Ad Age: A Spoof to Mad Men or A Dish To Women?


March has been an exciting month for women. The first  White House Council on Women and Girls was signed, March 8th marked International Women's Day and entire month is National Women's History Month. Helen Reddy's song I Am Women is dancing in my mind

  • I am woman, hear me roar
    In numbers too big to ignore
    And I know too much to go back an' pretend
    'Cause I've heard it all before
    And I've been down there on the floor
    No one's ever gonna keep me down again

And then there is the January 19, 2009 issue of Advertising Age, one of marketing's most respective trade publications. Seems to me that Ad Age has turned the clock back on the position of women in advertising with the cover of it's January 19, 2009 issue.

Ad age_3  

This was the third time Ad Age selected an A-List that recognizes ".. that success in today's agency landscape comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes."

What I find offense is not necessarily that nine out of ten of the A-List agencies are managed by men but the posturing of Linda Sawyer, CEO of Interpublic Group's Deutch.

Take a look at the composition of the illustration. Power house men in dark suites many holding drinks appear very much the good old boys club. While Ms Sawyer sits demurely to the lower left in a sweet sleeveless shift with her hands politely folded in her lap like a good school girl. She seems squeezed out of the frame .. an after thought that off balances the picture.

Or .. did I get it wrong? Was Ad Age just having some fun spoofing one of its most prestigious honors .. the Agency A-List with an illustration based on the TV show Mad Men about advertising set in the 1960's? Did Ms. Sawyer think that her spot in the illustration was no big deal but part of the joke where she seemed more secretary than CEO?

  • Oh, yes, I am wise
    But it's wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I've paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to
    I can face anything
    I am strong
    I am invincible
    I am woman

Social Media Three For One


Life gets hectic and sometimes little niceties get put aside and then too often forgotten. VirRosestual roses and  heartfelt belated thanks to Shel Israel, C.B. Whittemore and Denise Scammon for their kindness.

On new years eve Shel Israel, Global Neighbourhoods, ended the year for me with virtual fireworks when he posted our interview in the Twitterville Notebook. Shel's notes will form the basis of his second book. The first, Naked Conversations written with Robert Scobel, has become a classic about corporate blogging. I was honored to be included in the chapter Consultants Who Get It.  Here's a question from my Twitterville Notebook interview with Shel.For more visit Twitterville Notebook.

Shel Israel:  Do you still see social media tools as part of the marketing tool arsenal or has your thinking. umm... evolved from that perspective?

Toby: My philosophy is that marketing is the doorway to the customer and, from that perspective, social media plays an important role in reaching and keeping in contact with a brand’s community. However, I’ve seen companies such as Zappos, Comcast and Dell successfully use social media to support customer service so perhaps there are more “homes” where social media can reside than in marketing. I think customer services should be a part of marketing but that’s another topic for another day. In addition, technical support reps have been blogging for many years yet another residence for social media.

One of the lessons that I’ve learned is social media initiatives have the best chance of success if there is a champion who is responsible for the implementation and also understands and believes that social media is a new way of conducting business. Social media not only influences the way we interact with customers but with people within the enterprise. Developing cross silo communication processes are critical to ensuring that information derived from on-going listening and talking with customers reaches the right internal people. Equally important is letting customers know they have been heard and responding appropriately.

What I’d like to see is social media holding a place of its own at the c-suite table. I envision a Chief Social Media Officer who helps orchestrate the initiatives; where the position is structured more as a jazz leader than a classical conductor. If you know of any organization looking for a “social media jazz leader” let me know!

C.B. Whittemore, Flooring The Consumer, included me in her thought provoking New & Old Social Media Series. I join Mack Collier, Ann Handley, Steve Woodruff, Amber Naslund, Lewis Green, Laurence (Lolly) Borel, Susan Abbott (with more to come!) talking the new conversations in blogs, Twitter, social networks and so on. Here is a a preview of one my answers; for the rest click over to Flooring The Consumer.

C.B.: What 5 suggestions do you have for companies to implement so they can more effectively bridge old media with new media and connect with end users?

1. Begin with a plan that includes goals and success measures. Don’t be afraid to include success measures that are outside the box of traditional metrics. As you build that plan consider how you can use social media to support current old media/traditional strategies. For example can you extend an article in an eZine with a blog post to carry on the conversation in greater detail?

2. Develop a budget that includes dollar and people resources. Build your programs to take into consideration human capital to support the implementation. If you don’t, not only will you be frustrated, but you will fail before you hit the publish key.

3. Understand the limitations and the benefits of the tools, or tactics, before you consider implementing. Listen and watch the rhythms of the social elements (blogs, vlogs, social networks, Twitter, etc.) you are considering before you create your social media strategy.

4. Determine if your target audience is involved in that specific platform. Then if they are listen to their conversations within each of the new media avenues that you want to explore. How are your customers using the platforms? The best Facebook strategy will fall flat if your community is not involved.

5. Bring all the people who will be involved in the project around a table for a strategic “red flag” conversation. The up front investment will save you dollars, time and tears.

Sun journal You never know where social media will take you. Denise Scammon's comment on a Diva Marketing post led to an opportunity to contribute to the SunJournal's special section Women's Journal. My article - Expand your business network through social media was written to help people new to social media understand how simple it is to incorporate blogs, social networking, Twitter, etc. into a busy schedule.

A few tips to help you jump-start building your digital relationship network:

1. Explore a few social networks. When you build your profile, to prevent spam, consider using a different e-mail address from your business or personal e-mail. The following Big Three networks have become the core platforms for many business professionals.

