Your opinion matters! We’d love to hear it! Sort of…

similac12We recently met a couple expecting their first child, who received a nice little starter gift in the mail – a free trial pack of Similac formula.  They’re not sure exactly how they obtained it, but suspect the address-sharing-snowball-effect commenced once the couple merely signed up for a baby registry.

But they didn’t care how it happened, they were thrilled.

Three canisters of Similac formula might not seem like much in the scope of a baby’s life, nor will it last terribly long when the child starts devouring bottles every five minutes. However, with the cost of formula being a small fortune, the package was a welcome surprise, and a classic example of product sampling.

The whole experience was a win-win for both the parents and Similac.

Or was it?

As the father happily dug through the box and its enclosed Similac literature, he felt his Daddy-Sense tingling.

What he noticed was something quite curious about the entire package as a whole.  What he noticed was – it wasn’t for him.

It was for his wife.

He doesn’t recall whose name was on the address label.  That didn’t matter.  What mattered was its message.

Similac had sent this wonderful surprise, a sample package of its valuable products to this first time excited couple, yet Similac couldn’t have cared less whether the dad was in the picture or not.

Never mind the fact that this dad is to be every bit as responsible as the mom for raising this child.  Or that the dad cares very much about what he’ll be feeding his child.  Or that neither parent possesses any more instinctual ability than the other to rear this child.  Or that the dad plans to personally shop for formula in stores and online.  Or that in this particular case, the dad’s salary will provide the sole means to purchase this very product.

Or never mind that – and here’s the real kicker – from a pure marketing perspective, baby formula is intrinsically built-in for dad use. Yes, we’re not sure why Similac needs us to point this out, but guys can’t physically nurse children.  To be sure, Similac should be pushing its product with dads every chance it gets.  They are arguably Similac’s most prized and integral customers!

Rather, this dad had to open the package and find literature, such as the featured card, which paradoxically wants opinions.

Just not his.

That point was reinforced in the card’s opening sentence, where it mentioned only mom by name, as well as the ‘StrongMoms Rewards’ logo at the bottom.

This shaky attempt at quantitative data essentially leaves the search out of research, whereby Similac ignores a whopping half of the parenting duo by making dads transparent.  All this, despite this and every dad’s shared ability to mix formula in a bottle, yet have no physical means to breastfeed.

It’s another frustrating dropped ball from the marketing team at Similac, which sadly, we’ve seen before.

The whole experience is a massive Simi-lack of judgment.

Advertisements

Is laundry only a mother’s job?

Laundry.  It comes in heaps and never stops, and this week we found a few items in need of a good washing.

First, let’s take a look at the latest Arm & Hammer ad, which offers something both endearing and cautionary about the way it positions its brand.armandhammer1

On one hand, A&H takes a clever, charming approach by using generational ties as laundry solutions.  We can certainly appreciate the appeal of doing things the way our parents did them.  Passing down advice from one generation to another offers a timeless sentiment that pulls at our emotions.  That aspect is nice.

But on the other hand, with piles of laundry comes great responsibility.

That laundry room in your home – yes, that one over there – must be handled with extreme caution.  It’s dangerous to assume that it’s mom’s domain. That would be inconsiderate, old-fashioned and passé, sort of like saying a mother’s place is in the kitchen.  Frankly, it would have been better had A&H had not even gone there and employed this motherly theme.

We acknowledge that sometimes an idea can be too good to pass up, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t.  Look at the incongruity the New York Times offers in name with its Motherlode section – a section which supposedly covers the issues of parenting.

So, by A&H using mom as the focal point, we’re all led down a path to believe that laundry is the mother’s duty.  That creates perceptions that aren’t necessarily true, especially in today’s modern, dual-income, gender-lines-have-been-blurred, and everybody-takes-on-different-roles world.

ariel1Which brings us to the peculiar ad unveiled by Indian detergent maker Ariel.  In it, Ariel offers an apology to moms everywhere, on behalf of dads, for guys not helping with the laundry.

Admittedly, we’re somewhat ill-equipped to analyze this ad, as we have no awareness of Indian culture.  However, for the purposes of this column, we’ll probe within an American context.

The Ariel ad is admirable for encouraging everyone to help around the house, but sadly, it’s at the expense of dads.

Once again, dads are made out to be the bad guy – the lazy spouse – and coerced into apologizing unnecessarily.  Let’s put this ad in perspective:  you have to remember that in days past, when the dad traditionally went to a job all day and was the sole breadwinner, it was the mom’s duty to run the household – and there’s nothing wrong with that scenario even today.  Both roles contribute to a family and household, even if they’re held by opposite parties nowadays.  No job is more important than the other.

The older father in the ad shouldn’t have had to apologize for anything, unless he wasn’t carrying his load and doing his part in life.  The younger father in the background, clearly isn’t – at least for the brief period shown in this elongated ad.

A&H curiously has an ad of its own, and not once is a male of any age shown.  Perhaps these laundry detergent makers could have compared notes, rather than send conflicting messages that only leave dad caught in the middle of two contradictory campaigns:  one that puts dad at fault, another that says it was never dad’s job in the first place.

So when the A&H ads are stacked up next to Ariel’s apologist campaign, it’s more than a little disconcerting to see the commercial’s closing question:  “why is laundry only a mother’s job?”

I think we all know the answer to that question:  it’s not.

But, maybe, just maybe, that question is better posed directly to A&H.

Tell us, A&H, why is laundry only a mother’s job?