We’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is dad inclusion

For decades, health and wellness product marketers have placed mom in the lead when it comes to taking care of sick children. For example, it’s commonplace to see children’s medications employ the phrase “mom recommended” or “used by more moms.” The concept is based on the notion that mom is the nurturer and caregiver, and the only one who nurses a sick child back to health while dad is not involved.exergen3.png

We all know that times have changed, and that today’s modern family is different from those of yesteryear.

Thermometer-maker Exergen has been circulating a promo lately that continues with this same premise. Yet it takes the gender-biased language even further by creating what it calls a “Mother’s Rebate.” This, of course, creates the awkward situation where a dad could plausibly apply for and receive a rebate that supposedly was not intended for him.

It’s difficult to accept this slanted name for a variety of reasons, not the least of which that it discounts fathers as true parents. exergen.jpg

This makes the irony just that much greater when you visit its website, where it proudly boasts that Exergen is “changing the way the world takes temperature.” However, dads are a part of this world, too. In our estimation, Exergen’s promo is only perpetuating old-fashioned stereotypes that squarely disregard dads as nurturers and caregivers.

Let’s hope Exergen can get it straight before its self-made dad-exclusion-fever reaches new levels. After all, there are other brand name thermometers out there.

Quality marketing is their recipe

How refreshing is this latest email campaign from Wendy’s?wendys

In a world where marketers often perceive moms as the parent-in-charge, here’s an invigorating approach from a company that’s simply giving both parents their rightful due. It was plain and simple, but it got the job done.

There’s no special web tab titled, “For moms.”

They don’t overdo it in the other direction with some out of place, one-time deal for dads so often seen only in June.

Their website doesn’t look overly frilly or feminine, as baby websites so often do.

They did their own way, and did it right – by focusing on family.

Like so many companies before them whose stories have been revealed right here at dadmarketing, Wendy’s had every opportunity in the world to exclude dads and put moms solely in the spotlight.

Rather, they use the words parent and family at every chance they get. While it’s not exactly a shared 50-50 equivalency among photos of moms and dads, we don’t think it’s necessary.

Their mission and focus is carefully crafted by a team who stuck to a game plan by highlighting the adoptees, and in turn, present some touching stories with class and dignity that make all parties feel welcome. They realize that families come in all shapes and sizes, and they didn’t exclude anyone in the process.

It was only one little email, but Wendy’s has dadmarketing’s highest Seal of Approval, and others should take lessons from them.

Wendy’s goal here wasn’t about hamburgers or the bottom line, but it all makes perfect business sense.

Well done, Wendy’s.

If everybody else gets to write a list, we can too

Why bother?

ImageWhy would any company waste time marketing to dads?

Marketing to dads matters. Let us count the ways, and since lists seem to make the Internet go ‘round, here’s ours:

  1. It’s not about who uses the card, but about everything before the credit card is swiped – Anybody can put a Star Wars t-shirt in a shopping cart, but more went into that decision than you think.  What, or who, influenced it?  Maybe it’s dad’s love of the movie franchise that rubbed off on their kids.  Maybe it was a commercial the family saw while watching a hockey game together.  Maybe it is dad’s influence on a certain store the family frequents.  Maybe dad researched everything about the product online for the mom.  Maybe dad simply looks good in the shirt.  Any marketer can sit all day long in a store and prove that it was mom after mom who swiped that credit card in Target, but a wise researcher will investigate the whole story.
  2. No matter how small the slice is on the pie chart, it’s still a slice, and it still tastes like pie – I heard a weathercaster once say, “Even though there’s a 70% chance of rain today, remember that there’s a 30% chance it won’t.”  So, let’s say for example, that moms handle 70% of the purchasing.  Is a company really doing to ignore that potential 30% of dads who buy stuff?  Cereal makers do all the time, and if I was their CEO, I’d start looking for a new marketing team, and fast.
  3. Isn’t equality a goal? – When you alienate someone and make them feel left out, you’re bound to really turn them off.  What’s wrong with marketing to both mom and dad at the same time?  Nothing!  You’ll still have the mom in your good graces, and the dad will feel like he was included, too.  The good baby websites, I’ve found, are the ones that use the word “parent” and have photos of the newborn baby with both mom and dad.  Isn’t that a cool thing to see?
  4. Loyalty is king – If you become friends with someone at work or school, that’s nice.  If that friend invites you to their home, your friendship suddenly deepens, and you’ve formed a bond that makes you feel even more connected.  You’ve become loyal to them.  The same connection happens with retailers, and it means far more than customer satisfaction.  Dads are loyal people.  As author and speaker Jeffrey Gitomer once said, “Customer satisfaction is worthless.  Customer loyalty is priceless.”
  5. The Internet still is a game changer – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for say, the past 25 years, you’ve heard of the Internet.  It’s a marvelous tool used to gather information fast from all around the globe.  As far as I know, dads have used it to gather information, read and write reviews, and purchase things.  Lots of things.  Take the “zo” out of Amazon and you have “A man.”
  6. Look no further than sports – If you don’t follow sports, check out the power of the NFL, NASCAR, or any other sports league, and you’ll find it dominated by dads who have an allegiance to athletes and their games like no other.  It’s a gazillion dollar industry that continues to grow and expand with time.
  7. Dads eat and buy cereal – I think June Cleaver gets a bum rap.  Everyone likes to make her the poster child for old-fashioned, outdated behavior. Leave it to Beaver was a good show with wholesome characters, simply a product of its times.  Cereal is notorious for neglecting dads.  Kix is a product of its times too, but even a Beaver sequel in the ‘80s didn’t keep using the same formula – it updated for the times.  Read our December 17, 2013 entry if you want to learn more about Kix’s useless and archaic orange box.  It really isn’t the 1950s anymore, Kix, so hop on board the 2014 bus with the rest of us.  If I was Doc Brown and I had some plutonium, I’d so throw you into a DeLorean and send you “Back to the”…well, you know where.
  8. Credit card companies know better – Credit card companies know that their pocket-sized flat payment tools are used by dads, too.  That’s why they have dudes in their ads.  I’d even go as far to say that credit cards were inherently designed for dads:  they’re lightweight and flat since dads don’t like to carry things; they have cool pictures on them; they’re durable; they’re largely free to get (dads like free things); even acquiring one is easy to do.  Leave it to Jedi Master tough guy Mace Windu to set the record straight:  men do indeed use credit cards as he asks the question to which he already knows the answer, “What’s in your wallet?” Dads carry wallets.  Moms carry purses.  Closed, the case is.
  9. Dad, meet Internet; Internet, meet Dad – Dads and computers met a long time ago, and they realize how to use them.  Even if dads don’t always make the final purchase, they’re surely reading about the product beforehand.  They’re commenting on it.  They’re reviewing it.  And did you see that Amazon is starting an online grocery store?  Frankly, dads are probably purchasing things more and more off the Internet, because every good marketer claims knows that dads don’t like to shop in stores, right?  So, watch it marketers, because the slightest misstep and you’ll have more than one dadmarketing site broadcasting it to the world.
  10. Step up right here and behold, the spectacle! – The way dads get dissed everywhere, it seems like marketers make them out to be some kind of mythical creature that doesn’t exist.  In that vein, I have channeled my inner Dr. Seuss:

Dads move, dads think, they eat, they blink.

Dads stand, dads sit, they throw, they hit. 

Dads run, dads fly, they drive, they buy. 

Dads can do lots of things, you see. 

So don’t deny their authority.