It’s 2018, and I’m still wondering Where are the Real Makita Girls?
It’s 2018, and I’m Still Wondering Where are the Real Makita Girls?
Back when I first published this post, I never thought I’d be resurrecting it from the archives. Then Simone Giertz shared this tweet and my anger and frustration at Makita boiled over again. The video Simone was referencing has been taken down by Makita, but here’s another upload of the Makita Girls behind the scenes video:
It’s been three years Makita, why are you still using the same tired marketing campaign? Your transparent attempts at finding spokeswomen who actually use power tools is laughable. My 14 year old son even pointed out that Miss Makita can’t actually build shelves with a sander. Sure, she can finish them with a sander, but any avid power tool user would not choose a sander as their favorite power tool (give me a recip saw or a sliding compound miter saw any day over a sander!)
In the three years that have passed since I was angered by Makita’s Miss and Senorita Makita campaign, I added four expensive power tools to my toolbox. And you know what? I consciously steered clear of the Makita brand because I don’t want to support a brand that objectifies women and doesn’t recognize that there are many of us that use power tools for more than “building shelves.”
Get it together Makita! It’s 2018, time to retire the women in bikinis and find a woman who gets her nails at the hardware store (not the salon.) There are so many women who can guide potential buyers to purchase tools based on their expert opinions. Let’s see this campaign retired or start searching for all the women makers, contractors and builders out there. Am I right?
This is my open letter to Makita in 2015:
Oh Makita, why did you have to go and do this?!
Makita announced its 2015 Makita Girls and where you can go to meet them. Initially, I reserved my opinion until I learned more about these new spokesmodels. But, after reading their bios, I was angered. Not a single mention of enjoying woodworking, building or carpentry. Where is the DIY love? What will they talk about at these appearances? I’m disappointed that Makita would choose their spokesmodels for looks and not skills. And, I question their decision to maintain an advertising program that perpetuates the stereotype that only men use their tools.
Don’t they realize that they are alienating a huge growing market of DIY women? Would I have been offended if they selected an attractive woman who had Mad-DIY skills? Definitely not.
If they wanted beautiful women using tools, there is no shortage of kick ass female builders out there. This ever changing world of Do It Yourselfers is filled to the brim with amazing “Real Makita Girls.” Some of these women have the right to hold their Makita tools proudly. They can tell you the difference between a bevel and a miter; a cross cut vs. a rip cut and they know that brushless is a good thing and has nothing to do with long flowing locks of hair! These women choose quality tools that are strong enough to stand up to the current and future projects they are completing.
Am I angry? Yes! Am I going to stop using Makita tools? No, because frankly they make great tools. My Makita 10″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw is my baby:
It’s the first tool I’d truly cry over if it was stolen. This saw has been with me through 100’s of projects, a kitchen remodel and countless fixes. I have never had to adjust the laser or to square up the tool. It is a quality power saw made with aluminum and metal parts, not cheap plastic. But, despite my undying love for my Makita tools, their advertising tactics make me embarrassed to confess my love.
Do you want to help me change the search results right here and now? Let’s show Makita what a Real Makita Girl is. Please visit these accomplished builders and DIYers. Pin their images and title it “Real Makita Girl” or use the hashtag #RealMakitaGirls.
Sara Bendrick – Landscape Designer, Woodworker and DIYNetwork TV Host of I Hate My Yard
Kit – Blogger, Builder and Kick Ass DIYer at DIYDiva.net
Kim – Blogger, Builder and Creative Genius at TheKimSixFix.com
Hey, do you use Makita tools, too? If so, show me your…tools! (Email me pictures of yourself using your Makita tools, to PrettyHandyGirl (at) gmail.com. I’ll add your photo to this post.) Let’s take over the search term “Makita Girls” and show them what a Real Makita Girl is!
Mary Hunnicutt another one of many #RealMakitaGirls
Jane from Cottage at the Crossroads
In the meantime, I have to ask:
Makita, when you make awesome tools, why do you have to stoop to such slimy advertising tactics? The 1980’s called, and they want their tight spandex and scantily clad women back. Please remove the blinders and take notice of your growing customer base. Women are shopping in the tool department. They are your consumers. They are smart and savvy. They want to purchase tools that will last. They want to hear about what makes a Makita tool great and why they should spend a little more to purchase a tool that won’t fall apart in a year or two.
