Driven By Discrimination

It must be a strange situation if you’re a dad and you choose this driving school in the Houston area.

From the outset, it’s labeling you a secondary parent and already making you feel less important.

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But it gets even more bizarre if you’re looking for adult courses. Imagine being a grown man and attending a driving school that your mom — er, wife? — has approved.

It’s disappointing to see professional drivers’ education offering an inclusive program with such an exclusionary name. After all, its website states that teens must complete a “mandatory 30 hours of parent-supervised in-car driving.”

If a dad is good enough to offer that parent supervision while driving, isn’t he good enough to be mentioned by name?

In a world that won’t stand for inequality and unfairness, shouldn’t this company be driven by principles that don’t ignore parents on the basis of gender?

It’s time for change.

Enough is Enough, Disney

These days Americans won’t put up with stereotypes and ignorance. We’ve reached a boiling point – and with good reason.

Just ask the Washington Redskins, where the almighty dollar finally pushed owner Daniel Snyder over the edge, forcing him to confront years of repudiation regarding his team’s controversial name.

Stereotypes are ugly because they’re overgeneralized and oversimplified ideas about people. They force an identity on someone or something that isn’t true.

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With the rest of the America turning a critical eye toward all forms of ethnic and racial stereotypes, it’s hard to imagine brands still ignoring miscalculations in other areas.

For years we’ve written about Disney Moms and its refusal to retitle an outwardly discriminatory and exclusionary name. Overall, it’s a fantastic, well-intentioned program which offers Disney vacation advice from seasoned travelers.

However, the explicitly mom-only branding works to create an unknowing, needless divide in the parenting community. Not only does it refuse to acknowledge dads by name, it awkwardly inserts dads into a moms’ program and uncomfortably makes them a gender they’re not.

In 2019, Disney Moms quietly removed “moms” from its long-standing #SMMC hashtag and event name – Social Media Moms Celebration – but it was hardly enough.

The time has come to deal head-on with a program that should know better in today’s equality-focused world.

Yet somehow, someway it has spurned addressing the elephant in the room. Check out its April 27 post (also pictured above) where it continues to treat dads like secondary parents to the unfortunate extreme of ignoring their gender, identity and status in today’s modern family.

Families have noticed the omission on social media lately – perhaps a reflection of the pandemic’s stay-at-home nature which has affected our perception and awakened our senses.

Corporate America is being given little choice.

Just as it’s pressured by millions of people who know that Black Lives Matter, perhaps Disney will get with the program before its PR team is forced into spending unnecessary time playing catch-up with families who have had enough.

Why didn’t dads get a Kraft Father’s Day promo?

Last year, Kraft ran a Mother’s Day promotion – Mother’s Day Away – which encouraged moms to take time away from their family as Kraft covered the cost of a babysitter.

Going on the premise that moms wanted time off, Kraft gave $100 to 500 moms – $50,000 in total.

“Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate Mom in all of her greatness, but we know the holiday doesn’t stop the challenges of motherhood – temper tantrums, sleepless nights and picky eaters,” said Sergio Eleuterio, Head of Marketing for Kraft. “With Kraft ‘Mother’s Day Away’ we are giving moms across the country the chance to have what they secretly really want: some time for themselves.”

While the offer was certainly well-intentioned and generous, the holiday promotion had its faults. Namely, why didn’t dad get one?

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What about dad?

A year has passed since the Kraft Mother’s Day campaign. And now with this year’s Father’s Day just around the corner, dads are waiting for their Kraft gesture.

The problem is – they’re going to be waiting a long time. Attempts made to communicate with Kraft via email and social media went unreturned.

Of course, it’s unlikely we’ll see a comparable campaign. Food companies have a history of omitting fathers when it comes to holiday promotions.

In today’s modern world where parenting roles are blurred, there’s no reason this should happen.