LinkedIn is focused on business networking, making it an ideal first step into social media.

Twitter allows only 140 characters per message or "tweet." Organizations are using Twitter for customer service support, public relations conferences and rapid response answers to questions.

Facebook offers the option to create personal pages and group pages for brand "fans."

2. Don't feel obligated to follow/friend everyone who knocks on your virtual door. Sometimes less is more. Take time to read profiles to help you determine who you want to be a part of your community.

3. Participate in discussions in the same way as you would in the off-line world. Be yourself. Let your personality come through in your words, on videos or in a podcast interview.

4. Adding value to the conversation will reward you faster and better than a continuous stream of promotion about your products or company.

The results: you'll develop a global network that you can tap into for resources, information, support, advice in which you can control where and when you meet-up. Don't be surprised if the connections you make turn into real friendships that lead to off-line meetings!

31 Social Media Networking Communities For Women


Social networks .. they're not just MySpace, Facebook or even Twitter. The long tail concept comes to life in the hundreds of thousands of niche communities that are exploding on to the social media scene.

Friends hugging fundraiser blog A soon-to-be-talked about new venture sent me on quest to explore what was happening with women and social networks. I discovered that when it comes to dishn' with your virtual girlfriends the communities are as diverse as well .. women! In addition to communities for moms, the focus ranges from cars to sports to business to age and status to cultural niches.

1.Multi-Tasking Women - Kyle Young created a community that empowers women to embrace and celebrate ALL the facets of their lives as a unique whole.

2. - Heidi Richards Mooney's focus is helping women do business online.

3. Ask Patty - Jody DeVere created the first community to help women learn about cars.

4. Diva Tribe - Jennifer Thompson launched this community to encourage women to work together to better themselves and live to their full potentials through reading, writing, and creativity. - Canadian community celebrating women over 40.

5.Wowowow - site for women founded by a team of celebrity friends Joni Evans, Liz Smith. Mary Wells,Peggy Noonan and Lesley Stahl.

6. AOL Living - AOL's version of community for women.

7.iVillage - A division of NBC Universal iVillage was established in 1995 and is positioned as the #1 online destination for women.

9. Hitched! -  Founded in May 2003, by Jacquelyn Corbett Cyr this community's focus is on the women of Canada.

10. Kirsty - social media "sharing/voting" platform.

11. Savvy Auntie - Auntie Melanie Notkin created the first community for Aunts to exchange ideas, get advice, find gifts and connect with other Savvy Aunties.

12. Alpha Women - The "coffee shop" of the internet is a blogging community launched by Freda Mooncotch.

13. Divapreneur - Supporting women who own small businesses to network and learn together.

14. Boudica - Lorna Harris had an idea of a social news site for women. Community members are encourged to submit news stories,  information and web sites.

15. HerProBlog - Mona Weathers launched her community to help women bloggers from all walks of life, all levels of blog publishing understanding, and desired income earning goals to create and maintain professional blogs.

16. BlogHer - Founders Elisa Camahort, Lisa Stone and Jory Des Jardin focus is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment.

17. Single Minded Women - A community devoted to the needs of single women of all ages; founded by Allison O’Connor.

18. Jane Out of The Box - Michele DeKinder-Smith has developed a community created exclusively for women entrepreneurs.

19. EmpowHER - Michelle King Robson  is the founder of a community where women ask, share and connect to enhance each other's health. 

20. WESeed - Jennifer Openshaw developed this social-networking site to help people get into the stock market.

21. Built On A Woman - A blogging community that positions as a source of practical information; posted by women, for women; founded by Shelle.

22. Solo Lady - Lea Lane launched this community for single women of all ages.

23. Ophra's Oprah's - online community.

24, Divine Caroline - Women are encouraged to publish their posts and articles on this community founded by Kate Everett Thorp.

25. Damsels In Success - A blogging site for professional women founded by Harleen Kahlon.

26. Women in Bloom - Allison Allen created this community to inspire and support women to ‘bloom’ in mid-life.

27. Black Women Connect - Social community for professional Black women developed by Connect Platform.

29. Tango Diva - Teresa Rodriguez Williamson and Patti Mangan built this community for women to share solo travel experiences, ideas and questions.

30. Femme Fan - Ivette Ricco, decided the time was right to provide the female fan a place on the web that covered sports from the female's unique perspective.

31. First Wives World - Debbie Nigro, founder of First Wives World has created a support group for women in different phases of life who are moving "beyond divorce."

11-24 1:15p note: it is an error that this post will not accept comments.comments are open. sent typepad a help request and am waiting for their response. if you have additonal communities you'd like to add to comments please let me know or check back in a few. thanks!

11-24 1:56p note: have not heard frm typepad but comments are working. please ignore the message that says comments are closed and just post. thanks.

11-24 6:35p note: all should be fine. thanks for your patience.

Adding more as I find them.

The Sister Project - network of blogs about the many facets of the word sister, and the concept of sisterhood.

Wellsphere - Women's health community

WomenBloom - inspiring and supporting women to make the most of mid-life

Midlife Bloggers - Women bloggers in midlife

Motrin: A Case Study In Social Media Marketing


Subtitle: Motrin's  We Feel Your Pain Ad Campaign Targeted To Moms: Proof of the Influence of Social Media


Today sipping my morning coffee I clicked into Twitter and was intrigued by a tweet from @chrisbrogan.


What I found was a video that was apparently an element of Motrin's We Feel Your Pain campaign that was targeted to moms. <the link to the page has been taken down>



Script: "Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.

Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the body tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t. I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?! I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid."


