Yogurt needs a marketing makeover

Yogurt is no more a feminine product than a bowl of oatmeal is masculine, but try telling that to your mouth – or your mind.

Product positioning has long labeled yogurt as diet food, which attracts a certain kind of customer. And that customer is typically female – one who tends to be concerned with how she looks to others.yoplait.png

Genderizing a product is really nothing new. The Marlboro Man sold cigarettes to men for decades. Hungry Man dinners and Chunky Soup appeal to men, as well. There are also plenty of other pointlessly gendered products that are sure to draw a chuckle.

Much of it is nonsense. Of course, there’s nothing feminine about milk, cream, fruit and sugar blended into one. Executives are merely trying to target their strongest demographic by positioning products around selling points that appeal to women.

So we know how they do it, and we know why they do it, but a larger question remains: why turn away revenue by ignoring those remaining customers?

The NFL remains one of the most successful American ventures around. It enjoys a varied mix of massive fan interest via huge TV ratings, millions of tickets sold, team apparel, fantasy leagues and its own TV network. The list could go on and on. Let’s also not forget that little game played at the end of the season which has become a cultural phenomenon like no other – the Super Bowl. This event has become far more than just a football game. Super Bowl commercials are a spectacle to behold, achieving status as the most valuable piece of TV marketing real estate in the world.

Yet despite the large focus on advertising, there’s no doubting that football is predominantly a man’s game. There has not been a single female player in the history of the NFL, and this male-dominated business appeals heavily to the masculine side of human nature.

But does that mean females can’t enjoy the game? Does that mean that women can’t be involved in the industry elsewhere? Does that mean women and football don’t belong together? Of course not.nfl2.png

Rather than focus 100 percent of its effort on targeting males even further, the NFL has invested millions in marketing campaigns aimed at women.

Female viewership of the NFL grew by 26 percent from 2009 to 2013, according to Athletic Business, which also said that 53 million women in the U.S. watched the 2015 Super Bowl, almost half the total audience of 114 million.

Couldn’t Yoplait do the same with men and dads in their world? Instead, it touts a #MomOn campaign that squarely ignores the contribution of fathers to raising and nurturing children.yoplait2.jpg

Today’s customers demand inclusion, equality and far less stereotyping. Dads are being left out in a really unfortunate way, and promotions like #MomOn aren’t doing anyone favors, because it also unnecessarily heaps all the responsibility on women.

It’s going to take a little more work than having Cam Newton serve as a spokesperson or slapping “Official Yogurt of the NFL” on cups. And we certainly don’t need more genderized gimmicks like Brogurt. Remember what happened to Lady Doritos?

Yogurt need to be reimagined, because today’s modern family has changed and parenting is shared.

The first yogurt who can figure this out stands to reap tremendously in a confused and oversaturated yogurt industry.

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The boldest prediction we’ve ever made

intelligender2When a child starts playing sports, parents will do everything imaginable to be a part of that child’s team.  Whether it’s organizing a booster club, volunteering at the concession stand, providing snacks, coaching, or simply cheering loudly from the stands, parents love to get actively involved.

Dads and pregnancy are often the same.  Aside from carrying out the actual birth, dads routinely like to get as close to the action as possible:  going to doctor appointments, prepping the baby’s new room, narrowing down baby names, shopping, and so on.  We’ve even met several guys, who like the mothers-to-be, will watch what foods they eat as a show of solidarity.

Alas, men love being team players and involvement, which makes this latest ad by IntelliGender all the more confusing.  Here it tries to take the fun of predicting a child’s birth away from expecting dads.

Why exclude them?

Men love predictions.  An entire month each year is dedicated to brackets and determining the outcome of basketball games.  Meteorologists take educated guesses at the weather daily.  Presidential elections are constantly forecast and polled.

Anytime a pregnancy is involved, that means incessant planning, waiting and predicting – and it’s exactly like the pregame!

If Fox Sports can precede a Super Bowl with six hours of nonstop banter trying to prophesy the winner and speculate on players who will make an impact, wouldn’t most guys want to turn a life-changing, baby-to-be moment into a fun pre-birth experience?

Doesn’t IntelliGender think that guys would want in on this action, rather than exclude them?