Negativity

Exclusion aside, there’s other troublesome matters with Mother’s Day Away. The promotion purports that being a parent has more negative experiences than positive ones.

Kraft makes it sound like meltdowns and kids pounding on bathroom doors occur regularly.

There’s no doubt parenting has its moments. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

It’s time to bury the tired trope that kids are hellions who force parents to hide. There’s nothing particularly positive about a contest that implies: “Hey moms, on this heartwarming, family-based holiday, want to avoid the very people who made you a mother in the first place?”

Dads don’t help?

The ad copy also insinuates that dads don’t change diapers and that moms never get a break.

One might argue that the ad hints dads don’t do anything to help, thus creating the very reason for the contest – that a babysitter is required to fill in the shoes of the ignorant father who doesn’t help around the home.

In truth, a babysitter isn’t needed. Kraft should stop perpetuating the unfair, unrealistic and outdated notion that dads don’t help around the home and moms won’t relinquish household responsibilities and want to be Super Moms.

Of course, families realize this isn’t the case. Today’s fathers are actively engaged with household duties: diapering, cooking, cleaning, and, are also very familiar with trying to go to the bathroom while kids pound on the door.

Ad redo

“Leave the mothering to someone else?”

It’s called parenting, and dads are equally competent at it.

Here’s a rough draft for the way the advertisement should have been written: “Leave the parenting to another person for one day and hire a babysitter. Enjoy your day with your husband and/or find something fun to do on your own or with other moms. Submit your receipt and we’ll cover up to $100 for your babysitter bill. We’ll also offer this promotion to dads on Father’s Day.”

Dads are waiting

We’ll give Kraft a free pass this year due to the pandemic, but here’s hoping it will make things right next year.

The time to start planning is now. Kraft should contact real dads and start engaging to find a better way so as to not offend.

As Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Be our equal guest

Being a host is an important responsibility.

A good one will make you feel valued as a guest. A bad one won’t even acknowledge you.

Known for its “Butterburgers” and frozen custard, Midwestern restaurant chain Culver’s is built upon honoring its guests. Its no wonder – its family-owned locations have a secure feel, from employees’ warm hospitality to a menu filled with comfortable, kitchen favorites.

The Culver’s website validates all of this with assurance: “Since day one, we knew we just had to take care of our guests, and that’s why we try to make you feel welcomed like a guest in our home.”

Then we stumbled across The Ad.

Imagine how dads must feel when watching a video about chicken tenders that purports mom to be the family’s primary authority.

Ouch.

This message – which caters only to moms – hardly makes dads feel like valued customers. It runs contradictory to a company mission centered upon treating everyone like guests in the Culver’s home.

In the big picture, The Ad is about more than selling chicken tenders. In today’s modern world, dads are equal, competent parents and deserve to be treated as such. Marketing to both parents – rather than alienating one of them – is just smart business.

And it strengthens families.

Equivalent holidays deserve equal treats

It’s great to see a heart-warming promotion and holiday-specific foods like the ones snack maker Little Debbie recently unveiled.

Moms deserve it.

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But you can’t help but wonder – will dads get their due come June?

There hasn’t been a snack cake devoted to dads in the history of fatherhood. A quick Internet search for “dad cakes” results in a lot of beer-themed versions, neckties and tools.

There’s a lot more to fatherhood than that.

Little Debbie has a golden opportunity to set the trend for a promotion with incredible potential by doing it right. What dad would turn down a box of sweet treats he could share with his kids? There’s no better way to celebrate fatherhood than with a gift designed to honor dad and the kids who made him one.

As Little Debbie says, it’s time to pamper dad and offer him a prize that will ease the load of his to-do list.

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A dad is a nurturer, protector, provider, teacher, friend, spiritual guide, role model, mentor, disciplinarian, advisor and cheerleader. Let’s see if they can incorporate all that into a treat and promotion that would garner attention nationally.

Dad deserves better than beer cakes and neckties.

So does his sweet tooth.

