A new phrase has entered the building – dot.mum. It was blurted out (as these things normally are) in a creative brainstorm the other day, ‘I like it, it’s a great idea, but will it go dot .mum?’.
At the time, it came out as shorthand for ‘the mainstream’. The incomplete thesis behind the mumbling was once you’ve gone dot.com you then need to go dot.mum, which means you’ve pretty much got yourself into every household (pretty much – an incomplete thesis as I said).
As the presumed ruler of the household purse, Mums have long been the targets of some pretty one-dimensional strategies (we’ve all seen it before in this industry; food = fear, toilets = pride, etc) and, of course, the terrible advertising that accompanies it. There is a lot more to dot.mum than meets the eye though (now that I’ve actually bothered to explore my mind fart) the truth of the matter is that actually dot.mums are changing the nature of what the mainstream is.
The Entertainment Association of Australia quietly released a study last month which predicts mums are set to overtake teenage boys as the new gamers (ask anyone at Facebook and they’ll tell you they’ve already seen it happen). Their study shows that 46 per cent of the Australia’s gamers are now female, with the average age 30 years.
While we’re fighting some female marketing stereotypes, I’d like to include a side point of clarification here: In the same way that mums aren’t fear-driven, pride-seeking, FMCG buying machines, when women play games they do not necessarily want teddy bears and shopping apps.
A study undertaken in 2006 by the Australian Catholic Univeristy no less (their misspelling not mine… Given this, perhaps we should view all results as indicative at this stage) found that female gamers find mental stimulation, creativity, interesting story lines and superior graphics more important than anything else (more important than dolphins and flowers for example).
Once you’ve put your copy of Ad News down go and check your analytics for some genuine insight. When we launched our paper plane game (check it out – it’s fun) we found out that the majority of the users where female (55%) and since then we’ve taken specific learnings into a number of campaigns. One implication is the fracturing of engagement (mum’s are very busy people) so we need to make any content bite sized, flexible and something they really want to return to.
Make no mistake the dot.mum phenomena has its downside. Is something still cool if it has gone dot.mum? Just ask Dido. And then there is the question of where dot.mum finishes? Once the chick chick boom girl appeared on sunrise her cache evaporated. So where does Sunrise fit and should we include Sunrise in our media plans for dot.mums? That really is the stuff of sleepless nights.
So guess what, games are increasingly a mass marketing channel and women aren’t idiots. No, there is much more to it than that. Going dot.mum is important, it is the future of the mainstream, a future mainstream we must connect with and, in order to do so, ultimately understand. If we can’t get that far let’s at least make sure we don’t fall back on some of those bad marketing assumptions.
Now you’ve read this rubbish, go and check out some serious gamer girls here – girlgamers.com.au, thumbbandits.com or womengamers.com (the latter of which is now 11 years old btw).
Ben Hourahine is Strategy Director at Amnesia Razorfish – @benhourahine
Published in Adnews – ‘Dot.mum is the new mainstream’ – 19.11.10
This is the original version before the re-edit, my name is also spelled correctly here too 😉