May 19th, 2009

A Dell Gaffe

Dell decided to target women with a section within their website dedicated to their computer needs: Della.  When the site originally launched, according to this NY Times blog entry, it “featured tech ‘tips’ that recommended calorie counting, finding recipes and watching cooking videos as ways for women to get the most from a laptop.”  Wow, did they look up female stereotypes and plug in everything that fell into that category?  I am surprised that a brand as large (and as experienced with customer service issues) as Dell can make a gaffe like this when targeting women.  To think that women only need a computer for diet tips and recipes is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  Women revolted:

“But the approach may have done more harm than good: A backlash erupted online, as both women and men described the Web site as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘gimmicky’ and, as one disgruntled Facebook member wrote on Dell’s Facebook page, ‘Lamest move ever!’

The resounding blowback prompted the company to amend the Web site, along with a note that stated, ‘Some of you have read this article over the last several days & will notice a few modifications. You spoke, we listened. Thank you for your ongoing feedback.'”

I didn’t see the site when it originally launched, but I think that it does a nice job of selling the product features and benefits now, without being too girly.  By far, the smartest thing included on the site is a section on giving.  With the purchase of Promise Pink netbook or PC, Dell gives a portion of the proceeds to the Komen Foundation.  And, there is information on how to recycle old/unwanted technology.   I can’t put my fingers on the statistic right now, but I have seen statistics that brands willing to give money/goods for products purchased are more likely to get a woman’s money.

Dell saved themselves by listening to consumer feedback and immediately making changes to the site.  They deserve kudos for that.  But really, they shouldn’t have made such a mistake with the site launch.

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