Yogurt needs a marketing makeover

Yogurt is no more a feminine product than a bowl of oatmeal is masculine, but try telling that to your mouth – or your mind.

Product positioning has long labeled yogurt as diet food, which attracts a certain kind of customer. And that customer is typically female – one who tends to be concerned with how she looks to others.yoplait.png

Genderizing a product is really nothing new. The Marlboro Man sold cigarettes to men for decades. Hungry Man dinners and Chunky Soup appeal to men, as well. There are also plenty of other pointlessly gendered products that are sure to draw a chuckle.

Much of it is nonsense. Of course, there’s nothing feminine about milk, cream, fruit and sugar blended into one. Executives are merely trying to target their strongest demographic by positioning products around selling points that appeal to women.

So we know how they do it, and we know why they do it, but a larger question remains: why turn away revenue by ignoring those remaining customers?

The NFL remains one of the most successful American ventures around. It enjoys a varied mix of massive fan interest via huge TV ratings, millions of tickets sold, team apparel, fantasy leagues and its own TV network. The list could go on and on. Let’s also not forget that little game played at the end of the season which has become a cultural phenomenon like no other – the Super Bowl. This event has become far more than just a football game. Super Bowl commercials are a spectacle to behold, achieving status as the most valuable piece of TV marketing real estate in the world.

Yet despite the large focus on advertising, there’s no doubting that football is predominantly a man’s game. There has not been a single female player in the history of the NFL, and this male-dominated business appeals heavily to the masculine side of human nature.

But does that mean females can’t enjoy the game? Does that mean that women can’t be involved in the industry elsewhere? Does that mean women and football don’t belong together? Of course not.nfl2.png

Rather than focus 100 percent of its effort on targeting males even further, the NFL has invested millions in marketing campaigns aimed at women.

Female viewership of the NFL grew by 26 percent from 2009 to 2013, according to Athletic Business, which also said that 53 million women in the U.S. watched the 2015 Super Bowl, almost half the total audience of 114 million.

Couldn’t Yoplait do the same with men and dads in their world? Instead, it touts a #MomOn campaign that squarely ignores the contribution of fathers to raising and nurturing children.yoplait2.jpg

Today’s customers demand inclusion, equality and far less stereotyping. Dads are being left out in a really unfortunate way, and promotions like #MomOn aren’t doing anyone favors, because it also unnecessarily heaps all the responsibility on women.

It’s going to take a little more work than having Cam Newton serve as a spokesperson or slapping “Official Yogurt of the NFL” on cups. And we certainly don’t need more genderized gimmicks like Brogurt. Remember what happened to Lady Doritos?

Yogurt need to be reimagined, because today’s modern family has changed and parenting is shared.

The first yogurt who can figure this out stands to reap tremendously in a confused and oversaturated yogurt industry.

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Making babywearing important for both parents

Want to discover that babywearing can be comfortable, stylish and – here’s the kicker – easy? Look no further than Lalabu, which seems to be getting a lot of good press lately.

Its original Soothe Shirt, unveiled in 2013, has a built-in nursing bra, two layers of fabric, plus a popular, feminine look. Its most endearing feature is that it’s simply easier than a wrap or harness. Users only have to slide the baby into the kangaroo-inspired pocket, and that’s it. No fuss, no installation, no extra person needed.lalabu1.jpg

Its popularity grew, but there was no mistaking that the look and style was intended for women. So, Lalabu introduced a dad version. We love the extra consideration they’ve given dads which no other company seems to have figured out. The only problem? It wasn’t called a “Soothe Shirt,” but a “Dad Shirt.”

We can’t help but asking: why?

The difference in names implies that dads can’t soothe a child, or it’s not masculine, or whatever. It further underscores the perception that men aren’t nurturers, nor the primary parent.

It would have been so much more appropriate to call them each soothe shirts – just have a women’s version and a men’s version. Right now it’s akin to the NCAA’s treatment of college basketball’s championship. The men’s version is called the “Final Four,” the women’s is “Women’s Final Four.” It’s important to distinguish between the two, but not make one feel lesser than the other.

Lalabu is relatively new, but its impact is notable. It deserves recognition for giving both parents a product that’s functional and purposeful by gender.

How about showing the parenting world you mean business – business to both parents as equals?

Marketing holidays differently

It’s Mother’s Day Weekend, and that’s exciting for a lot of us.

