For as long as Jif peddled peanut butter, it seems, it rode a sexist, old-fashioned motto along the way. In fact, it was from 1966 to 2016 whereby “Choosy Moms Choose Jif” wasn’t just a saying, it was a deliberate message alienating half of its customers. It also cemented the widespread meaning that it was mom’s job to shop, prepare meals, pack lunches and essentially, maintain the house.
It took exactly 50 years until Jif decided enough was enough. It shelved the backwards slogan after realizing that dads were offended. But did it also make the change because it affected profit?
We’ve heard from numerous parents who refused to purchase a product for the way it treats customers. Some refuse to buy the product and remain silent in their act. Others take to the Internet or use word of mouth to rally for change.
Take, for instance, Ragú, where scores of parents regularly criticize the long-time sauce maker on social media for its retrograde headline.
Even earlier, an at-home father successfully petitioned Huggies to drop its demeaning ad campaign in 2012 which portrayed men as incapable of changing diapers. His change.org petition riled over 1,000 people to vent and sign his request.
Boycotts have historically played an important role in social change and have often proved successful.
Have you ever boycotted a product or company over its treatment of you as a customer? We’d love to hear from you.
The tagline for Playtex Baby is three simple words: We Know Babies.
But does it know parents? As in, all parents. Visit its website and you’ll find a special section titled, Mommy & Baby, where there are a handful of useful, yet one-sided stories such as:
• Mom-to-Be’s Guide to PlaytexBaby.com • Playtex Innovations • The Love Connection: 5 Ways to Bond with Baby • Be Ready for Baby’s Arrival with Eight Must-Have Registry Items
The first story makes you believe its content might be focused on breastfeeding or pregnancy. Alas, it’s a sales pitch for its primary products – bottles, Diaper Genies, pacifiers and sippies. Of course, none of these are specifically mom-centric items. Playtex Baby proves as much by using a photo of a dad with this Mommy section’s “love connection” story.
Enjoy that photo of the dad – it’s the only one you’ll find on its entire website. It’s a classic case of misrepresenting families and biting the hand of the person whose salary likely helps to pay for every Playtex item purchased.
Playtex Baby serves as another example of a company who ignores half of its customers. Doing so demeans and ignores the irreplaceable need for dads.
Do better, Playtex. There are a lot of options for baby products, and customers are watching.
There are plenty of parents who denounce shopping with kids – the begging, the meltdowns, spilled food, bickering, maybe even lost children – but the truth is that kids want their parents’ time.
Dads seek the same thing moms do during their shopping experience, and that’s building a closer connection with their kids.
So, fear not fellow shoppers – with a little bit of preparation, organization and well-established, realistic expectations, a visit to the store can strengthen bonds between parents and children. As for the products you buy, it can even increase product and brand loyalty.
Behavioral issues result in stores mostly because children are bored. Kids end up not being invested in the task at hand the way adults are: completing the to-buy list, watching the budget and reading nutrition labels.
No matter how young they may be, children can have an active role in shopping, even if it means playing a shopping game, helping to find items on the shelf, or simply weighing the items on the produce scales. It’s those actions that can make children feel a valid part of contributing to a family through problem solving. It teaches them to be patient during those times in life while forced to wait or do things they’d rather not. It delays instant gratification and builds self-control when things don’t always go one’s way – all essential life skills, particularly ones used later as parents.
Simply put, shopping as a family with the children can make a simple chore an event. And if you’re still not convinced that taking children to the store is your idea of fun, consider this: you certainly don’t remember all of the meals your parents cooked for you as children, but you do know that the food provided you with nourishment, contentment, energy and nutrition. It helped you grow, and you treasure the memories of sharing mealtime together.
The same can be said for shopping with children. Yes, it’s a menial task that could bring out the worst in you, but examined with a different perspective, that same task can become one of many fond experiences for your kids. Besides, if you are inflicted with that added guilty feeling that you might not be spending enough quality time with your kids, shopping creates another opportunity to strengthen and enhance the parent-child relationship.
These shopping experiences strengthen bonds with parents and siblings, but believe it or not, it also builds product and brand loyalty with kids. For those of us who grew up using a certain product or brand there’s great comfort in using the same products of our youth. It affords a dependable, trustworthy feeling to enjoy the same products once used as children. But imagine the stronger allegiance to a brand that one purposely chooses at a very young age – and then continues using it for life.
