Do you say ‘my kids’ or ‘our kids’? The difference is big

For those of you who have children:  when you talk about your kids to others, do you refer to them as “my kids” or “our kids”?noodleandboo1

It’s a major difference, and that distinction of one word says a lot.  The former connotes a more possessive or singular approach, whereas the latter sends a signal of togetherness and unity.  If you use the “my” term, it may seem harmless and might be completely unintentional, but it conveys a certain message – like it or not – to others and to your partner.

Take a look at Noodle & Boo, makers of luxurious baby and pregnancy skin care.  The product is found at high-end retailers, coveted by Hollywood stars, and it generally adheres to an impressive and upstanding company mission statement while supporting several charitable causes.

Now check out its latest ad, where it mentions “Only the best will do for her baby,” and the “first 100 mamas to follow @noodleandboollc and tag #mamaprofile with your favorite photo of you and baby…”

Isn’t the baby his, too?noodleandboo2

noodleandboo3Don’t dads use social media?

We can’t deny that some products and ads are marketed toward a certain gender, especially pregnancy skin care.  However, this ad was printed in a parents magazine.  And this particular product line it’s selling in this ad – it’s for babies.  That child is to be raised by parents, which includes dads.  No marketing piece should ever exclude dads and make them to be the lesser parent, as if they don’t matter.  Using the word “parent” instead of “mama” won’t make or break the business model, and it won’t make a female look away in disgust.

But it will make a dad feel included, feel like he matters to a company, and will make him take notice.

Believe us when we say dads notice.  Take a look on social media to find all the dads fully engaged in marketing messages and how they’re portrayed by retailers.  Old Navy, Huggies, Jif, Amazon – these are just a few of the companies that have been singled out by dads through viral campaigns to get them to change their ways.

It’s disappointing to see the exclusion in word choice and via advertisement photos, but that practice continues at its website, where a dad is nearly non-existent – save for a few celebrity dads it uses to sell its line of products.

When it comes to parenting, let’s hope Noodle & Boo acknowledges all the dads out there, because with Noodle & Boo, only the best will do, and dads count too.

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Reel influence

For as many superhero movies as have been created in Hollywood, you’d think by now the industry might take heed of their own advice, “With great power comes great responsibility.”mrmom

The movie industry wields immense power in more ways than one because we love our movies. We watch them in the theater, we rent them, we buy them, we subscribe to them, we quote them, we wear them, we sleep on them, we tattoo them on our bodies.

Movies have huge fan-base followings with week-long conventions. Movies have specific theme park rides. Movies spend millions on advertising campaigns, in fast food restaurants, on billboards. 

Some movies will be eternally watched by the next generation on different formats, living on forever in pop culture fame. Others may never be watched again.

Most are probably in between, but their influence remains.

Take “Mr. Mom,” for instance, and the lasting legacy it has left on dad stereotypes.

The film was made 31 years ago, enjoyed quite decent success, and was clearly a product of its times. In the early 1980s women were making fantastic strides in various arenas. Sandra Day O’Connor was named the first woman justice of the Supreme Court. Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space. Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman nominated by a major political party to run for vice president of the United States.

These historic events brought about major changes to women. It opened up doors to professions that had normally belonged to men, and demanded equality in nearly every walk of life. It wasn’t perfect and still isn’t, but the gender balance was becoming more balanced.

Given all these events, it was no wonder that famed movie writer John Hughes came up with a mom-dad role reversal movie that many found hilarious. Three decades later, stay-at-home dads are still not the norm, but it’s easy to find humor in the storyline.

The name itself is so self-explanatory, that one hardly needs to see the movie poster or even watch a clip to wonder what it might be about. Its title has been used over and over so many times that it alone demonstrates the power of the movie industry, and overall media influence.

Nearly any reference to a stay-at-home dad, whether in media or informal conversation references the movie title. A label was born, and it will never go away. “Back to the Future” is another over-referenced movie title that comes to mind, and seems to work its way into language anytime someone needs a catchy reference to the future.

If the “Mr. Mom” movie had been given a different title, say, “Switcheroo,” would the movie have slipped out of our pop culture consciousness a long time ago? If Hughes were able to bring back the original cast for a sequel, would a title and premise such as “Mrs. Dad” have the same effect?

I have no issue with the “Mr. Mom” movie concept. But we must all remember the thought, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Truly, the next time you’re ready to tell a story – dear movie industry – and spend money on actors, sets and marketing, consider that you’re not only investing in millions of dollars, but also into the human psyche, for which there is no price tag.

And the only sequel to that is the next generation of consumers, of whom you apply great influence.