Surfing over to #MotrinMoms (a summary of tweets tagged with #MotrinMoms) I was overwhelmed. At that time there were 65 pages, with 15 tweets per page, or 975 posts. I can only imagine what the team at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson and Johnson,Tshirt_2 must be feeling.

The majority of tweets were from moms who were Passionately outraged about the video. They felt hey and their babies were being disrespected. 

So passionate that Mamikaze designed t-shirts, mugs, buttons and bags for sale at CafePress. So passionate that Katja created a video of what she felt was should have been the message. In social media style it was uploaded it to YouTube. Before this post went live there were 2014 views.

People are wondeWarrenwhitlock_real_lesson_2ring ..


So .. I've been thinking .. if McNeil Consumer Healthcare were a social media marketing client how would I advise them?

  • First I'd say, especially to Bonnie Jacobs, VP Communications and  Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing - McNeil Consumer Healthcare - take a deep breath and be prepared for some long nights.
  • Second I'd say "listen" to the angst of what should be the community of Motrin Moms.

Sadly, you will learn that you have lost some customers.


You will learn what went wrong for these moms and how they felt.



You will learn from women who were so upset that they took online, tweets and blog posts, offline to main stream media, advertisers and friends.















You will also learn from women who generously offered ideas on what McNeil Consumer Healthcare could have done with the campaign that would have added value and increased brand appreciation.


Laura Fitton aka Pistachio wrote a detailed post that includes a few lessons for the Motrin marketing team:

But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age. Rolling out a new tactic is THE most important time to lend an ear.


From Sarah Browne, Guru of New, more lessons:

The lesson here for corporate America? This didn’t have to happen. All you have to do is ask and Moms will help — with your creative, your research, your buzz.

  • Third, I'd say join the conversation sooner than later. That is the challenge.

Neither Motrin or McNeil Consumer Healthcare have a presence in social media. However, there is the Johnson & Johnson blog - JNJ BTW and the social networking community Baby Center where they could tell their story. Perhaps Twitter is an option .. if they can put people resources against it

How do you reach out to over a thousand people who have written about you? Do you invite a handful of mommies to corporate headquarters and wine and dine them? How do you determine the "influencers?" No matter who you tap there will be hurt feelings.

How do you give back to a community? Maybe you make amens by identifying moms in need. Maybe you do something Big that is Important. Maybe you ask the community's help in identifying what that should be.

The big lesson that we continue to learn

Not stepping into social media especially when a significant, vocal, powerful segment of your market .. IS stepping into social media.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  Charles Darwin

Update: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Responds to Amy Gates, Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Amy posted the email:

   Dear Amy -

    I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

    We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.


    Kathy Widmer
    VP of Marketing - Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
    McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Update: 11-18-08; Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing apologizes on the home page of Motrin. Part 2 of Motirn: A Case Study in Social Media.


A Virtual Home For All Auntie Mames!


Lego's with 15 billion pieces, paint sets with glitter, cell phones for 5-year olds, drinking 553 pots of pretend tea and hours of playing video games, eating ice cream before, during and after meals, trips to the zoo, Disneyland and the aquarium that morph into clothes and make-up shopping trips to the mall, helping write college applications, talks about boys and girl friends and too soon creating resumes and helping to furnish that first apartment. And all the while falling more in love ..

No girlfriend, I'm not talking about parenthood. I'm talking about a world-wide unique relationship with children and their aunts or aunties. Who else would buy a Lego set with 15 billion pieces or give a child a painting kit with glitter and then with a twinkle in her eye wave bye bye telling children and parents to "have fun." Certainly not a grandmama.

In most of life's roles .. one needs a model. My own aunties are/were beyond wonderful but it was my friend "Auntie Polli" who taught me Auntie Lessons 101.  When my favorite niece Jessica Robyn (well okay my only niece Jessica Robyn) was born Auntie Polli had a 3-month head start with aunt-ing her nephew Michael.  It was Auntie Polli who lifted all limitations off Auntie-hood for me.

Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Hands down it was Auntie Mame, with her zest for life and her passion for her nephew Patrick, who we gave the Auntie Tiara.  We knew we were loved, we knew we had an important role to play, we knew we made a difference in the lives of our nieces and nephews. But I'll let you in a on little secret .. sometimes even with all the joy - we felt something was missing in Auntieville.

Savvy_auntie Melanie Notkin knew that too. She saw more than a group of random women, young and old, married and not, with their own children or not, and understood that there was a fragmented community that could benefit from a social networking world.  SavvyAuntie was conceived .. the first online community for aunts.

Being a savvy marketer, Melanie knew something else. She had identified an untapped niche. After months of research, careful planning, new media marketing on the Savvy Auntie blog and Twitter - SavvyAuntie opened it's virtual doors yesterday.

The site is built around four channels: Expertise, Activities, Gifts and Community.

Expertise includes dozens of content experts from children's health and nutrition to  financial planning for Aunts who want to make their nieces and nephews their beneficiaries. Activities is where you can find zillions (well a lot!) of ideas for kids on a local level.  In Gifts you can filter/sort in unique ways from your niece's  favorite color to your nephew's must have pop culture character to your own auntie personality. 

What's a social network without a Community? Auntie's can hang out here. Build a profile, write a blog post, participate in groups and forums and read other member's stories about being an aunt in Aunthology.