There’s a lot to like about that unique scenario if you’re a marketer. It makes reaching those young children-turned-adults much easier, and they’re far more bankable as lifelong customers. After all, numerous studies have shown that children wield heavy influence on their parents’ purchasing activity, and dads, in particular, have a propensity to purchase treats for rewards, to indulge loved ones, or yes, even to avoid in-store meltdowns. Marketers who can accurately target and influence dads as well as the children who accompany them will have much better odds at keeping them as customers for a lifetime.
So the next time you head out to the store, bring the kids along, and someday they’ll pass on those fun memories to their children.
You might be hard-pressed to find a food item so picked apart, scrutinized, debated and polarizing as spaghetti sauce. There it sits unassumingly in your pantry with other staples. yet a mountain of adaptations make it all the more worthy of discussion.
Homemade vs. store bought. Garlicky vs. sweet. Chunky vs. smooth. Meat vs. meatless. And the rabbit holes go deeper when you consider the various pastas with which it can be served.
It’s enough to make someone … use a sexist tagline?
That’s what happened when long-time pasta sauce Ragú ushered in an old-fashioned motto destined for contempt. It’s even more bewildering when you consider the actions of other well-established brands, Jif and Kix, which in overdue fashion, dropped their embarrassingly outdated sayings following decades of pleas.
Ragú introduced its “Cook Like a Mother” campaign nearly one year ago and still gets consistently roasted each time it posts on social media. With once strong taglines like a “full serving of veggies” and “Simmered in Tradition,” it’s no wonder Ragú has sauce on the face this time around.
If you’re a dad, you’re offended that Ragú can’t respect or acknowledge your gender. If you’re a mom, you’re insulted how Ragú insinuates it’s your job to cook. And no matter who you are, you’re probably upset at its tasteless play-on-profanity.
Ragú, as you might expect, doesn’t see it this way.
“The attention-getting ‘Cook Like a Mother’ tagline takes aim at everyone, regardless of gender or culinary skillset,” its press release argues, “reminding them that, with a delicious jar of RAGÚ sauce in hand, anyone and everyone can ‘Cook like a Mother.’”
Ragú’s marketing agency, Digitas, doubles down on the tagline.
“Cooking ‘Like A Mother’ means creating an amazing meal even if you are not a mother or a skilled cook,” said Tim Mattimore, Digitas.
It’s a good thing Ragú is here to remind everyone that they can cook a meal even if they’re not a mother. Perhaps an auto parts store will run a comparable slogan insisting that anyone can fix a car even if they’re not a father. Or play sports. Or hunt. Or provide for the family.
Now all we need is someone to remind us that there are other sauces on the store shelf.
These memorable books all have one thing in common: dads don’t exist.
And in other stories where dad was moderately present, it always seemed as if the mom was the caring, nurturing one who raised the children, while dad was relegated to the background at best, or merely comic relief who needed corrected by the mother’s sensibility (think Berenstain Bears).
However, dad-centric stories do exist. Here’s a list of some of the best.
By Andrew Clements, illustrated by R.W. Alley. A daddy-daughter day at the beach offers plenty of opportunities for the parent to frustratingly lose his cool, but he doesn’t. This dad shows love and patience every step of the way.
By Rosanne Parry, illustrated by David Leonard. Do you remember a time when the house didn’t seem complete until dad got home from work? This book celebrates the ritual a family has every time dad arrives home.
By Garrison Keillor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The juggernaut book duo of Keillor and Preiss Glasser is destined to induce some tears, especially if you relish an affectionate daddy-daughter relationship.
By Mercer Mayer. This “Little Critter” view of a father-son camping trip is filled with trademark colorful illustrations that offer plenty to look at. Whether or not you’re big on the great outdoors, you’ll appreciate the warm feeling of just hanging with dad
A basic definition of social is to be in pleasant companionship with friends or associates. Used as a verb, to socialize is to associate or mingle sociably with others.
Social media, therefore, is a form of electronic or digital communication through which users can remain, well, social. It’s a way to stay in touch, to interact, to associate with others.
Which is why it comes as a surprise how Carnation Breakfast Essentials isn’t using social media for what it’s intended. It isn’t being social with everyone, especially its customers — which include both parents. Its recent string of posts have excluded dads multiple times.
Millions of people use numerous social media platforms every day. Companies who use social networking services like Twitter and Instagram know the value in reaching customers – it increases a brand’s awareness. So, they do whatever they can to engage and socialize via content that’s appealing.
But if you’re purposely favoring one parent over the other – or, outright ignoring them – are you really being social?
Imagine you’re at a party with a partner. You’ve encountered friends, met new people, but they’ve only talked to your partner, not you. No one’s bothered to look at or acknowledge you. It’s like you aren’t even there. That’s how dads often get treated as parents.
