View Father’s Day in a different way

Dad’s day is almost here, and for weeks marketers have exhorted us to buy anything and everything – and everywhere. But like any holiday, the Father’s Day joy, hype and fuss will immediately cease come Monday, June 19.different.jpg

And like clockwork shortly after that, retailers will inevitably bemoan that Mother’s Day is larger than Father’s Day in terms of sales.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

To the optimist, that disproportion is merely an opportunity for growth. If when comparing those holiday sales the supposed disparity is a source of complaint, marketers should seize that chance to even the score.

That’s because a boost in revenue can happen by looking beyond Father’s Day. Yes, it’s predictable and expected to see plenty of dad-centric marketing in June, but then it often stops shortly after. Those companies who pander to dad but once a year are missing the opportunity to focus on dads for more than just a holiday. The mindset to include dads in advertisements should permeate everything a marketing department does, and brands should embrace dads year round.

Even still, the holiday shouldn’t just be about dads – that would be missing the point. Kids should also be acknowledged, who made them dads in the first place. Without them, there’s no Father’s Day. The same goes for moms, who make dads better men through their support and love.

Some claim that dads are difficult to buy for on Father’s Day, but why? Is it possible that those people, too, are as guilty as many corporations across America? Dads have plenty of passions, hobbies, and interests, so more than likely, those people simply never bothered to talk to dad. And isn’t the “butt of jokes” gift-buying-shtick for Father’s Day getting a little old? Mom ends up with meaningful, thoughtful gifts like chocolate and flowers, but dad? So often it’s the tacky tie he’ll never wear, or the mounted talking fish, or some other “let’s poke fun at dad” gift. Those gifts certainly have their place and they may provide a short-lived funny family moment, but so often they ultimately come off as corny, embarrassing, and useless. Companies would do well to promote expressive and sentimental gifts, if not merely worthwhile and important ones. For instance, national retailer Brad’s Deals, who questioned over 700 of its shoppers in 2016, found the number one gift customers wanted to give their dad was simply spending time with him.

The real secret to happiness on Father’s Day is time – give dad plenty of it.

The spectacle of Father’s Day can go beyond just gift shopping, too. It should include targeting dads themselves, who may have been eyeing a product or service, allowing them to lay subtle hints at their loving family.

Dads want to feel special on Father’s Day – and every day – and marketers can play a big hand in that because it will help nurture stronger customer relationships.

Surprise – a dad could win this mom contest

Stereotypes, media and long-held assumptions might make you believe that more men buy power tools than women – and maybe that’s true.  Maybe it’s not.

But either way, you’re certainly not going to find major home improvement retailers running campaigns which target only men.

It’s bad business.  It alienates customers.  It’s sexist.  It’s wrong.armour

Unfortunately, that’s not the way business works at Armour, which makes various food products, most notably meats.  There, it unveiled the exclusionary Great Moms Sweepstakes, running now through November.

No, it has nothing to do with Mother’s Day, and yes, anyone can enter – which means that a dad could be named a “great mom” and receive $5,000 in free groceries.

It’s hard to fathom just how Armour – founded in 1867 by two men – could create a campaign that ignores fathers contributions in today’s equality-seeking world.  Digital salt is rubbed in the wound when Armour uses its website to try and justify its oddly named contest:

Join us as we honor Great Moms – the everyday unsung heroes who give their all for their family and ask for nothing in return. We are celebrating and surprising deserving moms nationwide all year. Follow along on our website and Facebook Page for news and updates from our events.

To be sure, moms deserve those kind words in entirety – but so do dads.

Imagine you’re a dad who’s just read that text, and you’re thinking about all the work you’ve done to help raise your kids:  diapers changed, stories read, baths given, shopping trips made, youth sports attended, gifts bought, meals cooked, snacks made – and it has all been overlooked.  Your contribution means nothing.  So why should you continue buying its products?  You probably won’t, which is unfortunate.armour2.png

Ignoring dad’s contribution as an equally unsung hero disregards his status as a true, equal parent.

Armour even awkwardly uses photos of men (dads?) on its Facebook page to promote the contest.  And how strange will it look if a dad ends up being its winner?

The entire Armour campaign is a missed opportunity to celebrate parenting – not just moms – because we all know that roles are different in families now, and that they all come in different shapes and sizes.

Here’s a case for combining Mother’s and Father’s Day into one holiday

family2Last month on Mother’s Day, we overheard a young dad offering well wishes to a fellow friend, an elderly mom.  The mom extended a kind “thanks” in return, and then shared with a smile:

“Mother’s Day, Father’s Day – they’re really the same thing.  We should just have one ‘Parents Day,’ because parents raise kids together these days.  Everyone has the same job.  We’re all celebrating today, and I hope you have a great day, too!”

That’s some seriously wise knowledge from a veteran mother.

This mom was probably born about a decade after women finally gained the right to vote, so she’s seen changing societal roles and struggles for equality – all while being raised during a time when women didn’t typically work outside the home.

If any person has a reason to be set in her ways or subscribe to old-fashioned thinking, it would be her.

Yet instead, she has it all figured out.  She gets it.  She knows parenting isn’t a one-sided affair where one gender takes the lead, the other serves as an assistant or part-time helper.  She knows dads are just as competent, instinctual, effective and equal as moms when it comes to parenting.

Why don’t companies and their marketing employees think the same?

Technically, there is a Parents’ Day in the United States, held on the fourth Sunday of July.  However, that holiday hardly has the traction of its individual counterparts.

The truth is, we need holidays to celebrate each parental unit.  Moms and dads are different, and they parent different – and we say celebrate that.

So, let’s keep things the way they are, but recognize that no holiday is more important than the other.  We all have a father and a mother, whether we know them or not.

They deserve a day to be honored individually.

And they’re equal parents in every way.

Because dads are nurturers, too

armsreach1It’s a nice breath of fresh air when someone isn’t afraid to show a dad in a nurturing, or dare we say, snuggly position.  But that’s exactly the case with Arm’s Reach, who does what’s unfortunately the unthinkable for so many baby product companies – placing a baby carrier on dad.

It’s a sight we’ve all seen before, be it the park, library, or store. But for some reason, companies have a hard time going there.

Alas, the ad is great, where Arm’s Reach takes a small and brief moment to show a dad in a positive fashion, which validates that it must believe – on some level – dads do indeed shop and parent, too.

Last year, a Kansas City television station put the combination of dads and baby wraps in ksn3a less-than-flattering light while simultaneously making a mockery of fathers in other ways.  That station would do well to learn from this undertaking by Arm’s Reach, who isn’t afraid to put dad in an ad that also promotes a bassinet.

Anything placing dad in a position of nurturer is encouraging and needed.  Mother’s and Father’s Day occur in back-to-back months, yet you’ll be hard pressed to find many hearts on cards for dad – it’s more like neckties, easy chairs, power tools and beer mugs.

We say celebrate the love and warmth that comes from a father.

Keep up the good work, Arm’s Reach.  We’ve already heard from a few dads who appreciate the message you’re sending to America!