So now Polli and Chris and Mary and Beth and Diva K and Kaye and Auntie Barbara and whether you call your self Aunt or Auntie or Tante or ...

tante or tatie - French
hindi  - Aunty
thea - Greek.
tia i- Spanish
姑母 - Chinese
nagynéni - Hungarian
tetka - Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian
teze - Albanian
عمة , خالة - Arabic
hala, teyze, yenge -Turkish
makcik - Malay
teta - Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Lithuanian
тётя - Russian
bibi - Indonesian
zia - Italian
tia - Portuguese
леля - Bulgarian
tante - Danish, Dutch, Latvian, Norwegian, German
faster, tant - Swedish
דּוֹדָה - Hebrew
täti - Finnish
ciotka - Polish
mătuşă - Romanian
น้า, ป้า, อาผู้หญิง - Thai
amita - Latin
خاله , عمه - Persian
Modryb i- Welsh.
khal'ti - Arabic
obasan or oba - Japanese
meemeh - Yiddish

.. we now have a community to call our own. In fact, I love what Melanie has done so much with Savvy Aunties that she asked me to be on the Advisory Board.

Want to know more about the back story? Eric Kuhn, The Huffington Post, has a great interview with Melanie. 

A Shout Out To Small Business


A little tribute to small business. I grew up in a world were "the business" was like a family member. Dinner conversations included updates and news about "the business." Trips were planned with "the business" in mind. Small business is not just business .. it's a way of life. As the economy does a shimmy I encourage you to support small.

Did you know that small businesses that are leveraging the internet are doing their fair share to support economic grow? According to Paul Misener’s vice president of global public policy - sales generated by small businesses via e-commerce accounts for as much as one-fourth of all consumer e-commerce in the United States, although surveys, including the U.S. Census, tend to greatly underestimate that number. eWeek

We_directory_2 Heidi Richards Mooney, publisher and founder of the Women’s eCommerce Association, International, just released Who’s Who Directory of Women in eCommerce. Heidi says the 57-page ebook recognizes women who promote their businesses to a global marketplace via the Internet.

In addition to using the directory as resource, (the eBook includes links to women owned business from accounting to women travel) Heidi hopes it will be a catalyst for networking and creating strategic alliances.

Country_bob_2It's only fair to tip the hat to a small biz owned by three guys. Part of Country Bob's strategy is sampling. How do you sample a product on the web? Offer coupons for a Free bottle of BBQ sauce. Added benefit: a little demo information about your customers. This one may be too late for your Memorial Day cook out but try it for the Fourth of July.

Read More About Small Business
Kiplinger Small Business Advice
Small Business Trends

Friday Fun: Sex In The City & Shoes Shoes Shoes!


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Sitc_film Today's Friday Fun is for the Divas. The girlfriends - Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda - are back in a Sex In The City film. For me SITC means shoes shoes and more shoes. Well okay throw in Mr. Big, some great fashion, cosmos, friendship and fun in NYC too.

Meghan Cleary, aka Miss Meghan, The Shoe Therapist, is running a Sex In The City Designer Shoe Contest. Once a week, from now until the SITC opening (May 30th), Miss Megan will be giving away a pair of designer shoes. Very special is that all are women-owned luxury shoe designer brands who are taking the footwear industry by stormTashkent, Diana BroussardGoldenbleu and Eileen Shields.

"Things don't always turn out to be your fantasy that's why you need  friendships that are real to get you through it all." - Carrie Bradshaw. Divas, life can find a way of getting in the way of life. So take out your calendars or blackberries and schedule a GNO with your best girlfriends. Shoe__lainey_b_marbleMaybe, as suggested by Mary one of my dear GNO friends, a SITC movie and beverage night. Perhaps you'll even be wearing designer shoes ;-)

The official Sex In The City movie site complete with a lame blog.

Bloggy disclaimer: Meghan Cleary is a client .. and as you can imagine a very fun one!

wowOwow! with CEO Joni Evans


Wowowow_logo It's always a delight, and sometimes a surprise, where blogging can take you and who you might meet along the way.

This week's adventures in social media led me to interviewing (The Real Women of WowOWow Tell Their Stories) four amazing women - Mugsy Peabody, Iris Odonata, Suzanne de Cornelia and Suzanne Conti - who reached out to me about a post (Girlfriends Just Want To Have Fun .. Social Media Style!) I wrote about several new communities targeting women. By the way the comments are worth a click.

I felt the vintage vixens' feedback was valuable, in-depth, research for wowOwow and I wanted to help these women reach the founders. So .. I dropped an email, via the site's contact us form, with hope that it would make its way and wowOwow might benefit from their community members' insights. Joni_evans

Joni Evans, CEO of wowOwow, responded to me. Athough she declined an interview for Diva Marketing she graciously agreed to let me post our email volley where she tells a bit about her vision of for wowOwow and how she is listening to the convo. Thanks Joni .. next step is to encourage your peeps to really engage with the wow women. Btw .. still don't get why they don't oh well ..

Sidebar: Click to expand the graphics



Read more in the NYT interview with Joni Evans, Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl and Whoopi Goldberg conducted by Joan Juliet Buck who is a contributor of wowOwow.

Friday Fun: The "Real" Women of WowOWow Tell Their Stories


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Wowowow_logo Today's Friday Fun is being turned over to Mugsy, Iris, Suzanne and Suzanne, a few of the women who are the heart of the the WowOWow - Women on the Web site. However, Girlfriend, they are not the founders (media celebrities: Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans). Nor are they are paid employees. Nor are they are formal volunteers. In fact, they have had little to no interaction with the women who launched WowOWow. And that was what mystified and intrigued me.

A little background .. early this week I wrote a post about three social networking communities, Dove, Shine by Yaoo! and WowOWow - Women on the Web, that are targeting women .. and not only "mommy bloggers." A couple of the WowOWow women reached out to me to tell me their reasons for being involved and committed to a community where the founders/contributors seldom engage with their peeps.