Being social involves starting up a conversation and being a good listener. Carnation should make it a priority to treat all parents with the same dignity.
In basic form, the cherished holidays of Mother’s and Father’s Day are quite similar. Each intends to honor mom and dad through a celebration of the parental bond, offer tribute to relevant roles in the family and give thanks for the gift of life.
In advertising, however, things play out different. Companies tend to market each holiday with much disparity. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
For Mother’s Day, buybuy Baby highlighted a unique promotion titled, “Mompreneurs,” which showcased several mom-owned brands. For its Father’s Day messaging, there was no mention of Dadpreneurs, let alone dads – only a sale related to baby showers.
NUK offered a wonderful message for Mother’s Day. For Father’s Day, its advertising cupboard was bare.
Similarly, Huggies offered a cute note to moms yet nothing for dads. This was consistent with its social media messaging, which left some parents scratching their heads in June.
Little Debbie had similar holiday ads, but you’ll note subtle differences. One encouraged customers to celebrate moms through its display of a nurturing image. The other assured that dads love to eat sweets, and did not share any comparable photos.
Owlet took an approach often used on Mother’s Day. Namely, moms need rest. However, that same tactic wasn’t applied on Father’s Day. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find that notion used by anyone on Father’s Day. This is a conundrum, of course – what dad doesn’t need sleep, too?
Healthy Family Project offered some fantastic brunch recipes and ideas for Mother’s Day. But for dads, not one speck of food was left in the email, not even a crumb too small for a mouse.
Munchkin ads are a curious lot. It’s easy to infer they were written by females when you analyze the wording. The dad ad spoke directly to moms: “Get the new father figure a gift he’ll love.” But on Mother’s Day it doesn’t work the other way around. Instead, it also speaks to moms: “Mama, you deserve the best.” Copy writers might consider the voice when crafting ads. After all, what would motivate a father to purchase a product when they’re not being spoken to in the first place?
Papa Johns used that voice more effectively. Both ads spoke to either gender, or kids, or both. You also didn’t see pink, blue or any gender specific color. Its noble approach didn’t ignore, judge, or label. Of course, Papa Johns could have played up its gender specific name but didn’t need to. Well done, Papa.
Premama made a thoughtful attempt to console during what are difficult holidays for some. But both ads, like Munchkin, were directed at females. Imagine how much more connected fathers might have felt to a company that excludes in name but offers more to men than meets the eye.
Canvas Champ offered fun, eye-catching images which both portrayed nurturing. However, it forgot three important words: Happy Father’s Day.
Advertising Equality Matters
Changing the way we view, treat, and market to dads is necessary because there is a lot at stake. Dads represent half the parenting population. That equates to a significant loss of revenue, and profit, for companies and businesses not catering to the dad demographic. Also at risk is the image of dads as parents for this and future generation of boys and girls who will eventually become parents and potential consumers themselves.
A critical look at how the media shapes our opinions through these holidays should encourage us to change the way we think about, view and treat dads.
Huggies had an interesting series of tweets for Father’s Day. Let’s explore them one at a time.
This tweet appeared on Thursday, June 16 and it centered upon everyone else’s Father’s Day pun: the dad joke. Most companies use the dad joke as its standard trope for Father’s Day, and it’s feeling threadbare. Sure, dads can be silly but so can moms. It’s important to find humor in each gender but dad jokes, dad bods – sometimes it gets a little old. Here Huggies isn’t just laughing with dads, it’s laughing at them.
But you’ll never find companies poke fun at moms. Never. Why must dads be the constant butt of jokes? There’s a lot more to men than playing the fool, which leads us to Huggies’ next few posts.
The next few tweets – one day before Father’s Day – followed a similar pattern. Any dad can relate to these, but you know what else they can relate to? Love. Sacrifice. Nurturing. Thoughtfulness. Involvement. Compassion. Empathy. Hope. Hard work. Success.
Consider the emotions and feelings which comprise fatherhood – it’s virtually endless. Following the same pattern year after year and only tapping into humor didn’t help Huggies connect with dads on a very deep level.
Huggies’ first tweet on Father’s Day seemed thoughtful and well-intentioned at first. However, it congratulated dads for performing a task one presumes is outside their scope. It implied that dads don’t braid hair. It assumed – because dads traditionally don’t have long hair – that dads have difficulty executing a braid.
