I think we’d all agree that sports involve some measure of teamwork. Even so-called individual sports like golf and tennis have caddies, coaches and often an army of behind-the-scenes aides to help athletes achieve their best.
Applegate could have used their sports analogy quite well in its recent cross-promotion with Stonyfield and Annie’s, but instead completely drops the ball by forgetting one of its teammates.
As we’ve seen so many times before, dads were not just left on the sidelines, they weren’t even invited to play.
Applegate calls their latest pairing with Stonyfield and Annie’s “Mom’s Dream Team for Lunch,” then uses more words to make sure dads really feel the hurt:
- “We invited Stonyfield and Annies (sic) over for lunch!”
- “As friends and teammates, we share the same goals.”
Let’s take a look at some of these words that must surely pain dads: invited, friends, teammates, share same goals. Applegate clearly places moms on the team, because this new pairing was already referenced earlier as Mom’s Dream Team for Lunch. Dads on the other hand, as was already established, weren’t even invited.
So, as we decipher this ad further we find that Applegate not only excludes dads, but they classify dads as playing on a different team: dads aren’t friends with Applegate; they aren’t teammates; they don’t share the same goals.
In sports or in business, winning is hard work. But spread around to everyone it lightens the load.
Hopefully Applegate won’t realize that too late, because losing hurts even more.
Why 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Shhh dads, please, keep it down!
Go back inside the sports bar, onto the golf course, into your fishing boats, or downstairs into your man cave. I realize there are only a few places men spend their time, but hide wherever you can, lest the brain trust at Baby Einstein figure out that there is indeed such a thing as a man cave, or that dads even exist. Don’t blow this, or you might end up having to (swallow hard) raise your children.
Think I exaggerate? I dare you to visit babyeinstein.com and try to find a dad cuddling-with-child. Although I can’t say I covered every page, I did come across one lone male somewhere buried in the “For parents” section. However, the ratio must be something like 1,000,000-to-1.
Either Baby Einstein is run entirely by women, or a by management staff who foolishly believes women make all purchase decisions, or their stock photography database simply includes no males. Who am I kidding, it’s probably all of the above.
Albert Einstein’s name is synonymous with intelligence, but I think even he’d be scratching his head over this stuff.