I had several reasons for this post. I wanted to share these four amazing women with the Diva Marketing community; and in doing so, give them a platform to tell their stories about their WowOWow experiences. The learnings about how to build social networking community is evolving and we continue to learn from each other.

At first I thought the post might find its way to the ladies who lunch, the founders, and perhaps help them understand/encourage them to be more "social" within their own community. However, as the emails flew back and forth among the vintage vixens (Iris' term .. love it!) and myself I began to understand these smart, savvy women had created their own community. They didn't need, nor were they really interested in, extensive interaction with the founders (altho I'm sure it would be nice).

Organically they have assumed the role of community managers. As anyone who has been involved in online community knows influence grows with interaction. The vintage vixens want to be involved in the development of what they consider to be "their community." It would be wise of WowOWow to listen and engage directly with these women.

It with pleasure that I turn Diva Marketing over to Mugsy Peabody, Iris Odonata, Suzanne de Cornelia and Suzanne Conti

Mugsy_peabody_2 Mugsy Peabody

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Mugsy Peabody:

When else in history have women over 40 been actively asked to express their opinions about anything in public? 

I mean, since Seneca Falls, which was when?  1848?  I have always been interested in what women say when they are in a space to speak safely and honestly about their lives. Reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen on the farm, when the men were off somewhere, and the women were cooking together, telling the truth about their lives because they knew they would be heard.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site? 
Mugsy Peabody: What I found lots of women like me out there. It helps with the cosmic loneliness of having Mensa IQ without an interest in hanging out with a bunch of snobbish winos who smoke too much.

I really am amazed that the wowowow people didn't realize we'd want to get in touch with each other and build community.

But most of them don't just make friends with folks; they get handed "suitable" people by others to evaluate, so they probably wouldn't know what the rest of us do to hook up. Like George Sr. not knowing what a grocery scanner is.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Mugsy Peabody: Good conversation is one of the great rewards for dressing up our eternal souls in this human suit and lugging this corporal body about the planet for whatever alloted years we have.  It's a skill I learned early on, growing up in a family not unlike J.D. Salinger's Glass family.  Three brothers (one actually a rocket scientist) and parents whose brains were incandescent, and an adopted sister who glowed with smart genes.  My sister-in-law is a big shot techie at NASA, e.g.  All sorts of people used to gather at our house just for such conversation. 

So I get some of that juice from the wowowow site -- not necessarily from the contributors or the owners (two separate sets of people) but from the posts of these amazing women who are sharp enough to have found the wowowow site in its beta state.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos?
Mugsy Peabody: For starts, the authors aren't necessarily the most interesting women on (And I think that really surprised them!) So we're not really talking with them alone.  Certainly if they want to join in, fine. Second, I'm honing my "voice" for my own web efforts, retrieving my humor writing skills.  I must say, I've been really touched and gratified by the reception I've received in this community. And, third, who knows?  The WowOWow women might just learn something from the rest of us.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Mugsy Peabody: Make it really interesting for us.  For example, we loved Joan Julia Buck's piece on Ms. Streep.  And Jane Wagner's Care-Toons on the earth were so fabulous.  Women over the age of 40 are some of the most experienced, inciteful, "smart" folks on the planet.  Even though retired "soccer  moms" are routinely ignored as being an interesting demographic, that is a serious error, a blind spot on the radar, because those women are the best organizers we have, and they determine where the household dollars get spent.

I know Ms. Tomlin can get down with "just folks," but I seriously wonder how many of these people are democrats with a small 'd'. And, P.S., for godzakes, don't try to BS us, because we have BS radar for days.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Mugsy Peabody: Hire me to help them get on track. Just one example: Whoopi Goldberg is the only women of color on the masthead, and she hasn't bothered to fill in her profile. Of course, that gets "read" as them saying, at the last minute, "Oh, we'd better get Whoopi, cause we'll drop a big piece of the audience if we're all white." (Well, guess what, ladies?  The whole dern rest of the country is actually serious about pluralism!  [Ms. Tomlin's support of Richard Prior earns her a lifetime street cred on this issue.]) 

And of course, they've already dropped the Asian demo -- and trust me, that's where their lack of inclusion will hurt them, cause my Asian-American friends drop more cash at Tiffany's and on designer bling bling than anyone else I know.  As to today's blunder of talking about how they "confuse" their "hired help" with "friends," oh, well, where do you even start with that? Hire me. I'm worth my weight in gold.

A little about Mugsy Peabody

I'm 61 years old, and live in Oakland, California. I've lived in the Bay Area since I came here with flowers in my hair, 38 years ago, and used to play pass tag on the Golden Gate Bridge with Janis Joplin.  While I may walk a little slow, I still have god's own rock and roll in my soul. I don't disclose much personal information on the net, since what I have to offer here is my written stuff, and you've already got that. My beta blog site, Mugsy Peabody Online, first posting.
Sidebar: Mugsy's writing is absolutely as refreshing, funny and as smart as you would expect!

Iris_odonata Iris Odonata

Greetings Miss Toby:

Where to start, where to start. Saw Mary, Leslie, Liz and Joni interviewed by Diane Sawyer on GMA at very beginning of site launch. Decided to visit and see what was up. Had only posted infrequently on a couple of other sites. Got drawn in by the idea of us vintage vixens having a forum for our voices. I have been awaiting this source of energy finally finding it's spark ...

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis? 

