You may look like a dad, but we’re going to call you a mom

similac13It would’ve been great to be a fly on the wall when the male model (featured in this ad) got the call from his talent agent to appear in this Similac magazine ad:

Agent: How’s my favorite client?
Model: I’m good.
A: Great news – I landed you a new photo shoot for a parents magazine ad.
M: That’s cool. What’s the company?
A: Similac.
M: Similac?
A: You know, they make baby formula.
M: Oh, right.
A: Anyway, they want you to appear in a grocery store aisle holding a cute little baby.
M: Simple enough.
A: But there’s one catch…
M: What’s that?
A: They want to call you a mom.
M: (Momentary pause) A mom? But I’m a guy.
A: I know, I know. You’ll still be playing the part of a dad, but you see, their tagline is “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood.”
M: But dads aren’t moms.
A: True, but Similac likes to use “mom” as a synonym for “parent.”
M: (Awkward silence) But isn’t baby formula the perfect product to sell to dads, especially since they can’t breastfeed?
A: Right again, but they don’t need dads as customers.
M: Why not?
A: Because they say only women take care of kids and shop.
M: But I shop.
A: You’re single. When you get married and have kids, you don’t shop anymore. That’s a mother’s job.
M: That seems kind of sexist.
A: But Similac is paying you big money to look and act like a dad. (Awkward silence) They just want to call you a mom.
M: Now it all makes sense. Where do I sign?

Once again, Similac takes the shared role of parenting and needlessly genders its product – thus turning it into a mothers-only thing. It’s all the more troubling because they (gasp), used the word “parent” twice in its ad copy, only to follow up with its obdurate tagline. It concludes with a partisan invitation for only moms to converse further on social media.

The ad looks even more abnormal when you consider its “sisterhood” theme of supporting the choice between breast- and bottle-feeding – and then reflect on the same underlying “choice” theme in this particular heading – with a dad included. Breastfeeding and a dad?

We like to think that, at some point, Similac will discontinue this madness of posing dads in ads and calling them mothers in a sisterhood, but it has company when it comes to miscasting roles.

 

 

Games people play

I don’t watch much TV, but I did see an interesting commercial during the Olympics, and you probably did, too.katyperry

There’s a Cover Girl ad which involves some major female celebrities exclaiming “Girls Can’t” — do this and that.  Of course, we all know girls/women can do absolutely anything, so you have to figure there’s something more to see.  It compels you to watch.  Well done, Cover Girl.  I liked it.

But apparently men, specifically dads, cannot do everything.  And that everything involves activities and games with their children.

Who says so?  Kellogg’s says so.

On the back of their Cars movie-themed fruit snacks, they offer six fun game ideas which kids can play:  h-0-r-s-e, flashlight tag, alphabet game, etc.  In the descriptions of the games, they implore kids to seek the help of but one gender:

– From Cloud Shapes game:  “Point them out to Mom and yell out what you think they are.”

– From Charades game:  “In this game, have Mom write down the names of different animals…”

– From Build a Snowman game:  “Finally, get that carrot Mom has in the fridge…”

Sure, it’s rather inconspicuous on the package, but as anyone in a relationship will tell you, it’s the little things that count.

So, Kellogg’s, please don’t be like all the other cereal companies.  (And believe me, there’s more to explore.)  See what you can do about keeping dads an important part of your marketing mix.