You may look like a dad, but we’re going to call you a mom

similac13It would’ve been great to be a fly on the wall when the male model (featured in this ad) got the call from his talent agent to appear in this Similac magazine ad:

Agent: How’s my favorite client?
Model: I’m good.
A: Great news – I landed you a new photo shoot for a parents magazine ad.
M: That’s cool. What’s the company?
A: Similac.
M: Similac?
A: You know, they make baby formula.
M: Oh, right.
A: Anyway, they want you to appear in a grocery store aisle holding a cute little baby.
M: Simple enough.
A: But there’s one catch…
M: What’s that?
A: They want to call you a mom.
M: (Momentary pause) A mom? But I’m a guy.
A: I know, I know. You’ll still be playing the part of a dad, but you see, their tagline is “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood.”
M: But dads aren’t moms.
A: True, but Similac likes to use “mom” as a synonym for “parent.”
M: (Awkward silence) But isn’t baby formula the perfect product to sell to dads, especially since they can’t breastfeed?
A: Right again, but they don’t need dads as customers.
M: Why not?
A: Because they say only women take care of kids and shop.
M: But I shop.
A: You’re single. When you get married and have kids, you don’t shop anymore. That’s a mother’s job.
M: That seems kind of sexist.
A: But Similac is paying you big money to look and act like a dad. (Awkward silence) They just want to call you a mom.
M: Now it all makes sense. Where do I sign?

Once again, Similac takes the shared role of parenting and needlessly genders its product – thus turning it into a mothers-only thing. It’s all the more troubling because they (gasp), used the word “parent” twice in its ad copy, only to follow up with its obdurate tagline. It concludes with a partisan invitation for only moms to converse further on social media.

The ad looks even more abnormal when you consider its “sisterhood” theme of supporting the choice between breast- and bottle-feeding – and then reflect on the same underlying “choice” theme in this particular heading – with a dad included. Breastfeeding and a dad?

We like to think that, at some point, Similac will discontinue this madness of posing dads in ads and calling them mothers in a sisterhood, but it has company when it comes to miscasting roles.

 

 

Drefting away

When Similac unveiled its “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood” campaign this past January, there was a faction of dads and moms who lauded the inclusion of fathers in the commercial. It seems they were so ecstatic over not only actually seeing dads in a TV ad – but dads wearing babies – that they might have even been blinded by that awkward, old-fashioned tagline.

Alas, it’s doubtful there’s even one dad who can relate to “the Sisterhood of Motherhood.”

The video was only part of an exhaustive campaign over which we had even stronger thoughts, but unfortunately, Similac uses the same promo yet today as evidenced by its recent full page ad in the July 2015 American Baby magazine.dreft3

In that same magazine (page 41, to be exact), you’ll also find an ad for Dreft laundry detergent, which uses the slogan #AMAZINGHOOD.

That hashtag is a refreshing antidote to the exclusionary tagline used by Similac.

Imagine how different Similac’s campaign might have been if it – rather than using sister and mother – had simply used amazing, or even parent.

We’re not going to give Dreft a total free pass, as it still wants it both ways. Take a gander at dreft.com and click on “Our Story,” where it continues to believe that dads don’t exist. And its maker, P&G, has a steady practice of ignoring dads elsewhere, too.

But we’ll give credit where it’s due, because #AMAZINGHOOD is a fine word choice that doesn’t exclude dads – dads who care for their children and buy Dreft laundry detergent.

Dreft likes to tout that its product “has been trusted by moms for over 80 years,” but we suspect a dad or two has also placed its trust in Dreft over that time.

So, maybe in the next 80 years ahead, Dreft will finally begin to place trust in dads.

Now that would be #amazing.