HP markets to stereotypes? Ugh.

I realize that as a dad blogger — see GoFatherhood for my dad blog — I get on a lot of mailing lists that are really more aimed at mom or mommy bloggers because, well, most of us Dads don’t blog about parenting, we blog about work, tech or our other passions. Mars, Venus, all that. So I’m no stranger to getting press releases and media queries that begin “Dear Mom” or “As a Mom…”

Still, as a former employee of Hewlett-Packard, I cringed when I received this promotion from the team at Porter Novelli PR for the HP SmartPrint system:

As a busy mom, I’m sure you don’t have time to struggle with difficult or unreliable web printing. You need to print that recipe ASAP for your kid’s last minute school bake sale! Well, you are in luck. 

Recipe? Do “busy moms” only print things related to their children’s activities? Are we in the 50s? Oh, and I’m pretty sure I’m not a busy mom, now that I think about it. 

As such, I wanted to let you know about something you might be interested in. I work with Hewlett-Packard (partners with Microsoft) on the Bing Bar for HP Toolbar. The Bing Bar for HP is a free tool designed to…

Okay, a wordy and confusing explanation of what they’re talking about, but not a bad little utility that can remove all the adverts and superfluous content on the page prior to printing, but what galls me the most is this following paragraph: 

What does this mean – when you print recipes, you get the recipe – not 3 pages of pictures, random site text and ads. Want to print a news story? You get the news story on the full page, not on a skinny third of a page with the rest taken by unneeded clutter. The use cases for the Smart Print function can go on and on.

Notice the glitch in this release too: It’s written for “busy moms” who presumably have nothing better to do than “print a recipe” for the school bake sale, but it still has such insider industry jargon as “use cases”. If you’re a busy mom, would you know what that means? Or just toss it?

Here’s the worst part of this PR query misfire: the same message could have easily been better crafted, not offended the vast majority of women who have a professional side as well as a busy mom side, who have enough smarts to figure things out, and could have avoided opaque jargon.

For example, “You’re not the only one who hates printing, whether it’s a recipe for the school bake sale, notes from a book club meeting or travel documents, just to find over half the printout is ads and other irrelevant content! That’s why we at the HP SmartPrint team created…”

What do you think? Example of a poorly written and targeted PR effort, or am I just too touchy this morning?

One comment on “HP markets to stereotypes? Ugh.

  1. I’m not even a mum and I find that incredibly offensive – though probably less offensive that a poorly written release. I work for the Not for Profit sector – notorious for poor marketing. But for a multinational organisation to send out something so poorly written – it’s just insulting all around. Not touchy at all.

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