Which insurance company has dads in good hands?

If the basic definition of marketing is “to promote something in order to sell,” then there’s no question as to whom each insurance company presented here is trying to speak.gerber2

One featured ad is actually a direct mail piece from Gerber Life Insurance Company, who for years has been regularly sending this mailer with “See what Moms are saying about…” printed right on the front. And if you’re a dad who has been surprised to receive this in the mail, that’s not the only the only thing Gerber has jumbled; scroll about one-third down here to see another way this piece misfires.

allstate1The other featured is a display ad from Allstate found in the July 2015 American Baby magazine (click to enlarge). It not only addresses all of its potential customers by using the word “families,” but it includes a photo of a family where dad is holding the baby.

So, if you’re a dad and in the market for insurance, or even a college savings plan, where are you more likely to turn? To whom is Gerber and Allstate trying to “promote something in order to sell?”

Allstate’s approach is a positive one. Companies so often follow the supposedly “safe” marketing path, misbelieving that mom is the primary household decision-maker. Allstate knows that the days of “mom-stays-at-home, dad-goes-to-work” are ancient history. Indeed, caring for the family is a responsibility handled by both mom and dad.

Gerber, on the other hand, doesn’t want to change. Keeping an iconic, recognizable logo is a wise marketing move, but ignoring potential customers isn’t. Neither is having a college savings plan that gets dubious reviews.

Ever since our first post about Gerber in January 2014 (and again later in October), it began blocking us on Twitter. It’s the only company we’ve written about who has done so, proving that in Gerber’s world, communication is a one-way street.

Allstate, on the other hand, has won dads over. Dads are in good hands, indeed.

Welcome to the ‘hood

similac9Overly drenched in heaping layers of crippling irony is the headline from Similac’s latest display ad (right) which preaches, “There’s no ‘one-formula-fits-all’ for babies, or for parenting, either.”

Calling this marketing-speak odd would be an injustice to the word odd, instantly giving it a meaning never originally intended. It might just make something we all currently agree upon as odd, say, Miley Cyrus’ antics, seem almost girl-next-door normal.

Thus, we here at dadmarketing can’t call this latest advertisement odd. Rather, Similac’s ad proclamation is off-the-charts anomalous.

Here’s why: Similac, by way of its marketing message, slogan and ad copy (below), is saying that only moms are parents, yet its headline (above) tries to tell us something otherwise.

Again, did you notice the slogan from which it can’t seem to let go? “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood”? There’s nary a dad in the universe who can relate to that, and we’re talking about a product called baby formula, not breastfeeding, nor a feminine item. Dads should be every formula makers’ dream, a sure-fire built-in customer for life, but Similac doesn’t seem to want it that way.

Abbott, makers of Similac, has been touting this exclusionary “Sisterhood/Motherhood” slogan for several months now, and by it saying “there’s no one-parenting-fits all,” it sure seems to want it both ways: mild use of the word “parent” hidden behind its unilateral, sexist slogan.

Besides, check out the exhortation at the end of the ad: why would dads even bother taking Similac up on its invitation to visit Facebook?similac10

Dads aren’t moms!

It’s time to give this old-fashioned slogan a rest, and for Similac to consider that dads just might be part of its customer base, too. It’s no fun for dads to get ignored month after month. It’s campaign preaches a non-judgmental approach, but it has judged dads loud and clear:  they don’t count.

When it comes to taking care of babies, it’s not just a motherhood. It’s also a fatherhood.

And above all, it’s called parenthood.

When you don’t even realize you’re being sexist

If you haven’t heard of What’s Up Moms – you should. It claims to be the #1 moms channel on YouTube, and that’s no small feat.

This groups of mom friends aims to produce short, funny videos geared toward women, and throughout it all has been featured nationally while garnering over 550,000 subscribers.

whatsupmoms3There are plenty of items to watch, but check out the video titled, “Dad’s First Time Alone With Baby.”

If you can get past the fact that this sketch is one long commercial for GLAD Press ‘n Seal, you’ll find a video that generally offers a warm, clever look at a dad’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. We enjoy how its creators celebrate the fact that dads parent different.

That’s refreshing and important to see!

However, the title – “Dad’s First Time Alone With Baby” – certainly implies something different doesn’t it?

It implies that dad isn’t an equal parent, and that mom is in charge when it comes to raising children.

That title would have never been written about a mom; imagine: “Mom’s First Time Alone With Baby.” Thus, its current title comes across as sexist and demeaning.

So does mom’s question to dad and baby at the beginning of the video: “Are you sure you guys are gonna be ok?”