No matter your family dynamic in today’s modern world, we all have a mother, whether you know her or knew her — or not. And like Father’s Day, that makes it a day that we can all acknowledge in some way. Truly, these monthly back-to-back, parental-rejoiced days are unlike any other on our calendar.

Think about some other big holidays. Easter isn’t celebrated by all. Neither is Christmas. Even with Independence Day, it’s not like everyone in our melting pot has American citizenship.black&decker.jpg

But Mother’s Day? It doesn’t take having children to make this day meaningful. It’s relevant to every one of us, and few holidays can say that. Regardless whether or not you have a relationship with your mother, the day still has a connection for us all, because we all have a mom that shared with a dad in giving us life.

That’s what makes the marketing of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day so significant. And because they occur in back-to-back months, it makes them easy to compare.

Just yesterday we received an email from Black & Decker (right). The ad doesn’t acknowledge any stereotypes about females or males. It doesn’t feminize with flowers or pink – it’s just an ad geared for Mother’s Day. You’re certain to see something similar for dads when Father’s Day nears.

Now look at the Enfamil ad (below). It’s also wonderfully done, but when viewed alongside Black & Decker’s piece, you can’t help but wonder: will there be a comparable ad for men on Father’s Day? Based on our monitoring of formula makers and their past marketing history, chances are you won’t. In fact, it’s doubtful you’ll see anything from Enfamil on Father’s Day.

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Black & Decker sees an opportunity for growth and revenue. It embraces the other half of the consumer population the rest of the world ignores because it knows power tools aren’t just for men. They’re proving that even an industry dominated by one gender can find ways to cash in on the other gender’s purchasing power.

There’s no reason Enfamil can’t do the same.  But will they?  We’ll be watching.

 

Properly reaching dads means using the right photos

Just as words are so crucial to showcasing the active role of today’s dads as true and competent parents in advertisements, so are images – and realistic images say it best. Smart brands should keep in mind authentic representations of dads in marketing. It’s true that those images of dads fishing, hunting, and working on cars are all fair and accurate, but so are those of dads cooking, shopping, and picking kids up from school.dadhug2.jpg

Even better images might be those of dad nurturing, holding, hugging, cuddling, and kissing – all semblances that portray relevance and authenticity of genuine, loving fatherhood. The latter are not just likenesses of what dads should become, nor do they represent a minority of dedicated dads – this is fatherhood today. It’s alive and well in every community around us.

The modern father views himself as skilled and devoted to his household in every facet of family life. He’s not trying to replace mom in the way society perceived him and labeled him as “Mr. Mom.” He is dad and equal parent. He identifies as a parent in the same way a mom does – sympathetic, caring, and wants to have stronger, intimate relationships with his children far more than the stoic, unresponsive dads portrayed in the media.

When marketers demonstrate these emotional bonds and challenges with parenting, it makes instant connections with customers. The need to reach a certain segment must be efficient.

Ignoring dads is never in fashion

It’s one thing to exclude dads by accident, and another to omit them intentionally.

But it’s an entirely different ballgame when a company tells the world it wasn’t even created for dads, nor intended for them. Never mind the fact that the product it sells is children’s clothing, which has nothing to do exclusively with motherhood. Dads are certainly capable of shopping. Dads care how their kids look.fabkids.png

So what gives?

FabKids was created in 2011 to offer stylish clothing, good selection and competitive pricing. Its Twitter page promises you’ll spend less by skipping the mall and shopping with them.

Yet if you’re a dad who wants to purchase its products for your kids, FabKids apparently doesn’t want you as a customer. Don’t believe us? It says so right on its about page under “Ode to Mom.” There you’ll find a cute message to which moms can relate – but so can dads. In reality, it’s an “Ode to Parents” that regrettably alienates dads right from the start.

You’ll also find confirmation of this on its customer satisfaction page which proclaims, “FabKids was created to help busy moms shop for kids,” not to mention one-sided testimonials from the “Let’s hear it from the moms” section.

All of it sends a contradictory message when you scan further, because FabKids seems to want it both ways. It insists FabKids is only for moms, but professes to be progressive by “revolutionizing the shopping experience” and for all parents on other pages.

  • From its front page: “Kids shopping designed for the modern family.”
  • From its how it works page: “Become a VIP (Very Impressive Parent)” and “Hear it from our customers.”

Judging by the FabKids team photo, the company seems to employ a fair number of fabkids2.pngmales. It’s hard to guess why these men haven’t stepped up and made a swift change to stamp out the overall exclusion, but let’s hope someone will. Dads matter to today’s modern families, and they’re not only equal, competent parents, but valuable shoppers in today’s online world.