Iris Odonata: You have and you must admit there are some of the most erudite contributors. Smart, funny, irreverent, brilliant, giving, educational and generous. Paying it forward and helping each other evolve. I am not speaking just of the Masthead Mavens.  I am speaking of us just regular folks.  This is Upstairs/Downstairs, Gosford Park stuff. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?   
Iris Odonata: Same reason I read on continuous basis. Plus, if I can get to half of Suzanne de or Mugsy or The Old Crone's brain power.  These women are mentors in a way I could never have dreamed possible.  I always knew I would be late bloomer.  These AMAZING! woman are a gift. 

This is accelerated, cut-the-crap, no nonsense practical and pragmatic information on just about any subject you could possibly want. Suzanne de may just single-handedly jump start activism again. That woman is one force to be reckoned with. Plus, there is "culture" being discussed. Gaudi/Gehry. Feadships? Learned something new on that one. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Iris Odonata:  Learning, teaching, being. Nice to be asked to the table. We've discussed the disappearing bees.  Me thinks they are in our bonnets.  This site is thought provoking and endearing, humbling and hubris busting.  X marks the spot.  X chromosome that is and this site will not only earn gadzillions, it'll let the boys in power know (who might be trying to learn their opponents weaknesses) swarm behavior is unpredictable.  Swarm goes where the queen goes and each of us is a queen.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos?
Iris Odonata: Yes that is a big question.  Do they care? Don't they?  Set the cat among the pigeons, eh?  I think they'll end up with the precise focus group they want as us "first posters" start make off-line contact. We may become more watchdoggish ourselves. 

The Ladies who started this aren't really in control of it. They just own it and it's going to go where it goes.

I e-mailed Mugsy this a.m. and said this site is deliciously layered, just like Baklava. There are many many threads in this web. The convo twixt the foursome yesterday, will be read much differently "those" of their "echelon."  Made me think of the famous Cavafy poem, "Barbarians At The Gate."

I don't want anyone dying to get a peep like me active in convo. This site has taught me that 54 years on the planet now comes with a users fee.  So yeah, make it worth my while.  Either compensate me financially or engage me emotionally. If it ain't got heart, I ain't interested.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Iris Odonata: Get this thing more organized ASAP.  We need a venue just for continual/ongoing conversation, seperate from the content exploration of daily question or brand promo.  I think they get that they are not dealing with dummies, irregardless of our educational/geographical backgrounds. They also need to be upfront as to why they want our input. You yourself are probably receiving scads of useful information here so you can advise your clients as how to best capture their market share.

A little about Iris Odonata's

Iris Odonata's bio....I am writing her memoirs now. I let you know when they are ready for publication. Sidebar: Yes, Iris please let me know when your memoirs are ready for blogging! Love your phrase vintage vixens also!

Suzanne_de_cornelia Suzanne de Cornelia:

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Suzanne de Cornelia: I admire the founders' highly successful media careers, and that now in their 50s-80s they are undertaking an entrepreneurial venture. I wanted to be at the party.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?
Suzanne de Cornelia: As a former designer I find the clean architectural look and white/black/red scheme appealing and snazzy. The content is well organized and runs the gamut of glitzy fun to topical and serious. It forces you to reexamine your beliefs.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Suzanne de Cornelia: Three reasons really. 1) I'm very sporty and techy and just shattered my foot and am confined to bed-rest. So the chatty site is a godsend. 2) I've been an activist and involved in major projects my
entire life, and like to help grow things and to support and also challenge other women. 3) Because my novel "French Heart" will be out the end of the year and I'm also relocating to France I want to develop an online network. The women who've thus far emailed me from the site are Francophiles like me, including a writer who lives in Provence where I'm headed.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos.
Suzanne de Cornelia: Theoretically, I'm partly using the site as a focus group for my book, and building word-of-mouth. In practice I wind up shooting myself in the foot by feeling obligated to respond to factually false responses on things like unregulated derivatives trading and how it propelled the foreclosure crisis,
then wind up pulling freight for free. The founders need to either become more involved in the conversations, or hire a moderator. When Mary Wells said on Charlie Rose that they are spending all their time on this, I thought, "Hello?!" I know nothing compels me to do it besides some feeling of responsibility in me when I see something posted that demands an affirmation, acknowledgement, or correction.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Suzanne de Cornelia: Match the site to a passionate market. The political, celebrity, society gossip, wine blogs, and other specialty sites from cats to Joan of Arc garner that kind of readership. Look at the Top 100 Blogs on Technorati and the Yahoo Groups for clues. Mainly I think it is something that you need a real passion for yourself otherwise you'll burn out.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Suzanne de Cornelia: The most popular class at Harvard today states the recipe for happiness is finding activity that is pleasurable and purposeful. From what I gather, WoW will be making some technical adjustment
to make maneuvering through the site more pleasurable, and will be developing the Change the World section in a manner that will make visitors feel more purposeful. Those two things will really add to the site. However, there's a certain dissonance the founders need to clarify: They write about their lives tooling around glitzy locales, attending First Nights with celebs, sponsors are high-end, and the weekly financial column is a summation of trends that would benefit those with hefty well-portfolios. But when hundreds of readers responded to an economy-related question they clearly wanted pragmatic advice.

There's a dichotomy between the demographic they want to attract, and the one that is showing up and demanding they be more diverse and inclusive.

Sidebar: The Change the World section launched on Thursday. It's my understanding this was one of the first times when the vintage vixens were asked their opinions about how a feature should be developed. The energy and excitement of helping to create the site comes through loud and clear in comments.