A few weeks after this post was published in 2015: I spoke to Wayne Hart, the communications manager at Makita tools after this post initially published. We had a pleasant conversation and he seemed to understand my concerns about the Miss Makita and Senorita Makita models. I offered to let Mr. Hart make a statement to my readers but never heard back from him. In the meantime, the program has continued in 2016 and 2017, but I noticed that at least two of the models have used some of the tools outside the program. At least that’s some progress, right!? What do you think about tool companies continuing to use models as spokeswomen?
Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this post are my own. Sara, Kit, and Kim are DIY women I admire. They gave me permission to use their photos, but that doesn’t mean that they endorse what I have written in this post.
What a bunch of crap. I guess this is why I’ve always been a #RealDewaltGirl.
Michelle, I agree with you and like DeWalt and Makita ;-).
Girl I could not agree more!!! Clearly the people doing the marketing for their company is only using the brain in their pants. A smart marketer would capitalize on a broader audience and utilize women who actually know how to use power tools! I’m so happy you posted this!!! Hopefully you can help be the change!
Katie, exactly! Well put. Thanks for your comment.
This campaign speaks volumes about how Makita views women. My sister introduced me to Ryobi. My interest in Makita is over.
Chris, I hope you don’t discount Makita completely. They do have good tools, they’re just lacking some bright bulbs in the advertising dept.
Don’t BAN them from my workshop? Why not? Obviously the only thing this corporation listens to it the siren call of their crotches and their bank accounts using these outdated and sleezy approaches….and it’s not only demeaning to women but to MEN too, supposing when it comes time to make a new purchase they will let what’s below their belts make the decision rather than their heads to buy their power tools.
They have proven to me they have no idea of how to market their products….let’s hope this culture doesn’t carry over into their corporate world with their female employees (IF the have them)……so I will be looking elsewhere for any of my next purchases.
You are right, Brittany in saying huge amounts of women are now the ones into DIY….single women, in fact, now account for more property purchases than any other demographic as well.
Nestle is FAR bigger than Makita……maybe they should look back in history and see how when THEIR practices in Africa was killing babies (all in the name of profit) they were boycotted royally and lost millions due to their greed.
I’m not banning Makita……but I AM boycotting them. Starting right now. Hit them in the wallets, obviously that’s what they are most concerned about.
Frankly, I don’t think that they’d feel the pinch if women stopped buying Makita. Personally, I don’t want to see them fail. They make great tools. Their saws alone use better materials and will last much longer than some other brands who have switched to plastic parts. I just hope that this post puts a bug in their ear and let’s them know that the time to change their marketing and advertising strategy is now.
I am with you on boy coting them, I will never buy from a company that uses sex to sale, it is so downgrading and immature I mean what is there advertising department going through puberty? after all I thought it was the adults that made the money to buy the tools..
You and the other Makita gals are amazing. I don’t get the use of models when there are so many creative. powerful and beautiful REAL Makita users! Awesome post.
Thanks Malia. I agree.
WOW you go girl!!!! Plenty of real talented and beautiful women, not just eye candy for men! Women can rock it too, and they don’t have to dress half naked to show there”talent”. Bravo to you Brittany for sharing this! #RealMakitaGirls
Thanks Anne, I appreciate your comment.
Your post and opinions are spot ON Brittany! And what’s more? I love love love love LOVE the picture of you with your Makita baby! Now THAT would get me to purchase Makita products. And so would the other pictures of the awesome DIY’ers you featured! I’m sharing this all over the place!
Thanks so much Laura! I appreciate you spreading the word.
you go girl !!! I my day we didn’t have sports, cars, or a bank account. The men did. But times have changed A LOT. We need to let Makita know that they MISSED the MARK with this advertisement. Lose of a large amount of demographics. Good product bad advertising, So SAD
Exactly Mary. We’ve come a long way, but still a ways to go. Thanks for your comment.
You know, there are a lot of men who would be put off by this form of advertising as well. I honestly can’t see my man taking this seriously for a minute. Then again, I can’t see my man with a power tool, either. 🙂
Diane, I agree with you. Maybe we can convince him to pick up a power tool ;-D.
ARGH! This makes me so angry! I’ve always wanted Makita tools, but now I think instead I’ll save up for DeWalt.
I think we should let Makita know in every way we can. Go to their Facebook page and comment. Post on social media. Write and call them: Makita US corporate HQ: Makita U.S.A. Inc.; 14930 Northam Street, La Mirada, CA 90638-5753, (714) 522-8088
(I’ll keep searching for email addresses and other contact info.)
