‘Predatory’ Reason Marketers Target Women on Mondays

A new study suggests that beauty product pitches should be timed to target women at their "most vulnerable" moments -- specifically, Mondays, when women feel least attractive.

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If you consider Monday to be your “ugly day,” you may not be alone. A new study suggests that beauty product pitches should be timed to target women at their “most vulnerable” moments—i.e. Mondays and mornings.

In a new study from PHD, a global media agency based in London, researchers created a survey “designed to identify when women feel most vulnerable about their appearance throughout the week.” By finding out which days—and specifically which times of day—during the week that women felt the worst, marketers could pinpoint the most opportune moments to play off their insecurities and “determine the best timing for beauty product messages and promotions.”

According to the survey of women ages 18 and up in the U.S., Monday was named the top “ugly day,” with 46% of those polled saying that the start of the work week was the day they felt least attractive. Sunday, the traditional day for hangovers and sweatpants, came in second place, with 39% of women saying it was their worst day, appearance-wise.

Mornings in general were also deemed pretty bad. “When I wake up” was the most popular moment named in a question concerning when women feel least attractive, and the 5 a.m.-to-7 a.m. time slot was named by 58% of women as the period when women say they don’t look their best. In some cases, these perceptions stemmed from feeling depressed, angry, stressed, or lonely, according to the women participating in the survey.

(MORE: Sad but True? Shopping Promoted as a Way to ‘Fill the Void’)

What’s the takeaway here? Well, for marketers, the survey results indicate that they should concentrate messages “during prime vulnerability moments,” according to the PHD press release, most especially on Mondays. Specifically, PHD suggests that Monday should be the day for spreading “content involving tips and tricks, instant beauty rescues, dressing for the success, getting organized for the week and empowering stories.”

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow says that timing your marketing strategies in this fashion is distasteful, if not worse. “It’s one thing to feature umbrellas when it’s raining, but this is predatory—marketers preying on people’s temporary insecurities,” she said via e-mail. These tactics may also be bad for business. “I think with trust in businesses at an all-time low, this isn’t the best strategy from a marketing perspective either. Long-term trust (which is increasingly essential) is truly meeting consumer needs, not hoping to catch them at their weakest moments.”

In light of the findings about many consumers regularly having a “case of the Mondays,” perhaps it should come as no surprise that Monday is traditionally the peak day of the week for online shopping. Why do more online purchases take place on Monday? Part of the reason is that people may have been shopping at brick-and-mortar stores over the weekend, and after thinking it over—and perhaps finding an item they liked for a cheaper price on the Web—they’re ready to buy on Monday. People tend to be grumpy and not especially in the mood to work on Mondays, and online shopping can be seen an easy, fun distraction, and even a personal reward in advance of the grinding work week ahead.

Some other psychological forces may be at work as well. Shoppers may make more e-retail purchases on Monday because they’re eager to buy something that will boost their attractiveness—and because Monday is a top day for consumers to be inundated with marketing messages.

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