like every guy I know has a black iPod, as opposed to any other color."

Well, duh--sound equipment is _supposed_ to be black.

bagoh20,

As a friend of mine once observed, "Nobody ever wrote a book called What Men Really Want".

Methadras said...

Dell needs to figure it out the hard way that computers aren't for girls. NYA!!!

JAL said...

Ahh c'mon Beth.

If you don't want to fit into the stereotype you see, don't react to the stereotype in a stereotypical way. You change your company's purchases not on quality of the machines, but on a niche marketing plan you think is silly? [Stamps foot, turns away, and says "So there!!"]

I bought a Dell laptop with some upgrades last year that is big (17" screen - because I needed it to be easily viewable with clients) and heavy (the downside), but primarily because I could get it with XP.

They were selling their business models with XP, and I did not want to deal with Vista and all the other software compatability problems involved with that.

As for the tech info -- a commenter on MetaFilter points out that he got the full tech info in two clicks, same as one would on the regular Dell page.

My teenage daughter has a Mac (for coolness?) and a wild carry case. So maybe it's an age / fashion thing. Offer more choices, sell more stuff?

Freeman Hunt said...

Not offended in the slightest. I just bought two computers from Dell last week through the regular site. This della site was obviously not made to appeal to someone like me, but to act as though a market segment doesn't exist for this? Please.

I know plenty of women who would fit the marketing strategy for this site perfectly. They do things like watch Oprah. There's nothing wrong with marketing to these people.

Why would I get bent out of shape unless I assumed that all women should be the same and therefore Dell is trying to market to me with this site? Women are not all the same. A very significant number of women are not into technical details and would likely enjoy the new site. Big deal.

rhhardin said...

I just emailed Dell to let them know taht as the girly girl in my department responsible for purchasing and replacing roughly 220 computers on a 4-year cycle, I'll be going with HP from now on.

Women are so emotional.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh, and as for the Metafilter people angry that the site used to include a "tech tip" that a netbook could be used to track weight or dieting or somesuch: again, please. It is a fact that weight and diet are a major concern to a great many women. The diet industry is HUGE. So there are probably a lot of women who would read that tip and think, "Yeah, that would be handy. I could track my weightloss progress on a netbook very conveniently, and I could take it in the car which would make logging my diet easier than having to enter everything in at home."

It's not a bad tip, and to pretend that dieting isn't a common concern is to live in a fantasy world.

mariner said...

Beth:
I just emailed Dell to let them know taht as the girly girl in my department responsible for purchasing and replacing roughly 220 computers on a 4-year cycle, I'll be going with HP from now on.

... thus proving that girly girls make business decisions on emotional rather than business grounds.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

Do people really track their weight with a computer? How about: paper, mirror or husband. Maybe we don't need these computer thingys. Then came Althouse and suddenly we had a really good reason to have one.

wuzzagrunt said...

<< As a friend of mine once observed, "Nobody ever wrote a book called What Men Really Want". >>

If you can't already guess what a man wants, you have but to ask him. Because we, like, know what we want.

EDH said...

Della..."for us ladies."

When guy companies try to reach out to us... so awkward.

"I wouldn't mix in this," Althouse.

Awkward, true. Desperate, probably. But unsuccessful, even when she knows he's no good for her?

Hmm, let's see, when has a man so clumsily cried-out for a woman's attention and affection?

Oh, I know: "Hey Stella! I want my girl down here!"

Hey, if it worked for Stanley Kowalski, why not Michael Dell?

Theo Boehm said...

Ah, but Apple manages to market to the non-techie, females included, and has done so for years, while keeping their approach non-sexist and giving everybody plenty of choices. 'Plenty of choices,' that is, if you only buy stuff from your stoner Uncle Steve.

I've had earnest discussions with my wife whether her white PowerBook was a 'chick computer' or not, she maintaining that she didn't see it that way.

When she checked the 'Della' site, however, she immediately went, "Gah!" and made the same point that DBQ did about Barbie. My wife also had some hilarious ideas about mixing the Barbie and Dell ad campaigns that I can't do justice to, so you'll have to make up your own jokes.

It may be regional differences, but those of us living as we do in blue areas of the country have been taught to be a bit more touchy about such things. Nonetheless, given that Dell might want to market to ALL women, blue and red alike, they ought to rethink this turkey ASAP.

Not that Beth and I see eye-to-eye on everything, but, frankly, I wouldn't buy something from a company that so visibly offended my values. Unlike Groucho Marx, I just can't imagine Beth saying, "Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."

Full disclosure: The idea of your stoner Uncle Steve, as opposed to your Dad, Bill Gates, came from a former commenter here who pulled all his comments, so I have nothing to link to, and probably wouldn't anyway for reasons that are too dreary to recount.

Freeman Hunt said...

More than a few women are into the Barbie thing though. That's reality. Why should it offend me that they are?

And while Apple definitely markets to non-techies, I don't think their marketing fully cashes in on the Oprah demographic. I think that's what Dell is trying to do here.

Plus, Dell doesn't want to brand their entire line as non-techy the way Apple has, apart from their computers aimed at pros, so it might not be a good idea for them to go with some generalized non-techy site.

Freeman Hunt said...

I've spent plenty of time being indoctrinated into the "be offended at all things girlie" stuff. Now, I question it.

Seems draconian for us non-girlie girls to demand that no girls want girlie things.

Theo Boehm said...

Looks like we may be into post-non-girlie, or is it post-non-girlie, girlie territory here?

Beth said...

JAL - HP's just as good as Dell. All things being equal, then is just a good a reason to tip from one to the other. There's no stereotype in responding to Dell's marketing ploy by saying, "Fail! You lost me."

Beth said...