Would anyone ever question whether mom could handle a baby alone for the first time or not? Why turn it into an event, and why make it an issue with dads?

The only time someone should ever utter the phrase, “Dad’s first time alone with baby,” is when it’s one of these tearjerking, soldier-meets-baby-for-the-first-time moments.

This video’s sexist approach is so wrong, we’d like to see the title changed and the beginning of the video edited. Keep the funny, just not at dad’s expense.

How about it, What’s Up Moms?

KSN = Kraving Serious News

ksn1Remember the time when TV journalists simply reported the news?

Me neither.

That practice seems to have disappeared, because today we find newscasters and reporters performing, serving more as entertainers. They don’t exactly act like play-by-play announcers simply reporting the action on the field, but they’re also not full-time color commentators. They’re somewhere in between.

News is the reporting of recent events whereby the media provides us with information, and the media is the watchdog of us all. But just because freedom of speech offers us the right to say anything we want, doesn’t mean it should be said.

Think about it: as you watch the news – just after news stories and in between segments or commercials – how often do we hear those little banters, or commentaries, or jokes, or diatribes on some social situation or person among desk anchors? It’s supposed to be a segue to a different topic where we see the anchors’ personality and human side, but instead the power of the media is so often used to influence many via one person’s opinion – whether intentional or not.

It’s likely the “reporting hat” and “show host hat” morphed into one with the major increase of morning shows, mid-day shows, afternoon shows and talk shows, where features and lifestyle stories and commentary blended into one giant pot labeled “TV news,” all under the banner of the network.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Watching the lighter and softer side of news is enjoyable and breaks up the seriousness, but reporting has certainly become less sharing of factual information, more entertainment.

Take, for instance, this recent story featured on Kansas Today on July 8, 2015 on KSN in Wichita, Kan.

Kansas Today’s Katie Taube gave fellow reporter and dad-to-be Mark Davidson, her husband and also dad-to-be Dylan Hagen, as well as veteran dad Leon Smitherman, a list of items to find at Babies R Us. They were asked to work together to find each item in order while a KSN camera crew followed them along.

What’s not clear is why this piece occurred at all?

Was this supposed to be some fish-out-of-water premise, putting manly-men in an environment with which they’re not familiar as we watch hilarity ensue? Was the station trying to send some bumbling guys on a wild goose chase for some impossible-to-find items? Were we supposed to laugh at their overall ineptness?

After you watch the video, scroll below to read the comment from one perceptive viewer named Marissa:

“Why are you mocking dads? My husband could run circles around me when it comes to many of the so-called ‘mother roles.’ We’re living in 2015 people! Why don’t you start mocking gays along with it!”

Well said, Marissa, for we find nothing humorous or newsworthy about men going shopping, especially for items that they’ll use to co-parent these new children.

ksn2Even if these particular men weren’t familiar with a “Diaper Genie,” it’s not like anyone couldn’t find it after a common sense search. These dads are going to become parents, not babysitters, and it’s their equal responsibility to raise them just as the mothers will.

Taube, Davidson, Hagen and Smitherman are probably kind, friendly, stand up people who meant no harm, but as we’ve said before on this site – they weren’t thinking this idea all the way through. And that’s just the problem, we need to think about others and how they might feel. No one likes to be labelled, stereotyped, left out or excluded, but that’s what marketers, media and entertainment do with dads all the time.

Generations ago, it was the father who went to his work while mother stayed home with the children. So, yes, once upon a time dads were perceived as the secondary, assistant parent while mom squarely took the lead. But those days are over, and yet today, some still perpetuate this bygone era.

If KSN continues with this treatment of news, what’s next week’s segment going to be? Filming moms while they enter the work force, laughing at all their mistakes as they try to make it in the “real” world? Following girls around as they attempt to play sports? Taping men who actually try to cook a meal and clean the home?

Times have changed, we all need to treat dads with the love and respect they deserve as parents – being every bit equal parents as mothers. No one is more important as a parent than the other.  Those moms-to-be have no more instinctual ability to parent the child than the dads do. They’re both parents.  Equally.

And next time, hopefully KSN will be reporting the news, not creating it.

PS: Best of luck to all parents-to-be!

ig·nore (ĭg-nôr′) – To refuse to pay attention to; disregard

A few days ago we were fortunate to have a nice conversation with Proctor & Gamble regarding an exclusionary p&gapproach.