A little about Suzanne de Cornelia: I managed $1 billion in major design and construction for Fortune 100 firms and top universities. Then an accident cost me $700K and my 20-year career. I retrained in the UCLA writing
program, wrote my novel, and live in San Francisco where I belong to two Web 2.0 groups.
Sidebar: Suzanne authors a delightful site My French Heart.

Suzanne_conti Suzanne Conti

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Suzanne Conti: The caliber of the women contributing their comments - they were well informed, witty and I felt similar enough in views and characteristics to mine that we could have a real discussion of kindred souls. I enjoyed the amount of differences and new aspects in thoughts presented that stimulated serious consideration on my part on the issues. There was enough common ground to relate to each other, but not so much as to be clones.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?
Suzanne Conti: That this site brought me together and allowed me to meet and have dialog with these fascinating accomplished blogging women who have and continue to make an impact on the world. I am not a “lunch” lady - I have been too busy working at a demanding career. But I do want to join with other women to make a difference.

The whole sexism issue coming back to light with Hillary’s campaign has raised my hopes that the activism of my generation of women would be reignited. Since I started my lawsuit against my employer in 2004 for glass ceiling, unequal pay I have been deeply disappointed (not surprised though)  in women’s lack of willingness to do anything about their oppression – other than whine. I have also witnessed women’s unwillingness to support other women, to unite for progress. I was hoping this Wow site would be a mechanism to unite women willing to finish the women’s liberation we started decades ago.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos.
Suzanne Conti

I am not a celebrity chaser and really could care less if they join in the conversations. I am there to talk with other women of substance who log on. These women have renewed my faith in humanity. I had no idea such thinking witty women were out there since I have spent most of my life in a male world of work as well as at home – brothers, husbands, sons.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Suzanne Conti: It is all about the quality of the conversation, I am too busy to invest time reading and blogging back to small minded people and have no interest in just chatting – I am a doer- that is how I have achieved all that I have in my life I am not an idle chatter. 

My husband is highly accomplished and my sons – one got a full ride scholarship to University of Michigan’s medical school and the other got a major scholarship to an art college on the east coast and was honored at Carnegie Hall for winning art awards, he also won an award that sent him to France for 3 weeks to study art there. I do not want to discuss what I sleep in and how many people I have slept with - Career women concerned about their professional reputation do not discuss such crap.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Suzanne Conti: Reduce to a minimum - the gossip Cosmo type trivial articles or come out and tell the bloggers what your vision and mission statement is so we know if we are in line with your goals. Recently, I am beginning to feel WowOWow is an oxymoron – wanting intelligent, accomplished, women of substance to log in and then they present such trivial, gossip, superficial topics. In all honesty I had my concerns when I saw Liz Smith was one of the founders, but had no idea she was going to be the dominant celebrity contributor – and apparently nobody crosses Liz Smith!

A little about Suzanne Conti: At a time when women were traditionally in administrative positions Suzanne  spent the majority of her career in a management positions in the male dominated auto industry. True to her husband's assessment of her as triple A type personality Suzanne was even the youngest buyer at a major Big 3 company .

Pink_boa In this world of social media we continue to learn together. Toss of a pink boa to Mugsy, Iris, Suzanne and Suzanne!

Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans .. here's the secret .. you may have jump started the convos but you are not the heart of your own community.

My advise .. hire these amazing women to continue doing what they have been doing  .. building community. Let the vintage vixens know that you are listening and involve the community in the creation process. It might be nice if you reached out in the digital world and in the offline world. However, a bit sadly, that's not really necessary.

Girlfriends Just Want To Have Fun .. Social Media Style!


Question: What does Dove soap, Yahoo!, a comedian - Whoopi Goldberg, a TV journalist - Lesley Stahl, and a gossip columnist - Liz Smith have in common?

Answer: They are tapping the hottest demographic trend in social media networking .. YOU. Me. Us. Girlfriend! 

Blogherlogo Recently BlogHer and Compass Partners co-sponsored a primary research study that provides some much needed insights about women who blog and women who read blogs. The findings were presented at BlogHer Business earlier this month. A few interesting stats from the survey. Among the respondents who participated (blah blah blah):

  • 36.2 million women write and read blogs every week
  • Approximately half consider blogs a “highly reliable” or “very reliable” source of information and advice about everything from products to presidential candidates.
  • 24 percent of women surveyed say they now watch less television because they are blogging instead.
  • 55% would give up alcohol
  • 50% would give up their PDAs
  • 42% would give up their i-Pod
  • 43% would give up reading the newspaper or magazines
  • BUT, some things are sacred … only 20% would give up chocolate!

Sidebar: PowerPoint of the study is posted at BlogHer. The link is at the end of the post.

Small wonder that w
ithin the last few weeks several social media networking sites, targeted to women, were launched by Dove, Yahoo! and a group of women celebrities. Take a sip of your skinny latte, I prefer my vanilla, and let's explore what these new sites have to offer US.


Dove_community After it's successful Campaign For Real Beauty Dove (Unilver) became the darling of the marketing/advertising/pr world. The no-make-up-beauty-is-in-the-heart campaign also resonated with  its target audience. Working with Ogilvy North America Dove is partnering with MSN to create

  • Our goal is to become a global leader and a true digital media force by completely redefining the digital experience for women worldwide. We can do this by leveraging the Dove "real beauty" credentials -- our philosophy, compelling content and product offerings. Kathy O'Brien, marketing director Dove North America Money Central

The site is heavily branded including free product samples.  Blogs, columns, discussions seem to blur together. Didn't see much participation or comments but it's early in the game. There is def lots to do on the site including games for tweens and social media profiling, ask the experts columns and product info. Demo target seems run from young girls to moms to women in general. A frustration for me was the content is "locked" ..  can not be copied and pasted. Not very 'social.' 

