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Dell’s Della Debacle an Example of Wrong Way to Target Women

Hearing that Dell had launched a female-targeted microsite called Della last week triggered my “Is it a gag?” reflex — the suspicious reaction to a bit of marketing too extreme to be real. Yet upon arrival at the site, there they were: all the ridiculous “women’s advertising” clich├ęs you could imagine in your wildest feminine-products-commercial fantasies. But it wasn’t a gag — not intentionally, anyway.

della Dell created this site to specifically target potential female buyers of netbooks — to communicate that these computers are especially suitable to womanly needs and, one supposes, to spare women from having to confront the full-strength Dell site. Della is all soft, unthreatening palettes and images of sisters sharing, natch. The home page originally depicted three women with laptops sitting, explicably, close enough together that their shoulders overlapped. Those shoulders, it should be said, were swathed in fabric that matched … their laptops! (That photo has since been swapped out for equally hilarious imagery.) The site goes on to offer humorously nontechnical “Tech Tips.” Originally those included, yes, tips for how computers can help ladies count calories (and search recipes online!). Again, the site masters have since removed those more ridiculous entries. I suspect that by the time this column appears, Dell may have disappeared the whole site (one Twitter comment tidily sums up popular — male and female — sentiment online: “Della, new website 4 women who r 2 stupid 2 go 2 dell.com”).

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