Where are the dads in the Disney galaxy?

For all the positive mojo Disney cranks out on a regular basis, it appears to have a genuine problem with finding – how shall we say it – balance.

Last week a story circulated on the Internet titled, “Where Are the Moms in the Star Wars Galaxy?”  The writer argued that while mothers do play a role in the Star Wars universe, they don’t receive as much thematic prominence as father-son/child relationships.  It’s a thought-provoking piece with strong merit – highly recommended.

Then, just two days later, Disney Parks revealed the members of its 10th annual Moms Panel – an online forum for everyday people to share helpful tips and vacation planning advice.disneymoms6.png

The problem is, the panel isn’t a representative sample of everyday peopleit’s overwhelmingly comprised of only moms.  Of course, this is not a bad thing, but the imbalance is; it’s important to remember that dads are part of families, and vacation planning involves them, because they too have plenty to share with potential travelers about the topic.

But Disney awkwardly placed a lone dad on this year’s Moms Panel, thereby disrespecting and ignoring his parental title and thus cutting last year’s dad total – if you can believe it – in half.

Its actions disregard fathers as fully competent, equal parents, much in the same vein that Jif Peanut Butter’s long-standing catchphrase excludes dads as dedicated customers.disneymoms1

We wrote about the Disney Parks Moms Panel last fall and received positive feedback from readers who also implored Disney to catch up with the modern world and to better represent what families mean today.

We realize that equality takes time, so we didn’t expect Disney to instantly even out the number of women and men on the panel, although doing so would rightfully provide a true representation of all parenting travel issues.  However, we thoughtfully anticipated a name change in the spirit of authentic, modern parenting.

Unfortunately, Disney let us all down, because it’s not just dads that end up on the short end of the stick.  It’s the kids and the spouses who deserve a vacation planned at least partly through a fatherly perspective.  But they’ll hardly get that, because instead, dads are being treated like second-class parents who simply don’t matter.

Hilton also operates a similar travel panel with a comparable name – Hilton Mom Voyage – and it has a mere three dads among 30 panelists.

Echoidisneymoms4ng the words of the Star Wars column, dads deserve better.

The members of next year’s Disney panel will be announced soon enough, but why wait that long to properly rename the panel?

Disney, let’s make things right, because families are stronger – and vacations are more magical – when we’re united as parents.

Plum Organics shows why every parent should buy Plum Organics

Marketing is, in a way, a lot like baseball.plumorganics2

One good at-bat can erase a bad one, and in the world of marketing, companies get plenty of turns at the plate. Those at-bats can come in the form of television advertising, display ads, billboards, radio ads, promotions, Internet, social media, and on and on.

In our view from the dadmarketing dugout, we’d like to say “we’ve seen it all,” but we all know that’s not true.

For every mainstay like Jif Peanut Butter – who can’t seem to make any hitting adjustments despite facing different pitchers (customers) which it used to encounter decades ago – we find new players and new attitudes infusing the marketing game.

Those fresh approaches to the game are called game changers, and our latest marketing discovery (right) could be the best magazine advertisement of all-time, but at the risk of hyperbole, let’s at least declare it a solid walk-off homer for the ages.

Let us reintroduce you to Plum Organics, a company who competes in the Baby Division.

For most teams in this group, marketers commonly like to play defense, or at least conservatively at best, by only dialoguing with moms in its messaging. Rather than taking new, inventive approaches to the game, these teams recoil, shy away and almost shrink when it comes to the plausible notion that dads raise children in today’s world. Most of these teams would rather play the game the same way it has always been played, and stick to a formula that it believes is safe.

We wrote about Plum Organics back in January and it wasn’t all favorable. But today, after we encountered its latest magazine display ad, we found it has unveiled a renewed swing with an energetic approach that finally matches its overall fashionable style.plumorganics1

Concerning its website, plumorganics.com, you’ll note that we penned: “Based on its website, the company actually seems fairly admirable. We love its charitable efforts, admire its refreshingly generous use of dads in photos, and dig the story of how Neil Grimmer founded the company.”

In our general assessment of marketing to dads, we’re not looking for total dad inclusion to the point of mom exclusion – only equality in parenting to where no one is left out. Neither gender should be discriminated against. Both parents count.

Plum Organics’s latest ad, where a dad is prominently featured, pulls off a clear message that dads unequivocally are parents, too. Take note that another parent, presumably mom, is also featured in the background holding a child. But in this ad it’s dad who takes the spotlight, and it works. Wonderfully.

In fact, we love everything about this advertising masterpiece: its layout, its font selection, its soft feel, its simplicity, its captivating photo upon which nearly any dad can relate. We embrace it all.

The continuity continues on its website (it always has), as well as robust use of the ever-nifty, super-solid #ParentingUnfiltered hashtag. Why couldn’t Similac use such an inclusionary hashtag? Why can’t Amazon Mom consider a unified name? Why can’t Jif step up to the plate with a new attitude?

Here’s to the marketers of Plum Organics, whose sweet swing instantly put it among the very elite of Major League Marketing, ensuring optimum business operations where it counts, making it attractive to buyers of all shapes and sizes – and genders.

Growing pains

nutrientsforlifeIn the grand marketplace of life, there are some aisles relatively free of dad exclusion.

True, we’ve seen marketers spoil campaigns for all kind of products and services, but we know we’ll especially find blunders, for example, with those items revolving around child rearing: lunch items, diapers, juice boxes, cereal.

It’s not that we’re giving these companies a free pass, it’s just that our expectations are so low. Put another way, you expect to see garbage in a landfill; anything else is a surprise.

But then there are products that are hard to mess up. I mean, how could any organization who promotes fertilizer really be guilty of dad exclusion? We’re talking fertilizer!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Nutrients for Life Foundation, a group whose mission is to “provide science-based information that helps educate people about the beneficial role of fertilizer.”

It seems like an admirable group, and their recipe card is actually quite novel in how it reminds us that fertilizer is needed to help the apples (used in the recipe) grow.

The truth is that NFLF probably meant no harm. This isn’t Kix cereal or Jif Peanut Butter, who actively make no bones about who they want to buy their product.

However, their cute message to “thank mom for the cookies” continues to perpetuate an old-fashioned stereotype, a myth that the kitchen is a place only for mothers (an assertion I’m sure many moms would dislike), and thus dads get excluded in the process.

NFLF’s website boldly proclaims that “Growth Begins with Education,” and thankfully dadmarketing believes the same: growth among marketers for dad inclusion begins with educating them about why this topic is so important.

The good news is that NFLF seems to know a thing or two about recipes, and how you can tinker with the formula to make it even better. The same applies to marketing.

What do you say NFLF?

Bad medicine

Change is hard for products stuck in the past, but for a company that’s brand new it may be easier to look drcocoamodern and get things correct right from the start.

Take for instance, sports nicknames. If I started a new professional sports franchise, do you think there’s any chance I’m going to choose an antiquated and offensive team name like the Redskins, Indians, or Chiefs?

No. Way.

So what in the name of Jif Peanut Butter is going on with new children’s medicine Dr. Cocoa?

If you’ve been unlucky enough to get your hands on a copy of the October 2014 Parents magazine, you’ll notice that there’s an ad for a new kids medicine called Dr. Cocoa (pictured). In Dr. Cocoa’s advertising world, dads simply don’t count.

Dr. Cocoa continues to perpetuate the unfortunate notion that dads don’t really take care of sick kids at night. That’s supposedly what moms do, and dads are pinch hitters at best.

There’s nothing like introducing a new product with a decent premise and completing blowing the premiere by alienating dads right from the start.

And I thought owls were supposed to be “wise” creatures.