FabKids also utilizes the faces of many boys to sell its products, boys who will likely one day become dads. Let’s hope they’re not being used today, only to become ignored later by the very company they represent.

To become a truly global, meaningful brand, it can’t continue this trend of ignoring fathers. How about it, FabKids?

 

All things being equal, some campaigns aren’t

There’s a lot of talk about equality these days, and with good reason. Exclusion is on the rise. People are being left out. Groups are ignored.p&g11.jpg

It’s no wonder that the mega, multi-national consumer goods corporation P&G started a #WeSeeEqual campaign, a push well-timed in today’s society of #MeToo and #TimesUp.

The campaign aims for a world free of gender bias that offers equal representation and voices for both women and men. It’s a powerful message that deserves praise and attention. Frankly, it’s hard to argue with or dispute any of its pleas. You can debate a lot of things in life, but equality isn’t one of them – it’s necessary and needed in a world filled with exclusion.

p&g8.jpgBut the campaign runs a bit contradictory when compared to another P&G effort, “Thank You Mom,” which resurfaces during each Olympics, as it did again during last month’s Winter Games. In it, we see an effort aimed at celebrating just one half of the parenting duo.

It’s one thing to market to a certain segment – as it’s doing with the “Mom” promotion – but another to want it both ways, as P&G emphatically implores us that “a world free from gender bias is a better world for all.”

Imagine what sports-loving dads were thinking when they watched regular nightly exclusion during the 17-day PyeongChang Games, as only mothers were thanked for helping athletes achieve their dreams. Meanwhile, these same dads would simultaneously encounter the #WeSeeEqual declaration, and another occasional P&G effort, #LoveOverBias – both exhorting humanity to treat everyone equally. Everyone, that is, except customers.p&g3.jpg

These conflicting messages aren’t just confusing, they’re actually illogical; it’s impossible to pair the word “equality” with brands that concurrently exclude fathers, but P&G has indeed done the impossible.

Media writers have praised the effort of #WeSeeEqual – and rightly so. On its own, it’s an incredibly commendable campaign and well-executed. But there’s no denying the mixed message it sends to dads and the parenting community.

If equality is going to mean something, the corporate world needs a genuine effort with a real, authentic backing – in word and in deed.

Otherwise a company is just selling products on a shelf, not a mission.

Is NUK failing dads?

If you’ve ever brought a child into the world, chances are you’ve used NUK products. Whether it’s bottles, teethers or tableware, NUK is easy to be found in the childcare world.nuk2.jpg

Yet for a company that’s been around for almost 60 years, NUK doesn’t appear to be listening to its customer base.

That’s because its marketing team has positioned its business as one of the more dad exclusionary companies around. On its website – nuk-usa.com – you’ll find repeated instances of an unrepresentative approach:

  • A trademarked “You’ve nuk3.pngGot This” slogan which offers wonderful parental assurance, but only for mom. Observe its one-sided slogan description: “Congratulations, mom! You just did the amazing and brought a beautiful baby into the world.” Wording like this ignores the indisputable fact that dad also just did the amazing and brought a beautiful baby into the world.
  • There you can also view a brief, inspirational video that expands on the “You’ve Got This” notion by not only repeatedly speaking to mom in name, but forgets to include even one moment of footage of a father in action.
  • NUK employs use of the exclusionary hashtag #NUKMoms.nuk4.jpg
  • It offers the “More for Moms Rewards Program.” And just in case you missed the program’s logo on the front page, there’s a box on the bottom right corner of nearly every page offering “Exclusive Savings Just for Mom.”

Interestingly, if not predictable, you won’t find a single image of a dad anywhere on its site, nor on social media. That’s where unquestionable irony sinks in. There are numerous cute faces of male babies and young boys used to sell NUK products. But then consider how those same faces will be ignored by the very company they represent once they become fathers later in life.

Its Twitter feed reinforces the notion that moms are its intended audience by insisting, “With some patience, creativity and expertly engineered products from NUK®, you can nuk.jpgtackle this mom thing.”

Imagine you’re a dad and reading, “…you can tackle this mom thing.”

If there were any further doubt as to whom it wants as customers, NUK seals the deal on its About Us page by declaring, “And we listen to the real world experts – moms just like you – to meet and exceed your needs.”

Dad knows what he’s doing every bit as mom. In today’s online shopping world where customers are sometimes only known by credit card numbers, it’s time that NUK takes a moment to embrace the other parent who knows a thing or two about nurturing.