Drefting away

When Similac unveiled its “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood” campaign this past January, there was a faction of dads and moms who lauded the inclusion of fathers in the commercial. It seems they were so ecstatic over not only actually seeing dads in a TV ad – but dads wearing babies – that they might have even been blinded by that awkward, old-fashioned tagline.

Alas, it’s doubtful there’s even one dad who can relate to “the Sisterhood of Motherhood.”

The video was only part of an exhaustive campaign over which we had even stronger thoughts, but unfortunately, Similac uses the same promo yet today as evidenced by its recent full page ad in the July 2015 American Baby magazine.dreft3

In that same magazine (page 41, to be exact), you’ll also find an ad for Dreft laundry detergent, which uses the slogan #AMAZINGHOOD.

That hashtag is a refreshing antidote to the exclusionary tagline used by Similac.

Imagine how different Similac’s campaign might have been if it – rather than using sister and mother – had simply used amazing, or even parent.

We’re not going to give Dreft a total free pass, as it still wants it both ways. Take a gander at dreft.com and click on “Our Story,” where it continues to believe that dads don’t exist. And its maker, P&G, has a steady practice of ignoring dads elsewhere, too.

But we’ll give credit where it’s due, because #AMAZINGHOOD is a fine word choice that doesn’t exclude dads – dads who care for their children and buy Dreft laundry detergent.

Dreft likes to tout that its product “has been trusted by moms for over 80 years,” but we suspect a dad or two has also placed its trust in Dreft over that time.

So, maybe in the next 80 years ahead, Dreft will finally begin to place trust in dads.

Now that would be #amazing.

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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.

At least Boppy acknowledged that boys exist — it’s a start

Boppy Company, why does it have to be this way?

We think you have a really nice product that works, but when you openly and actively market your product to the point of purposely excluding dads (note pictured ad) – well, that’s when we have to step in.boppy2

We don’t think anyone doubts that the Boppy is a “mom friendly” item by nature. Its frilly, cute patterns and soft, cushiony look will immediately appeal to a more feminine side. That’s perfectly ok, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Men/dads and women/moms are different – we say celebrate that, but don’t tell dads by your intentional exclusion that baby products aren’t for them.

Don’t tell dads that they’re less of a parent to their babies than moms.

Don’t exclude dads from the party.

Don’t make them feel left out.

Rather, use your business sense and marketing savvy by selling it to everyone humanly possible!

Are you really afraid that if you take the word “mom” off everything that women won’t notice you? Or that it won’t feel as personalized? Or that suddenly you’re letting in that rough, manly guy on the decision-making process who doesn’t have any business offering input, who doesn’t know anything about caring for babies, and who shouldn’t have any part of that exclusive shopping experience usually saved for the mom-to-be and her mom?

Comparisons can be helpful to illustrate a point. So, let’s take a look at the National Football League.

The NFL is one of the most wildly successful American ventures around, and it has been for decades: huge TV ratings, massive fan interest, tickets sold by the millions, team apparel worn by fans everywhere you look, fantasy leagues, its own TV network. It also has that little end-of-the-season championship game that a lot of people like to watch, sometimes its commercials even moreso.

Yet, there’s no doubting this is a man’s game. No female has ever played in an NFL game (though we’d like to see that change someday). The rough, tough nature of football appeals heavily to the masculine nature.

And that’s ok.

But does that mean that women can’t enjoy the game? Does that mean that women can’t be involved elsewhere?

Of course not. Throughout the NFL, we see female journalists, TV commentators, cheerleaders, front office executives, sideline personnel, and on and on. A female singer has opened one of network TV’s most popular shows — NBC’s Sunday Night Football — since its inception.

Now let’s take a look at its website, nfl.com. Do you see any slogan like, A Game for all Mankind?

A menu tab titled Dad Center?

Helpful Fantasy Football Topics from the Guy Center?

A special offer titled, NFLhood for Dad?

Do you see any special anniversary section that says, Thanks guys/men/dads – for supporting the NFL – we celebrate you!

Do you see any kind of female or mom exclusion going on anywhere? Didn’t think so. If anything, they strive to recognize women through its Pinktober accessories, a color normally associated with femininity.

Sure, the NFL has its share of Ray Rice PR nightmares and a long way to go toward acknowledging proper treatment of women. But this blog is specifically about marketing and advertising. When it comes to marketing, the NFL has a track record of phenomenal success, and advertisers pay big money to be a part of it.

Bobby, perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at your marketing message, and how you can better capitalize on selling to dads. Take a close look at the NFL and how it succeeds.

Better yet, take a moment to talk to some dads and ask how they feel. All too often, we hear from dads who feel left out of things, and miss special moments, and it’s time for the exclusion to stop at least in the ad world.

Try the shoe, er the Boppy, on the other foot.