makita-girls-2015-WhatIt’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:

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Sara Bendrick – Landscape Designer, Woodworker and DIYNetwork TV Host of I Hate My Yard


Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Kit – Blogger, Builder and Kick Ass DIYer at DIYDiva.net

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
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!

#RealMakitaGirlsMary Hunnicutt another one of many #RealMakitaGirls

Cottage at the Crossroads #RealMakitaGirlsJane 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?

PHGFancySign

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. 

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  1. SANDRA L POWELL
    SANDRA L POWELL says:

    I don’t have any Makita tools. I was looking at purchasing one and went to their site to learn about their company because the brand behind the tool is pretty important to me in addition to the actual tool. That’s when I saw the Makita boobs…I mean girls! No thanks! I’ll stick to the higher “class” tools I currently enjoy using.

    Reply
  2. Denise
    Denise says:

    Totally agree with you! Sex sells, guess Makita thinks only men buy their tools. I have some Makita tools, but would think twice about buying anymore with such an ad! Very poor taste Makita!!

    Reply
  3. Laura VanWaardhuizen
    Laura VanWaardhuizen says:

    Wow! What a travesty the “Makita Girls” are (they don’t even have first name identities). I called Makita at 1-800-4 MAKITA (1-800-462-5482) and asked to speak to someone in their marketing department. I expressed my utter and complete disappointment with such a sexist ad campaign from a company that I admire so much for quality tools. My experience on the phone was a positive one. I did speak to someone in marketing who said that she would pass along my commentary; she seemed to take my comments very seriously. If any one else would like to call, I think it would also make a difference. I think you are wonderful to start a campaign against this; this abhorrent.

    Reply
  4. Kristin
    Kristin says:

    What an absolutely ridiculous campaign. Seriously, someone give those girls some real clothes and safety gear and teach them how to use the tools before the photoshoot instead of stripping them and posing them like DIY Charlie’s Angels. What a way to alienate a huge percentage of your customer base.

    Reply
  5. Tricia M
    Tricia M says:

    You know, even if these girls didn’t know anything about the tools, the least they could have done is put a real shirt on them. The breasts hanging out is about as slimy as it gets.

    ~Tricia
    Small Business Owner, Welder, Pipefitter, Plumber, Painter, and DIYer

    Reply
  6. Emily
    Emily says:

    I just created a #RealMakitaGirls Pinterest board – hopefully some bot will bring our opinions to Makita’s attention!

    Reply
  7. Elisha @ Pneumatic Addict
    Elisha @ Pneumatic Addict says:

    There is so much about this campaign that bothers me. It would take the rest of the morning to write all my feelings. I get it, people like to look at pretty girls. Well, like you’ve demonstrated, beautiful women like power tools too. Bottom line, thank you for writing this! I love the hashtag and I’m going to help it gain steam.

    Reply
  8. Emily
    Emily says:

    This is just ridiculous! I tried to find contact information for Makita to express my displeasure but all I could find was their call center number for technical assistance. Whoever designed and approved this ad campaign must not have gone to a home improvement store in the last 20 years!

    Reply
  9. Lisa E
    Lisa E says:

    I don’t believe we have any Makita tools and sure won’t be in a rush now to by any. I never know who is worse, the company doing the hiring or the women willing to pose!

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Lisa, I don’t want to stop people from buying their tools because I really like their quality. I just want their ad campaigns to stop. I can’t really speak to the models, this is how they make a living. I just think their beauty might be better displayed for a non-tool company brand.

      Reply
      • Lisa E
        Lisa E says:

        I appreciate you aren’t calling for a boycott or anything, but I abhor this type of thing so I guess it’s my preogative. As for the women, there are better ways to earn their money. Jus’ sayin’… 😉

  10. Caron Armstrong
    Caron Armstrong says:

    I am sorry to see them choosing to appeal only to the male demographic. It’s a shame that a company known for quality tools, apparently has tools working in their marketing department. I have no picture to post, but can we please show Makita what REAL women who use their tools look like?
    Seems to me that the real women are truly more attractive than the models. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Linda
    Linda says:

    Lame! Why are companies still using outdated advertising methods? I don’t have any Mikita
    tools and I won’t be buying any in the future unless they change this advertising campaign and apologize for it.

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Oh Linda, I hope you won’t ban Makita from your workshop. Their tools are great and a valuable addition to any workshop. Especially because they are well made and last forever!

      Reply
  12. Vanessa D.
    Vanessa D. says:

    I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find someone to better represent their female demographic – unless they would prefer to not have a female demographic? It’s almost as slimy as making inferior tools in pink and marketing them to women.

    A Compound Miter Saw is #1 on my tool wish list. Right now I only have a circular saw, something I am not comfortable using. Whether it’s just because I’m left-handed or because I don’t use it enough, I will actually back off on projects around the house if I have to use that saw to complete them.

    Thank you for sharing links to Sara, Kit, and Kim.

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Vanessa, I agree. I’d be slightly less offended if they had an equal campaign with an accomplished male carpenter. It’s just the bold faced approach of this campaign that annoys me. BTW, I can highly recommend the 10″ Makita Sliding Compound Miter Saw. LOVE LOVE LOVE mine and I’ve had it for 8 + years.

      Reply
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