Big Question: Can Dove leverage the Campaign for Real Beauty concept and goodwill to create a community where women will feel comfortable and want to participate? Can you be all things to all peeps .. from young teens/tweens to 20-something, 30-something, ?-something?

Shine Shine - Yahoo!

My first impression of Shine was .. a slick publication. There are nine categories including fashion, beauty, parenting, health, love and sex, food.  Shine editors are responsible for content development. In addition blogs and articles are pulled from Yahoo!'s other lifestyles publishers (including male writers). Community members can add their comments and digg,, stumble, technorait and buzz up the post.

Shine is targeting the 25-54 audience - .. a highly sought-after demographic for advertisers. From a Yahoo! news article a new buzz word for this demo - Chief Household Officer. Wonder what Susan or Marianne or Jeneane would think of their new title (wink!)?

  • We didn’t want to be a site just for moms or just for single women or working women, or any specific demo- or psychographic. We wanted to create a smart, dynamic place for women to gather, get info and to connect with each other and the world around them. Shine About Us Page

Big Questions: Can Yahoo! turn the "slick shine" down a notch or two? Can you be all things to all peeps .. from  20-somethings to 50-somethings?

Sidebar: Toss of a pink boa to Yahoo!for reaching out to women around the U.S., bloggers and not, asking for feedback about Shine. I was looking forward to attending the session in Atlanta, alas! my hot water heater had other plans for me. I won't go into details except to say walking on squishy carpet is not a fun thing. Back in Skinny Jeans attended in CA and has a great post about her experience.

Wowowow_logo WowOWow - The Women On The Web

Here's the deal - you're smart, you're successful, you're rich, you're 40+ and you "know everybody." You want to make money, be an entrepreneur, get involved with something new on the web. Your journalist friend is complaining she is getting cut from 5-days a week to 3-days. Another chum wants to write more than about politics.

Over lunch an idea is born. Together you'll create a site where you can talk to your friends and invite other accomplished 40+ women to the conversation. It doesn't hurt that you and your girlfriends can each invest $200k or a total of a cool $1 million. You knock on your friend Tiffany's and Sony's doors for a few ads and launch a "ladies who lunch site."

Snippets from Charlie Rose's Interview with the founders: Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans

Charlie Rose - When you say geared to women over 40 what does that mean?
Joni Evans – It means women who have had experience, women who have had education, women
Wowowow_lesley_stahlwho have had careers, women who have lived.

Leslie Stahl – Virtually every woman who is a contributor is a known person. And they are commenting and writing on something you wouldn’t expect that person to write about. Candice Bergen on politics. Leslie Stahl on her new mattress.

I wanted to love WowOWow. Really I did. Accomplished, smart women reaching out to a demo who had been neglected. I wanted to love WowOWow. Really I did. I love Liz Smith's wit, and Candice Bergen's savvy and Mary Wells forged paths in advertising for women and Lesley Stahl is from Swampscott, MA where my college roommate lived. I wanted to love WowOWow really I did. Behind the scenes with the cool celebs who seemed to want to include me in their world. I wanted to love WowOWow really I did. But it falls flat for me.

Maybe they don't really want to talk to us. Trust me when I tell you I have spent significant time wandering around the site. I call it a site because it's way far not a social networking community. It's rather like being invited to join the "in group" in high school and then being ignored. In the Charlie Rose interview (he asked great questions but the women danced around giving straight responses) the founders made a big deal about the "conversation." However, few join in on their own conversations to talk to the peeps.

Sidebar: There are several women who actively comment and encourage conversation on many, many, many of the posts. Suzanne de Cornelia, Mugsy Peabody and Suzanne Conti. WowOWow has hired five employees and call me cynic but I can't help but wonder if these are them.

Maybe they don't really like us. In chat about privacy Julia Reed commented: I read somewhere that like 10 times the amount of people now Google themselves as did five years ago. I mean, you know, just … not people like Candice, who have reasons to be written about. What does that mean?  

My ah ha moment is .. I don't think the founders of WowOWow get what social media or building a social media networking community is about. In the Charlie Rose interview when asked what blogs they read, Drudge and news sites a la the Huffington Post (not a big surprise) were mentioned. Women of the Web do you know there are vibrant communities of women bloggers who are your target audience?

However, barely a few weeks old the site is doing quite nicely thank you kindly. My favorite bit in the Charlie Rose interview was when Joni Evans stopped herself because she wasn't "allowed to talk about" the site stats. Liz tossed off, “Go ahead. You have 100 books on the best seller list you can talk about any damn thing you please.” So she did. Average length on the site about 8.5 minutes - as of April 8th. Not an earth shattering piece of information. If the number of comments = success than out of the virtual box WowOWow is a huge success. Some posts are pulling in 20, 30, 50 comments and some have hundreds.

For me the lesson learned is that women want to express their opinions to women who they admire and might be paying attention even if there is no feedback. What does that mean? Is that part of the culture of the 40+ women .. that an outlet for expression is enough even if there is no conversation or response from the author? Is that what the political blogs have taught us? That it's enough to state your opinion but don't expect a response from the candidate? Or is it just as the SNL character Linda Richmond said, "Talk among yourselves."

Big Questions: Is this is a play toy for the founders or can they sustain the writing into year two and beyond? Will WowOWow turn into a female version of the Huffington Post (no shame in that)? Is it all about the celebrity?

Update: Suzanne de Cornelia and Mugsy Peabody DMed me. Neither they nor Suzanne Conti are part of the paid staff. To be continued ..