Are dads on the go?

One must wonder what Ashton Kutcher might think of the latest American Baby magazine ad supplement titled, “Mom in the know, mom on the go.”americanbabymag4

It reminds us of the world he rightfully bemoans, where changing stations remain plentiful in women’s restrooms, yet not in men’s.

Mirroring this is the myopic American Baby magazine again pushing the dads-don’t-parent envelope, making fathers to be the second class parental unit through an advertising page that suggests dads don’t buy baby products.

We beg to differ.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: American Baby magazine should consider a name change if it’s going to continue the practice of deliberately avoiding its dad readership. The chain reaction of support Kutcher received from his Facebook post, including from state legislators, validate what we’ve been saying all along: dads care.

The days of hands-off fathers who watch mothers raise children are ancient history. That was generations ago. Today, dads have never been more active, and more vocal – and they shop, too. Just ask Ashton Kutcher.

If American Baby magazine doesn’t start altering its ways and incorporating more dads in its magazine, it would only take only one tweet from @aplusk to let his 16 million followers know just how he feels.

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Plum Organics shows why every parent should buy Plum Organics

Marketing is, in a way, a lot like baseball.plumorganics2

One good at-bat can erase a bad one, and in the world of marketing, companies get plenty of turns at the plate. Those at-bats can come in the form of television advertising, display ads, billboards, radio ads, promotions, Internet, social media, and on and on.

In our view from the dadmarketing dugout, we’d like to say “we’ve seen it all,” but we all know that’s not true.

For every mainstay like Jif Peanut Butter – who can’t seem to make any hitting adjustments despite facing different pitchers (customers) which it used to encounter decades ago – we find new players and new attitudes infusing the marketing game.

Those fresh approaches to the game are called game changers, and our latest marketing discovery (right) could be the best magazine advertisement of all-time, but at the risk of hyperbole, let’s at least declare it a solid walk-off homer for the ages.

Let us reintroduce you to Plum Organics, a company who competes in the Baby Division.

For most teams in this group, marketers commonly like to play defense, or at least conservatively at best, by only dialoguing with moms in its messaging. Rather than taking new, inventive approaches to the game, these teams recoil, shy away and almost shrink when it comes to the plausible notion that dads raise children in today’s world. Most of these teams would rather play the game the same way it has always been played, and stick to a formula that it believes is safe.

We wrote about Plum Organics back in January and it wasn’t all favorable. But today, after we encountered its latest magazine display ad, we found it has unveiled a renewed swing with an energetic approach that finally matches its overall fashionable style.plumorganics1

Concerning its website, plumorganics.com, you’ll note that we penned: “Based on its website, the company actually seems fairly admirable. We love its charitable efforts, admire its refreshingly generous use of dads in photos, and dig the story of how Neil Grimmer founded the company.”

In our general assessment of marketing to dads, we’re not looking for total dad inclusion to the point of mom exclusion – only equality in parenting to where no one is left out. Neither gender should be discriminated against. Both parents count.

Plum Organics’s latest ad, where a dad is prominently featured, pulls off a clear message that dads unequivocally are parents, too. Take note that another parent, presumably mom, is also featured in the background holding a child. But in this ad it’s dad who takes the spotlight, and it works. Wonderfully.

In fact, we love everything about this advertising masterpiece: its layout, its font selection, its soft feel, its simplicity, its captivating photo upon which nearly any dad can relate. We embrace it all.

The continuity continues on its website (it always has), as well as robust use of the ever-nifty, super-solid #ParentingUnfiltered hashtag. Why couldn’t Similac use such an inclusionary hashtag? Why can’t Amazon Mom consider a unified name? Why can’t Jif step up to the plate with a new attitude?

Here’s to the marketers of Plum Organics, whose sweet swing instantly put it among the very elite of Major League Marketing, ensuring optimum business operations where it counts, making it attractive to buyers of all shapes and sizes – and genders.

Ashton Kutcher: a dad’s best hope

They say ‘good things come to those who wait,’ but it’s likely Ashton Kutcher never listened.kutcher

Upon leaving the University of Iowa in 1996, Kutcher rose to meteoric fame by immediately modeling, and then landing on Fox’s long-running “That ‘70s Show” by 1998, where he gained his instant stardom.

He appeared in his first film by 1999, and deftly spread his wings by starring in and producing a varied mix of shows, including the clever “Punk’d,” the cult film “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” and the psychological thriller “The Butterfly Effect.”

And his acting accomplishments may seem like nothing compared to his prowess on social media, particularly Twitter, where he became the first user to reach one million followers in 2009.

Yet as he reaches a nearly 20 years of work in Hollywood, Kutcher is taking on his biggest role yet: dadvocate.

Last October, he and Mila Kunis gave birth to daughter Wyatt, and just a few months later, Kutcher had become victim to dad exclusion like so many fathers before him. So, this past March, Kutcher complained about the lack of pubic diaper changing stations on his Facebook page, a post that went viral and caught the attention of a New York state senator, Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).

Hoylman’s proposed an amendment would change the New York Civil Rights Act and require many newly constructed or renovated public buildings to provide diaper-changing rooms in men’s rooms where they are also present in kutcher2women’s rooms.

Kutcher, meanwhile, launched a change.org petition intended to have Target and Costco offer changing stations to both moms and dads in their stores.

How this plays out remains to be seen, but for now, both Kutcher and Hoylman should be enthusiastically lauded for their efforts.

With all due respect to our lawmakers and government, Kutcher, in particular, carries a lot of weight and power, and he may be a key figure in putting dads on a rightful equal ground.

However, real change isn’t going to happen in a restroom, it’s going to happen when perception shifts – and that can only occur when principal influences begin to treat dads like they count as much as moms when it comes to parenting.

Those influences are in the marketing and advertising of the products and services we use, in the media which shapes our attitudes, and in how Hollywood portrays the dad character.

As long as Jif Peanut Butter trumps its one-sided marketing slogan, and Kix cereal speaks only to moms, and American Baby magazine employs old fashioned writing that ignores fathers, and writers slap unfair and embarrassing stereotypes on dads which only apply to a minority – and thus we keep reading, and buying and using these products – diaper changing stations for dads will be merely pacifistic tools demanded by law.

And only fathers would see the change anyway; indeed, it would be a welcoming and needed change in law, but only dads would benefit and see the restroom modification.

Instead, if Kutcher could really get to the heart of the matter, and use his influence to encourage others to include dads in positive ways through marketing, media and entertainment, the “#1 Dad” mug he receives from his daughter on his first Father’s Day this June will be more valuable than any acting honor he’s ever accepted.

And letting everyone see it would make for the best tweet ever.