The 13" white Macbook is a couple hundred bucks cheaper than the 13" aluminum one. It has a slightly smaller drive, but not enough to make up the $300 difference. So, I'd assume people who want to spend less go for the white one.

Theo Boehm said...

True enough, Beth. But you could also get them in BLACK.

And you know which one my teenage boy wanted.

Now they've gone all aluminum for $300 more, as you note, or white. No black any more, so it looks like we're all Bozos on Steve's bus now, paying for the aluminumness of Apple.

As I say, my teenager wants a cool aluminum computer like Dad.

I smell a marketing ploy with plausible deniability here. Women, I suspect, are not as likely to be swayed by the metallic coolness of the higher-end models, and are looking for something compact, functional, and not ugly. Given the same basic teenage and 20-something demographic, at the margins I think guys will hold out for the more assertive styling and slightly better performance of the aluminum models, and pay the extra $300. And there's a bit more in it for Apple, too.

NOW who's making emotional, image-based purchases? But you already knew that about guys, didn't you?

Apple has neatly segmented the market, and can still say, "Chick computer? What chick computer?" while Dell sweatily struggles with its Oprah demographic. I suppose Dell will make money, but it further cements Dell's GM-like low-rent image, while Apple polishes its BMW-esque reputation, and wonders what to do with its 20-odd billion dollars in cash.

Make cheaper computers is one answer. But why bother when there are guys like me—I admit it—who just love BIG aluminum gizmos that glow in the dark?

Theo Boehm said...

I should say, my teenage boy NOW wants a cool aluminum computer, like Dad. When they were available, he formerly wanted a black one.

Sometimes we all need an editor.

Beth said...

Theo,

Within the 10-foot square area surrounding me now, here on my couch, is a Macbook Air, the MacBook Pro (aluminum) that I'm using, an older MacBook Pro hooked to the TV, an old Powerbook (titanium? I think that's it) on a bookshelf, and the carcass of a 12" white Powerbook - I stripped it for parts once it gave up the ghost. Oh, and a G5 desktop. There's also an HP laptop on the table.

There are more rooms in the house, with another Mac, a Dell laptop and an HP laptop.

Some were emotional choices (the little white Macbook was my first laptop; I got what I could afford.) Others are here because they fit a need.

Theo Boehm said...

Oh, I'm not doubting your objectivity and good sense, Beth.

It's me and the rest of the world that I'm looking at.

rhhardin said...

Guys make that apology automatically.

kynefski said...

Dell can be a little brain-dead sometimes.

Years ago, we bought a nicely-priced Dell desktop for our son. (The famous 4600 with the temporary power supply; although kudos for their in-home service.) It came with jukebox software which, when opened, offered users the "opportunity" to upgrade to the full-featured program for a price.

Now, this was when Dell was trying to sell digital audio players, yet they were crippling their customers' digital audio experience hoping to make a few bucks. Meanwhile, the other guys...

You wonder why people let Apple rip them off? It's because it happens all at once rather than in pieces.

Jen said...

Personally, I want to know what kind of computer Hoosier Daddy uses.

I'm on a black iPhone currently.

MBPros do video and photo editing, trading, and remote conference attending, no weight tracking or Louboutin buying.

These Macs are better than any PC I've had before for these purposes. And I used to live and die by Linux.

DELL shot themselves in the motherboard with this one.

Joe said...

This is yet another totally manufactured controversy. The lemmings are told to be offended so they are offended. And Metafilter is just plain lying: there is technical information on the site, it's just not smack on the front page. Go visit Honda or Ford or another car site; is the technical information front and center? Of course not.

Seems to me that the real offense here is that the site is completely based on market research--I've heard plenty of women talk about choosing their laptop based on how it matches their clothing and accessories.

Jen said...

Not all market research is well done. This was clearly shoddy.

I know only one woman wealthy enough to stupidly match her laptop to her shoes. And she's too smart to do such an inane thing.

If it's one thing I'm learning from conversing with conservatives, friends and otherwise, it is that numbers and dialogue are easily manipulated and misconstrued to prove whatever you want them to.

Interpret THAT however you want to.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've heard plenty of women talk about choosing their laptop based on how it matches their clothing and accessories.


Well Joe.....Then you deal with some pretty low rent, low IQ, non technically astute women.

I pick MY tools, based on performance, cost effectiveness, utility and compatability. The decorative effect of such tools is really really over rated.

Disclaimer.. I do have DELL computers in a portion of my office, because I could custom order to fit what I needed. And guess what!! they aren't pink or polka dotted.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If it's one thing I'm learning from conversing with conservatives, friends and otherwise, it is that numbers and dialogue are easily manipulated and misconstrued to prove whatever you want them to.

Interpret THAT however you want to
I interpret that to be a gratuitous swipe at Conservatives that has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of Dell computers, feminism or anything else.

Knee jerk much?

srfwotb said...

Not an accident about Apple. Steve Jobs. Women like. Gay guys, too, I hear.

Jen said...

That's exactly what I thought, DBQ.

It could also mean that I'm learning from my conservative friends that deciphering manipulation, numerical and otherwise, is a skeptical art form. And that I think that they are pretty good at it.

I guess it depends on your perspective.

Knee jerk much?

Christy said...

Am I the only woman who has ever walked into a car dealership and had the salesman ask, right off, "What color do you want?" Women are accustomed to being patronized; we learn to discount it if we don't want to go through life angry.

I've never been a girly girl, but I've had weight loss and nutrition software on every personal computer I've used. Hell, I even programed a differential equation to predict progress in my diets.

Theo Boehm said...

srfwotb: Yes, it certainly looks that way every time I go into an Apple store, and yes, no accident about Apple's marketing success.

BUT I'm straight as straight can be, and I've been a big Apple fan since the get go.

If I had a daughter, I think I would have named her 'Lisa."