Steal This Bag
And no wonder: It’s scary in there, filled with old gum wrappers, crumbs, lipstick with the cap off, tampons with the wrappers coming off and all manner of things best left unsaid.
What’s in a woman’s purse? Untapped marketing opportunities.
But no more. Kelley Styring, a former market researcher for Procter Gamble Co. and PepsiCo’s Frito Lay, and now principal of the marketing consultancy InsightFarm, Newburg, Ore., recently completed what she said is the first comprehensive look inside women’s purses. She intercepted 100 women in malls in Oregon and Texas who were willing to let strangers sort through and film the contents of their purses.
She’s completed a 160 page report on her findings and plans to publish a book. What she found may be a little surprising for marketers. Viewer discretion advised.
If a marketer gets anything in a woman’s purse, it tends to stay a long time for better or worse. One woman had seven cigarette lighters in her purse (she kept losing them in there). Another had a prostitution summons she tried to pass off as a parking ticket. One had a penis shaped pencil topper. And another had a wrapper from a male enhancement tablet (the woman blamed her husband, adding that it didn’t work). The average purse had two ounces of trash, mostly paper, out of an average of 3.5 pounds.
Madison Avenue types may live and die by them, but regular women, at least those walking around malls, don’t. Only one or two were found in the 100 purses in the study. That’s about as many as had prostitution summons. By comparison, more than a third had some kind of day planner, and many more wrote phone numbers on little slips of paper scattered in their purses. It’s a sign both that the PDA market could get bigger, if priced right, and that paper based planners and address books have much life left.