Monday, May 19, 2008

Brookstone: A World of (not so much) Innovation

A look at the use of gender in the models of the Father's Day 2008 catalogue from Brookstone:

In each of the groups of pages mentioned below, I have counted the number of pictures for various products using either male or female models.

For example, looking at the pages from the cover through page five, there were multiple pictures of hammocks, 4 of which showed men lounging on hammocks, 0 of which showed women lounging on hammocks.

Cover to page five
Hammocks: 4 men, 0 women

Pages 6-15
Single-person water sports game: 1 man, 0 women
Double-person water sports game: 1 double (photo of 1 man + 1 woman), 1 of 2 men
Single-person pool lounger: 1 man*, 12 women
Double-person pool lounger: 3 doubles, 1 man, 1 woman
Motorized inflatable pool devices: 1 double, 3 men, 0 women
Pool-side shower: 0 men, 1 woman
Rolling cooler: 0 men, 2 women
Hammocks: 1 double**

*Man shown in small inset photo carrying chair over shoulder.
**Man shown in hammock, woman shown standing by his head with a glass of darkly-colored beverage.

Pages 16-35
Grills and golf: all men (plus one more man in hammock)

Pages 36-41
Devices for use in the home: all women

Pages 42-43
Photo devices: 1 double, children

Pages 44-47
Electronic media equipment: 1 man, 0 women

Pages 48-53
Mattresses and sleep products (no pillows): 1 double, 0 men, 9 women

Pages 54-57
Personal grooming: 4 men, 0 women

Pages 58-59
Massage/relaxation: 2 double, 2 men, 4 women

Pages 60-63
Exercise equipment: 3 men, 10 women

Pages 64-67
Bathrobes: 1 double
Pillows/blankets: 1 double***, 1 man****, 3 women

***Picture shows man snoring and woman with hands over her ears.
****This picture is for a pillow to stop snoring.

I will not make any notes about race, since every single model is white. Also, only 8 of the many pictures of women show brunettes--the rest are blondes.

I will let you draw your own conclusions.


Olive Kite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elegyrl said...

Wow.... first of all apparantly they like to sell a lot of hammocks and pool toys... Anyways I definately catch your drift of this blog... very very interesting! Maybe you should write to them and complain about what you have observed! I am impressed at how much detail went into your research and so forth for this particular blog.... so is that why you were not feeling well enough for FHE tonight? Thus also why you didn't need any chicken noodle soup? :)

ol' Bob said...

"For the 13-week period ending March 29, 2008 Brookstone reported a loss from continuing operations of $13.0 million, compared to a loss from continuing operations of $11.7 million for the comparable 13-week period of 2007."

But same-store sales are up, whatever that means. One might assume that the company has learned how to target its advertising and promotional material effectively. Maybe not.

Are you planning similar studies for other catalogs? Maybe Victoria's Secret or Land's End?

Betty Edit said...

No similar studies are currently planned.