Marketing to both parents, at its finest

It would be pretty easy for the marketing team at Cord Blood Registry to feature only a mom in its latest magazine ad. Dads can do anything for a child that a mom can do, except give birth and naturally breastfeed.cbr

So, yes indeed, that umbilical cord is unmistakably a mom-child connection.

However, marketers often like to turn that precious link into some sort of divide, and use it as validation to justify its belief that moms have a stronger bond with children which dads can never match.

Nothing could be more untrue.

We’re here to tell you that moms and dads are equals. The parent-child bond isn’t meant to be something that moms dominate, or hold deeper. Mothers enjoy the absolute honored gift of carrying children – and that’s special. It creates a bond with every child that doesn’t make it more superior than with a father, just unique.

And it should be treated with uniqueness, even in marketing.

Dads and moms are different people, and can parent different, but dads are full, rightful owners of the parental bond every bit as moms. That’s a wonderful thing!

CBR says that too, and it even references the umbilical cord, in its latest powerful ad.

Something as important as cord blood banking deserves marketing treatment without any missteps or miscues, and CBR delivers the goods in pictures and words.

The rest of America would do well to learn from CBR’s fabulous marketing team, who confirms that parenting involves both moms and dads equally.

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Not cool-ish

Coming up next week on ABC’s new sitcom, “Black-ish”: Black-ish-TV-series-ABC-logo-key-art-320x180

Hilarity ensues when Rainbow grows bored of being the stay-at-home mom and wants to get a job. But the plan backfires after Rainbow’s husband Dre tells her that her place is in the kitchen – and so does every potential employer with whom she tries to interview! Rainbow also wants to play in an adult softball league, but then it dawns on her that women can’t play sports! Once Rainbow finally realizes her place in life, she goes back to cooking, doing laundry and waiting on her family. It’s non-stop laughs from start to finish in what might be the most funny sitcom episode in the history of television – that’s “Black-ish” next Wednesday on ABC!

No, that isn’t a real promo for next week’s “Black-ish.” No one would dare dream of such a storyline.

But why is it ok the other way around?

In this past Wednesday’s episode, why was Dre made out to be the goofy dad who does next to nothing around the house? And then, when he tries to take on the so-called mom duties (itself a mockery) and switch roles, why does he have to fail miserably?

The episode certainly had its funny moments, but turning dad into a lazy, childlike character and belittling his duties in the home weren’t among them.

It has been 31 years since the “Mr. Mom” movie and we’ve made no progress whatsoever. That attitude in the entertainment world spills right into the commercials you watch and ads you read, where dad still plays assistant to the wiser mom, nodding approvingly to every decision she makes.

Even today, Hollywood still can’t find a better role for dad than mere comic relief.

Anthony Anderson as Dre is fantastic, and “Black-ish” seems like a fun sitcom with promise, but let’s hope they offer the character a little more dignity as a father – then maybe everyone can laugh with dad, and not at him.

The Grinch who stole Father’s Day

No matter how long we live, we all have this same statistic in common: we got to spend (roughly) nine months being held exclusively by our mothers. Life expectancy aside, and speaking solely in general terms, mothers will have always had at least nine more months than fathers to hold their children.

During pregnancy, of course, fathers have the chance to touch the belly, but there’s a barrier in the way. Fathers can experience a baby kick, but the sensation for the mother and child are one and the same. Fathers can talk and sing to the infant inside the mother’s womb, but babies not johnson&johnsononly hear the mother’s voice – they feel it.

I once heard a woman tell the story how their child died upon birth. She asked the nurses to let the dad, not her, be the first to hold their child, because he naturally never got to during the pregnancy. Besides, it was the first, only, and last time he would embrace their child all in the same instance.

Mothers have the exclusive, honored gift of carrying children. That’s special. That creates a bond with every child that doesn’t make it more superior than with a father, just unique.

And it should be treated with uniqueness, even in marketing.

However, Johnson & Johnson’s latest ad artlessly exudes and radiates exclusion. It doesn’t take a deep thinker to see that dads, plain and simple, are crudely left out of this marketing message. What’s more, the advertisement is ironically straight out of the June 2014 Parents magazine, which includes a special reading section specifically for dads, timed knowingly for Father’s Day.

That’s some holiday present from Johnson & Johnson, huh dads? A sucker punch below the belt, followed by a kick in the teeth, finished off with salt in the wounds.

I expected more from this company so synonymous with baby care. No head-to-toe wash around is going to clean up this mess.

An open letter to doctor and dentist offices

Dear doctor/dentist/support staff:

I’m going to take a stab in the dark that, more often than not, moms attend the appointments of their children at your office.

But when dads do attend said appointments, there’s a lot you can do beyond health care.  Tdrevilry, with all your might, to look at the dad.  Dads see you talking only to the mom, making them feel like a child in the room who doesn’t know what you’re talking about.  You could even take it step further and actually involve dads in the conversation.  You might be surprised that:  A. They know more about their kids’ health than you think, B. They’re going to make your life easier and the well check appointment quicker, because dads aren’t going to bring up that misaligned eyelash on their 4-year-old that mom brings up at every appointment, causing you to roll your eyes when no one’s looking.

[Softly hum “His Truth is Marching On” in background while continuing…]

You see, dads are people too.  Dads count.  Dads aren’t the stereotypical,  bumbling fools you grew up watching on sitcoms whose kitchen explodes because dad cooked a family meal for the first time when mom was out.  Indeed, there is no such thing as Mr. Mom.

[…hum a little louder…]

So, kind doctor/dentist/support staff, some of you are dads, too.  Remind America that dads haven’t been left out and they can make decisions about their kids’ health.

[…hum even louder, but picture a dad in a doctor/dentist office with a flag flapping behind him…]

Stand up for what’s right, and defend the freedom of dads in your office!

Yours truly,

The employees of dadmarketing

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.

Even as a baby, Einstein had to be smarter than this

Shhh dads, please, keep it down!

Go back inside the sports bar, onto the golf course, into your fishing boats, or downstairs into your man cave.  I realize there are only a few places men spend their time, but hide wherever you can, lest the brain trust at Baby Einstein figure out that there is indeed such a thing as a man cave, or that dads even exist.  Don’t blow this, or you might end up having to (swallow hard) raise your childrenbabyeinstein

Think I exaggerate?  I dare you to visit babyeinstein.com and try to find a dad cuddling-with-child.  Although I can’t say I covered every page, I did come across one lone male somewhere buried in the “For parents” section.  However, the ratio must be something like 1,000,000-to-1.

Either Baby Einstein is run entirely by women, or a by management staff who foolishly believes women make all purchase decisions, or their stock photography database simply includes no males.  Who am I kidding, it’s probably all of the above.

Albert Einstein’s name is synonymous with intelligence, but I think even he’d be scratching his head over this stuff.