In today’s modern world we constantly tell women and girls they can do anything, that there’s no glass ceiling. We cheer on women to become CEOs, physicists, presidents, astronauts and action heroes – but we suggest braiding hair is hard for men? Alas, sexism isn’t a one-way street.
Now imagine Huggies posting something like this on Mother’s Day: “To the moms learning how to play baseball with your boy, or build a deck, or work on the car, etc., for the first time: you’re doing great.”
That post wouldn’t happen because it would demean women. It would stereotype they can’t or don’t do something. So, why do this to dads?
Next, in a similar vein, Huggies gave props to the stay-at-home dads. This was nice, of course, but again could you envision Huggies posting a comparable message on Mother’s Day?
“To all the working moms: you rock. Keep doing you, mom.”
Of course not.
There is a way to honor stay-at-home dads for their contribution to the family and home, but this wasn’t it.
Huggies then completed its Father’s Day messaging with the granddaddy of them all. A tweet that managed to redefine the meaning of this focused, intentional June holiday.
It’s easy to infer what Huggies was trying to convey – that there are a lot of moms who do double duty either as single moms, or who carry the load when dad is away. These noble, hard-working women deserve their day in the sun. Come to think of it, they had one on May 8.
Which is why Father’s Day is for fathers, and Mother’s Day is for mothers. Period.
And once again, apply the same premise to a Mother’s Day post and you’d create absolute shock, stir a whirlwind of viral activity, followed by a full-blown mutiny.
If you re-read Huggies’ tweets you’ll notice, not once, did it simply state, “Happy Father’s Day.”
Their social media team has some work to do, but perhaps next year it could start there.
We’re all familiar with the long-standing joke about the couple who’s lost, but it’s the husband who refuses to ask for directions.
It may seem ridiculous and irrational, but there’s a reason for that: men learn by doing, not by being told what to do. They like knowing they’re in command of their ship, and they don’t need any tips from a stranger pointing the way.
So, by understanding the logic behind what seems illogical, we gain stronger all-around empathy. And even if you thought having your man ask for directions was a reasonable request (which it is), you must know there are other comments/questions to dad that should never be uttered.
How can you offend a dad? Let us count the ways.
“You’re quite the Mr. Mom.”
This label will never go away, and it would be as bad as calling a working mom by the title of Mrs. Dad. It’s also doing a disservice to women by implying that it’s primarily their job to handle cooking and cleaning. Besides, “Mr. Mom” was released in 1983. If we’re going to reference pop culture, couldn’t we at least find something a little more relevant and modern?
“What did your wife send you in to buy?”
When a sales associate speaks these words to a dad, it’s somewhat akin to saying, “Please don’t buy anything. Leave our store now.” When you alienate someone by making them feel devalued, you’re bound to really, really turn them off – and there’s no winning them back.
“You’ve got your hands full.”
Most men get into this parent thing fully aware of what they’re undertaking. They know the risks and rewards, and they can handle it. You’d never walk into a co-worker’s office and randomly declare, “You’re got your hands full.” Your co-worker can handle the work or he/she wouldn’t be there. Dads can, too.
“Did you check with your wife first?”
No, because a dad isn’t a child who needs a mom’s permission. He’s an equal and a partner in this thing called marriage. They make decisions as a team, and sometimes, even – gasp – independently.
“You must be babysitting today.”
When they’re your own children, this theoretically isn’t possible. If you’re a dad, it’s simply called parenting. Babysitting is when you’re getting paid for watching children. (Disclaimer: if you’re willing to pay a dad for watching his own kids, he’ll let you call it anything you want.)
“The baby must want her mommy.”
The baby isn’t crying because it wants its mommy. It’s crying because it’s hungry or tired or lonely or wants comforted or whatever. Moms are no more instinctually capable of raising children than dads. So, let’s give dads a little more respect than this.
“Who did your daughter’s hair?” or “Who dressed your kids?”
How many times do we have to see headlines about dads learning to braid their daughter’s hair? Wouldn’t that be a little like stories about moms who work on cars? Dads have fashion sense more than you realize. Suggesting anything else is sexist.
“You’re such a good dad.”
What’s so bad about this? It depends on how it’s said, so you have to be careful here. You don’t want to offer kudos to a dad for going above and beyond, because then it implies the ugly stereotype that dads like to do the bare minimum when it comes to dishes, diaper changing, etc. No parent deserves praise for doing what they should be doing. Never miss a chance to offer a word of kindness to your fellow neighbor but give careful thought as to why you’re saying it.
“Wow, you’re brave.”
For being alone with the children? No, you’re brave for actually saying that to his face.