Ask mom how she feels about dad’s exclusion

Getting marketing and media to be more inclusive of fatherhood has many key factors.

Of course, the obvious consequence of ignoring dad is the degradation of fatherhood.

Yet there is another area of concern involving all of parenthood, particularly mothers.

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Continuing to portray dads as incompetent shoppers, substitute parents for moms, or part-time sidekicks is an insult to moms.

It questions the mom’s choice she made to become a professional woman.

It’s she who desires to focus on providing the best for her family and reaching her utmost career potential instead of staying at home with the kids.

It also belittles her decision to marry the man she chose to be her husband and father of their children. No matter how you add it up, the commutative law of addition still yields the same result.

Motherhood + fatherhood or fatherhood + motherhood = both equal parenthood.

The good news is company and marketing executives have the power to change how they view dads as parents, as well as consumers of products and services.

Even better news is that dads continue to be an evolving and growing target market.

Ask mom how she feels about dad being excluded.

You might be surprised how much it affects her.

What social media thinks of the ‘Mr. Mom’ reboot

If social media is any indication, the controversial “Mr. Mom” reboot must be nearing the end of its streaming life.

Viewers didn’t take kindly to the announcement of a reboot on the Walmart-owned streaming service Vudu.

And the rest of the Twitterverse hardly knows it’s there – as of today, @MrMomTV has a mere 171 followers.

All of which barely warrants demand for keeping “Mr. Mom” on Hollywood life-support.

Here’s what commenters have had to say so far about “Mr. Mom” reboot.

Dad Marketing competing for first-ever Lazy Marketing International Award

Marketing strategies hindering equality between women and men are not welcomed in 2020 anymore and must be denounced. It takes from social and societal responsibility of brands to be aware of this “lazy marketing” toxicity.

The first edition of the Lazy Marketing International Award is organized as a vote on social media which allows people to elect the marketing visual — ads, product descriptions, blue and pink segmentations, packagings — they judge the ‘laziest.’

This international campaign aims to raise awareness on sexism in marketing strategies. The vote will take place from January 13-23, 2020, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

The winner will receive the award on January 24, for the International Day of Education.

Visuals submitted to vote are proposed by associations and/or social media accounts from all around the world (Spain, United-States, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Slovakia) that denounce “lazy marketing” on social networks:

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How the Grinch Ignored Dads

Every family on Earth liked dads a lot…
But marketing and media, who lived on Earth too, did NOT!

They both ignored dads, even in June.
Now, please don’t ask why. No one can answer that soon.
It could be they were stuck in the Fifties.
It could be, perhaps, that the VPs were iffy.
But I think that the most likely reason to say,
May have been that they don’t know dads of today.

But, whatever the reason, being old-fashioned or mulish,
They stood there, looking at dads, acting so foolish.
Staring down from their boardrooms with a sour, grumbly frown,
At the warm lighted homes below in their town.
For they knew every dad down on Earth beneath,
Was busy now, shopping, cooking and feeding.

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“And they’re helping with kids” (which to us seemed apparent).
“Tomorrow on Christmas, they’ll act like they’re parents.”
Then they growled, with their fingers nervously a-patter.
“I must find some way to stop dads from being treated like they matter.”

For tomorrow, they knew, that dads of all kinds
Would wake bright and early, making Christmas day shine.
For the dads with their families, would sit down to a feast.
They helped cook and serve it, and shopped too, at least.
Which was something their marketing data hadn’t released.

And THEN dads would do something they liked least of all.
Every dad to be found, the tall and the small,
Would stand in the living room, so very involved.
They’d be with their kids, they had lots of fun.
CEOs don’t want to admit, but that’s how it’s always been done.

And the more marketing and media thought of those dads,
The more they thought, “We must create some new ads!”
“Why, for several years we’ve put up with it now!”
“We MUST stop dads from looking like they’re equally, competent parents! But HOW?”

