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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Dirty laundry

Once again in the ad world, we find that dads don’t exist.dreft1

This time the guilty party is Dreft, who believes that dads don’t fit the gentle, soft, sweet nature of their detergent. Dreft no doubt figured it was much easier to leave dads out of this October 2014 Parents magazine ad, because the ad copy is so gentle, soft and sweet that we figure there’s no way a dad and his rough, tough demeanor could have been a part of writing it.

In fact, had a dad penned it, this is how the ad might have ended up:

EVERY DAY IS AMAZING, isn’t it dads? You’ll never forget the first time you caressed that impossibly shiny beer bottle’s glass, stroked that smooth new golf club you bought, and breathed in the sweet smell of buffalo wings delivered to your man cave by your doting wife. From the very first dreft2moment, the tiny feet on your smart phone holder left a giant footprint on your heart…and you swore you’d protect everything that made you a guy forever.

That’s why, for 80 years, dads haven’t taken care of their kids, but rather have done what they wanted to, when they wanted to, keeping the same schedule and lifestyle as when they were single – it’s a formula that’s tough on the family, but gentle enough for your buddies. Hyper-active while at the sports bar with an outdoorsy-smelling scent, dads bring cuddle time rarely at home, because they really don’t do any level of warm and fuzzy.

DadsR’ntUs

babiesrusIt’s one thing to diss dads throughout fatherhood, but it takes real chutzpa to do it while the baby hasn’t even come out of the mother’s womb.

And that’s exactly what BabiesRUs accomplished as they effectively discounted at least 18 million dads with one swift blow.

We recently came across the The Big Baby Book from BabiesRUs (Winter 2013/14 edition), a self-promotion sales catalog disguised as a magazine.

The odd thing is, it starts off so amazingly, refreshingly strong with a super cool image and ad copy to back it up. Note the inside cover showing a photo of both mom and dad with the words, “Congratulations! You’re having a baby!”

Here we’re obligated to extend extra bonus points to BabiesRUs for getting it right on at least one page (pictured). Because mom carries the baby, so often those you’re having a baby words are only directed to her, leaving the dad behind and made to feel like he’s not a part of the pregnancy. It was neat to babiesrus2see an ad extend congrats to both parents for once, especially the words, “You’re having a baby!”  Nice to see a company make a dad feel like a part of the pregnancy.

Well done, Backwards R.

However, it goes downhill from there. Turn the page and you’ll find a special pull-out page with the words, “Moms’ #1 Baby Registry.” If you missed it there, don’t worry, the words are repeated a few pages later. And throughout the 98 pages you’ll encounter a total of 20 images of moms compared to a mere five dads. Dads care for and raise kids, so why the off-balance ratio? It’s just not right, BabiesRUs.

Finally, if that isn’t enough to make dads shoulders feel a little cold, the back cover slams home with certainty who exactly BabiesRUs wants to shop with them as they pronounce, “BabiesRUs registry: Chosen by 18 million moms…and counting!”

Over on our Twitter site we often use the hashtag #dadscounttoo.

Yes indeed, BabiesRUs, dads do count, too. Hopefully you’ll start counting them as a part of your customer base someday soon.

You can lead a marketing department to a fruit flavored beverage, but you can’t make it drink

According to the Tum-E Yummies, “moms see goodness” and “kids see fun,” but you know what dadmarketing sees?tumeyummies

Complete senseless and meaningless dad exclusion.

The image pictured is a screen shot from the webpage of BYB Brands, a company that hasn’t quite figured itself out yet, nor its product. Or, perhaps it hasn’t really proofread its own work. In either case, it doesn’t excuse this stereotypical, stuck-in-the-past marketing disarray.

Take a look at their slogan: Create and sell brands people want!

How can this be? Their web copy doesn’t even back it up, for BYB isn’t marketing their brands to people – only mothers. Over and over on the BYB website, and at the Tum-E Yummies website, they merely address moms, not even giving dads the time of day.

There’s also a trite For Parents section, a true anomaly that could only be fashioned by a marketing department at odds with its own self. Here again, this predictable segment solely speaks to moms, a divide they created themselves by neglecting dads everywhere.

Part of their copy includes the oddities, “A mom-approved escape from the routine,” and “It’s not everyday you get to be a good mom and a fun mom,” and “Fun hydration moms and kids can agree on” – quirks by way of featuring boys on the site, future men that will be completely disregarded upon fatherhood by the very company whose drinks they enjoy.

That’s some business plan for future success, huh?

BYB apparently holds dear to the timeworn marketing impulse that moms still handle the kids, cook the meals, provide the snacks, and dads basically don’t shop.

Fortunately, poor execution (and websites) can be corrected easily.

Is BYB and Tum-E up to the task?

Labor over this

In many cases, dad remains as the provider for the family. Statistics show that men traditionally make more money than women (which I think we all can agree is unfair), therefore making dad the unofficial breadwinner.

But no matter whether you’re a dad or a mom, there remains the ugly truth that many are workaholics. We put in hours-upon-hours after work, staying late, working on the weekend, all to try and get ahead or impress the boss. So often it doesn’t even result in more pay, just more time away from loved ones.

If you’re a casual sports fan, you may have heard that James Harrison, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, just retired from football last week. Harrison spent 10 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and one final season with Cincinnati. He was a great success on the field.

But did you see what he said upon announcing his retirement?

“I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today,” Harrison’s statement said. “My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career.

My love for the game isn’t strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school.”

Harrison is only 36, yet I’ve heard some share these same sentiments at 63. Admittedly, there are some professions where working long hours are part of the business, and most know that when they get into it in the first place.

But imagine how many dads go an entire lifetime focusing more on work than anything, to the neglect of their family. No one on their death beds ever said they wished they had worked more. Work is important in our lives, but do you live to work, or work to live?

Perhaps this Labor Day all dads can take a moment to rest, and do it with family. Your kids don’t want gifts, money, or entertainment – they want your time.

A Walgreens surprise

I was surprised to learn that the word “hack” has exactly 19 different definitions at dictionary.com, and 24 if you count “verb phrases.” Perhapswalgreens even more surprising is the mostly negative connotations that come with the word hack: to damage, to cut ruthlessly, to kick at shins (ouch).

But we’re groomed from a very young age to believe that all surprises are a good thing, so Walgreens keeps my surprises coming. First, they not only choose to use the word hack with its latest foray into the Twitter-verse, but second, they alienate dads by putting only the word “mom” in front of it, and then hashtagging it.

As you can imagine already, this of course, is the theme of Walgreens’ newest Twitter ad campaign (pictured) that allows us to chuckle at all of our kids’ oopsies in life, which never go “according to plan,” and feature children making all kinds of laughable, silly, goofy messes.

A recent magazine ad states, “We’ve got your back, whenever and wherever you need us,” and urges us to buy their new line of Well Beginnings products (and nope, there isn’t any dad on their website to be found).

What would motivate a dad to shop at Walgreens after seeing this skewed Twitter crusade?

It sounds like their marketing people are hanging out with the Proctor & Gamble people – people who renounce or surrender individual independence, integrity, belief, in return for money in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment.

Yeah, that’s a definition of something that rhymes with “ack.” Surprise, surprise.

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.