The New Sexism for Marketers to Avoid — Omission
Well, at least the women weren't topless or covered in fake blood. They just weren't there. Unlike the promotional mailing of GQ sporting a topless model, which Lands' End sent to its best customers, or the "bloody" pink Kent State sweatshirt Urban Outfitters listed in its site's women's section, Dick's Sporting Goods almost completely left females out of its "Basketball 2014" catalog, according to McKenna Peterson.
Peterson, a 12-year-old Phoenix girl, schooled Edward W. Stack, chairman and CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods, on women's basketball, gender politics and customer loyalty in the letter she sent to the company about the catalog. Peterson's father, Chris, tweeted a picture of his daughter's letter on Oct. 9 from @TheCheapSeatsTV.
"There are NO girls in the catalog," she exclaims. "Oh, wait, sorry. There IS a girl in the catalog on Page 6. SITTING in the STANDS. Women are only mentioned once in the catalog, on Page 5 for some shoes. And there are cheerleaders on some coupons. It's hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog."
The much longer letter ends with "Sincerely, McKenna Peterson, The Fabulous Basketball Player."
Her letter went instantly viral, with Peterson posing for a "thumbs-up" about her father receiving more than 1,000 retweets on Oct. 9.
On Oct. 10, the team Peterson mentions in the letter to Dick's—@PhoenixMercury—tweets her father, ".@TheCheapSeatsTV Oh, by the way, we've got some gear we would like you to have …"
On Oct. 11, @DICKS tweeted Stack's apology letter to Peterson. It reads, in part, "I'm sorry, We clearly messed up and I can personally guarantee that next year's basketball catalog will prominently feature female athletes, as it should have this year."
Stack asked to meet with Peterson and her parents when he visits Arizona stores "in the next few weeks."
Was this ultimately a marketing win for Dick's? Because it sure was for McKenna Peterson.
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