The talk began when we noticed its Father’s Day plug, awkwardly matched with a Twitter handle which only thanks moms (right). Here’s how it went:

  • Thank you Mom:   It’s #ThrowBackThursday! We love pics with dad! #TBT #FathersDay
  • dadmarketing:       This is awkward.
  • Thank you Mom:   Not at all. We love dads too! #ThankYouDad
  • dadmarketing:       That’s great, but your Twitter handle doesn’t really say that…
  • Thank you Mom:   Did you see our profile? I hope you’ll join us on the 18th 8-9pm for our 2nd annual #DadsJourney Twitter party.
  • dadmarketing: ‏       Love it! But again, the Twitter name…
  • Thank you Mom:    Our ‘brand’ is #ThankYouMom. Just like yours only mentions dad 😉
  • dadmarketing:        We’re a site exploring how companies market to dads, not selling a product both parents can equally buy; it’s exclusionary mktg

We want to emphasize how P&G’s use of Twitter to communicate is so impressive, and it was a true pleasure to chit-chat with a friendly social media team. However, it’s more than disappointing how companies – major companies like P&G – still ignore dads when it comes to parenting.

Now let’s take a look at the ads featured here (click to enlarge), found on back-to-back pages of a parenting magazine this month. What’scbrjohnson&johnson3 the difference between them? One includes only an image of mom, which would be fine enough on its own, but then it reinforces the mom’s-the-lead-parent-when-it-comes-to-babies agenda with accompanying ad copy that reads, “He feels Mom’s gentle touch.”

The other ad shows both mom and dad, with text that reads, “Cord blood banking isn’t just for your newborn, it’s for your whole family.”

In short, one ad speaks only to mom as a parent, another speaks to both parents – and the former is lot like P&G’s Twitter site and Olympic campaign.

Let’s say you’re at a party with your spouse, where you’re meeting lots of new people. If one of these new acquaintances is only speaking to your spouse, and not involving you in the conversation whatsoever, how might that make you feel?

It’s going to make you feel like dads feel after seeing the Johnson & Johnson ad, which make them look for a different baby soap on the store shelf. Sadly for J&J, it has a history of negating dads as parents.

Well done, CBR. As for J&J, you have some work to do.

Continuing the Super Bowl momentum

If you were like the rest of the nation, glued to your TV set this past February 1 during the Super Bowl, you probably noticed that dads played a significant and positive role in several commercials. This was big news – as big as Tom Brady’s heroics – because we all know the commercials are nearly as important as the game itself, and judging by the price tag for 30 seconds of air time, it’s as substantial as TV ads get.subaru

Fast forward to today, and companies are continuing that momentum of solid sales, realizing that speaking to dads makes common business sense. They realize that dads matter – that dads count too – and that they’re speaking to them as the equal parents they are, and it turns the tide from a generation of stuck-in-time, old fashioned marketers which used to remain convinced that only mom made the family purchasing decisions.subaru2

The ever-excellent honordads.org pointed us to an ad so good it seems a crime to get up during a commercial break and miss it. Indeed, Subaru knocks it out of the park with this latest TV ad, which features a father cleaning out the family’s Forester as he prepares to pass it on to his now-grown-up daughter.

We admire the bold approach by Subaru, which proves with a soft and elegant touch that there’s more to parenting than the fallacy of dad merely acting as mom’s right-hand-assistant.

You may want a tissue while watching it, but we weren’t crying – we just had some dust in our eyes.

Spilled juice

juicyjuice

What do you get when you cross two perpetual so-called “mom” territories: juice boxes and snack time? You get yet another dad exclusionary, old school approach to marketing from none other than Juicy Juice.

We’ve seen this juice box predicament before.

But this time it seems to hurt a bit more, as Juicy Juice is a relatively newer product (when compared to, say, other stodgy brands), and Juicy Juice even professes to have ads that have “changed over the years.” Note that it didn’t say changed for the better.

Another sad aspect is that this is another company who apparently likes to negate dads and all the fun they provide at snack time. We personally know many dads who love snack time, and have even given names to the creations they make for their kids: Quesa-daddies, Daddy Cheesy Melters, Sugar Daddies, Father Son Buns.

Those sound like some fun creations! Who knows how many untold, unrecognized culinary dads out there are shaping their kids into fantastic human beings one snack at a time?

Juicy Juice provides another bit of smack-in-the-face irony when it exclaims on its website: “One of the greatest gifts of parenthood is being able to relive those wonderful experiences with your child. That spirit inspires every product we make.”

Apparently, that spirit is only being doled out only to mothers and turning its back on dads.

Give it another try, Juicy Juice – dads are listening.