Then they got an idea! An awful idea!
THE MARKETING AND MEDIA GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!

“We know just what to do!” they laughed, oh so brash.
So they made reboot of Mr. Mom in a flash.
And they chuckled, and clucked, “What a great marketing trick!
With these shows and new ads, fathers won’t look so slick.”

Then they ran some campaigns that ignored dear, old dad.
They discounted his moves, and made him look bad.
They excluded with clubs and groups so complete.
Disney Moms, Chick-fil-A Moms, Walmart Moms all did meet.

But they didn’t stop there, media insisted with glee.
The headlines ridiculed dad hastily.
Moms do the laundry. Moms pack the lunches.
Moms handle checkups. They do it in bunches.”

Kellogg’s, Gerber, Pampers and Jif.
They’ve all ignored dad – it caused quite a riff.
And just when you thought they were all out of feats,
“And NOW!” grinned marketing and media, “I will exclude more with some tweets!”

Then they opened their browser, and started to click,
When they noticed some dads who were commenting quick.
Dads stared at those ads and said, “Marketing and media, why…
Why are you ignoring dads? WHY?”

But, you know, those corporate heads were so smart and so slick,
They thought up a lie, and they thought it up quick!
“Why, my dear old dads,” marketing and media lied,
“Moms want to cook and clean, and do the work inside.
The kitchen, the laundry, the chores – it’s all theirs.
They want the control, they don’t want to share.”

And their fibs fooled consumers, but something didn’t seem right.
In today’s modern world, dad’s involved day and night.

It was quarter past dawn, all the dads, still-a-bed,
plus the moms and the kids, still a-snooze and misled.

“Pooh-Pooh to the dads,” marketing and media did chatter.
“They’re finding out now, that to families, they don’t matter.
They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open, but if you want proof,
The dads in their homes will remain so aloof.”

“That’s a sight,” grinned marketing and media, “That I simply MUST see!”
So they paused and figured everyone would agree.
And they did see a sight in homes across Earth.
It started upon birth, and as kids grew in worth.

But the sight wasn’t sad. Why this sight looked so fun!
It couldn’t be so! But it WAS fun – not even outdone!
Marketing and media stared down at homes!
They popped their eyes!
Then they shook and saw a shocking surprise!

Every dad down on Earth, the righteous and errant,
Surprise, surprise – knew just how to parent!
They DIDN’T have to be taught, told, or trained,
Instinctually they managed, their minds were ingrained.

Marketing and media hadn’t stopped dads from being parents. They already were!
Somehow or other, they were equally sure.

And the marketing and media, with their old-fashioned way,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, “How’d they manage today?
They cooked, cleaned and helped.
They handled it steady. They equally tended to children already.”
And they puzzled three hours, till their puzzlers were sore.
Then marketing and media thought of something they hadn’t before!
“Maybe dads,” they thought, “aren’t parents to ignore.
Maybe dads…perhaps…mean a little bit more!”

And what happened then…? Well, on the Internet they say,
That the marketing and media’s hearts grew three sizes that day!

And the minute their hearts didn’t quite feel so tight,
They brainstormed ideas to put dads in new light,
And they stopped the negative shows, programs and ads!

And they…the marketing and media themselves…took some time to know dads!

Thanksgiving isn’t about the food

Thanksgiving can be a chore.

It’s an enormous amount of work for a meal that never lasts long enough, which makes it easy to grumble about. If you shoulder the load, you know how exasperating it can be when others are relaxing and you’re stuck laboring.

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Here’s an idea – this year, try not to keep score. Or point fingers. Or blame others.

Let’s make this a day where we take the high road and know that our real reward – our payback – may not even come in this life. Let’s serve others without complaint. Let’s really give thanks.

German philosopher Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

For this day – maybe the whole weekend – try to replace complaints with gratitude.

Then that magic you feel while seated around the table with loved ones will last far longer than one meal.

Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday. It’s a lifestyle.