I think we should also email any male woodworker that uses Makita (especially any well known professionals and anyone highly visible — e.g. on TV). Encourage them to contact Makita and tell Makita to ‘level up’ or that Makita’s tools are top-notch, but their marketing department sure isn’t.
#RealMakitaWoman = Pretty Handy Girl!
I’m so glad you wrote about this!
Ashley, I appreciate your sentiment. But, I don’t think we need to bash any male or female woodworkers that use Makita tools. The tools are good, the advertising campaign is what stinks. 😉
Oh gosh — I didn’t mean to say that we should denigrate anyone that uses them. I just meant that we should see if they’d be willing to join in voicing their opinion about this!
Sorry I read your comment wrong Ashley. Thanks for your support ;-). FYI, there have been several men who have backed me up on this. They’ve been commenting on Twitter and Facebook.
How utterly ridiculous! I also own a makita mitre saw and it’s fantastic. The quality of their tools mean that they don’t need to slump to these low depths in order to attract customers.
I’d echo what someone else said about Ryobi – I called their customer services over a query and they were incredibly helpful (and talked to me as an equal, not some dumb woman). If this is Makita’s ethos then I think I’ll switch to Ryobi for most things then.
Kaira, thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear about your positive customer experience with Ryobi. I haven’t had the same luck when talking to some of their salesmen at a conference. My complaints about one of the tools I own were dismissed by asking if I had charged the battery ;-(.
They really stooped low on this ad campaign! Makes you wonder what ad agency pulled this one off. What a stupid shameful move. I’m no prude but in this day & age Makita should be ashamed of themselves. Makita makes good tools but in this case they can’t fix stupid! I will do what I can on my part here. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention Brittany.
Colleen, they’ve been using the Miss Makita and Senorita Makita Girls for years. So, it could be different agencies or the same, but what I do know is that it needs to change.
Years ago i purchased a drill driver combo. The company put me on their mailing list for product updates. They also sent me a lovely calendar filled with scantily clad women. It was a Christmas gift! Clearly, they knew i was a woman. Karen just isn’t a man’s name, but they sent it anyway. When i inquired by phone as to when my cute boy calendar was coming, they had no idea what i was talking about. After explaining it to the poor guy who answered my call, he told me he was sorry but the company would probably never do that. Pretty amazing. I do still buy their tools because Rigid, Dewalt and Craftsman send calendars too. Funny, they all come in my name. So either they don’t believe women use their products or that all women who use power tools are lesbians. I will keep requesting my cute boy calendars. I’ll let you know when I get one.
Karen, oh my goodness. You go girl! I love that you called them out on it. 😉
Excuse me, but your comment is priceless! Way to go! 😀 I am disappointed that the other brand names send calendars as well. I take it those have scantly clad women too?
You know, my mom was a journeyman cabinet maker and the shop she worked had those calendars of women at almost every man’s work area. There were even some Playboy pictures! Anyway, my mom brought in some photos of scantly clad men, as well as some pictures from Playgirl, and those men did NOT like it one bit. She basically told them that she will take down her pictures, if they take down theirs. Ha!
Sorry, I had to share this. 😉
Julie, I love it! Something tells me I’d love your Mom.
I’ve been a “Makita Girl” for 25 years, 8 condo remodels and 3 home remodels. My two Makita cordless drills and quarter sheet sander are still going strong. I”m currently in the market for a new compound miter saw and I thought that my decision was made….until I saw campaign. I’ve always joked that Mr. Refined married me because I had better power tools than he did…and honestly, because I use them more often. I’m really disappointed in this campaign and the message that it sends. I hope that Makita wises up. I’d hate to have to change brands but as much as I LOVE my Makita tools, I won’t support any company that fosters a backward-thinking, demeaning, sexist attitude toward women.
Kimberly, don’t discount the tools. You know that they make quality tools. I can highly recommend the 10″ Makita Compound Miter saw I have. I know you’d be happy with it. In fact, I think you need to send me a picture of yourself using a Makita tool so we can change the perception of what a #RealMakitaGirl looks like!
Really! I”m so tired of companies using these tactics to promote their products. Let ‘um have it Brittney!
Thanks Kathy. Hopefully someone will contact me and we can discuss a better way to promote their tools.