Today in New York, NBC Universal is trotting out it's all-star (emphasis on the "star") panel of women for the first time, to help pitch its Oxygen and Bravo cable channels, as well as other NBCU properties, to potential advertisers.
The estrogen-rich panel includes NBC personalities Meredith Vieira of "Today" and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, as well as marketers like Lisa Caputo, Citigroup's exec VP-global marketing and corporate affairs; and agency executives such as Starcom Entertainment's Laura Carracioli-Davis. As you can read in this AdAge article, NBCU is using its powerful panel to not only show how in-touch they are with "real" women, but also to promote its cross-platform approach to ad sales.
I first mentioned this panel in a post back in January called "Celebrity Women vs Real Moms: Who Do You Believe?" I reported that the panel, which was created by a woman, "will be offering marketing and general business advice to NBC Universal and its clients on how to reach women." Coincidentally that same week on AdAge.com, the founders of marketing research agency (and my blog host) MomWise advised that frank, informative and realistic discussions with focus groups and panels of AVERAGE women can help crack the powerful spending power of moms,and reveal "how businesses can tailor their products and marketing campaigns to address this valuable demographic's needs during this hideous recession."
The key words here are "average" and "real," adjectives that don't come to mind when talking about the host of the number one morning show on TV, and the woman known in financial circles as CNBC's "Money Honey." It's not a stretch to assume these women, who are very talented and good at what they do, have not been losing sleep over paying the mortgage, worrying about how they're going to take the kids to simultaneous events on opposite sides of town, or declare it "Cereal Night" because they didn't have the supplies, time or energy to get dinner on the table.
My husband has a name for this kind of celebrity parenting: "Hide The Nanny."
And Meredith, of all women and mothers, should know better. Just yesterday, she interviewed the author and creator of True Mom Confessions -- in which real women disclose their deepest thoughts and feelings about the joys and pitfalls of parenting on tape, in a new book and on this website - often anonymously.
Their revelations veer from sad to hilarious, pathetic to pithy. And we've all been there. Meredith's probably even been there - although she's got a highly lucrative escape valve as well as a highly-paid support system that most of us can only dream of.
I'd venture to even guess that Meredith, who is on this panel at the behest of her bosses, knows that a 48-year old mother of three from Oregon, Minnesota or New Jersey should be the person sitting in her chair in New York today -- giving ad and marketing executives an honest version of "what women really want."
But that would make too much sense. It is TV afterall.