Just imagine the entertainment.  Want to wager on the child’s gender?  How about bracketizing your name choices?  What’s the over-under on its weight and height?

Think of the enjoyment that could be spread around, not just with dad-to-be, but with everyone.  IntelliGender’s own slogan is “Share the joy!,” but its marketing materials hardly want to divvy it around.

Let’s hope IntelliGender can start to include dads in its future messages, or odds are, another company will beat them to it.

Continuing the Super Bowl momentum

If you were like the rest of the nation, glued to your TV set this past February 1 during the Super Bowl, you probably noticed that dads played a significant and positive role in several commercials. This was big news – as big as Tom Brady’s heroics – because we all know the commercials are nearly as important as the game itself, and judging by the price tag for 30 seconds of air time, it’s as substantial as TV ads get.subaru

Fast forward to today, and companies are continuing that momentum of solid sales, realizing that speaking to dads makes common business sense. They realize that dads matter – that dads count too – and that they’re speaking to them as the equal parents they are, and it turns the tide from a generation of stuck-in-time, old fashioned marketers which used to remain convinced that only mom made the family purchasing decisions.subaru2

The ever-excellent honordads.org pointed us to an ad so good it seems a crime to get up during a commercial break and miss it. Indeed, Subaru knocks it out of the park with this latest TV ad, which features a father cleaning out the family’s Forester as he prepares to pass it on to his now-grown-up daughter.

We admire the bold approach by Subaru, which proves with a soft and elegant touch that there’s more to parenting than the fallacy of dad merely acting as mom’s right-hand-assistant.

You may want a tissue while watching it, but we weren’t crying – we just had some dust in our eyes.

This is weird: a dad can buy Desitin at Amazon Mom

Johnson & Johnson, makers of Desitin, is at it again.

It puts dads in a box, seeing dads as the way it has always seen them, no matter how much times have changed.desitin2

You’ll find its latest ad and subsequent slogan, #1 with Pediatricians and Moms, is repeated twice on its latest two-page spread, featured where else but American Baby magazine, as well as highly visible at the top of its website — with its own separate “seal of approval” logo to boot.

And dads?

Completely nonexistent, from the print ad and all the way through every single web page at desitin.com.

Even though J&J/Desitin totally ignores dads, I still find it slightly odd that – through applying the troubling “dads don’t know how to handle babies” approach – it wouldn’t even seize that as an opportunity to highlight at least one dad on its website.

After all, with menu tabs like, “What is Diaper Rash?” and “Identifying Diaper Rash,” and having an only-moms-care-for-kids approach combined with a boxed-in, close-minded attitude toward fathers, you’d think Desitin would take the opportunity to feature that other, less involved “assistant” parent – you know, dads.

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Screen shot from desitin.com

We offered a review of a similar Desitin ad 9 months ago, and now here we are today, and it’s the same problem.

Isn’t that how some define insanity: continuing to do the same thing but expecting to get different results?desitin3

Good marketers can let go of the past and move on to a new future, growing the brand and branching out into other market segments.

Look at this past Super Bowl to see how much big-time marketing departments value fathers.

But doing the same thing over again results in a stagnant approach.  It may not translate directly into sagging sales today, but over time, and generations, it’s a surefire way to kill a brand.

Is J&J/Desitin up to the task?

Only time will tell.

But if it is, I suspect like diaper cream, it would see instant results.

Comparing bad apples to good oranges

We’re all looking to eat healthier in life, and judging by smarter food options that seem to be growing more readily halosavailable in the grocery and at restaurants, businesses are listening.

That’s making harder work for marketers, who’ve spent a lifetime selling the “sizzle” to generations who think only of their taste buds first, and taste buds second. Many still want instant gratification and happiness, and if that comes in the form of ridiculously unhealthy junk food, then so be it.

Most grocery stores spend little time on produce name brand offerings, and simply stock them accordingly with what they can get available through their distribution channels. The selection is all good, but as consumers, we don’t necessarily look on a pear for a brand label that doesn’t exist.

Enter Halos, and its promise of pure goodness grown inside the tiny wonder of the mandarin orange, perhaps nature’s even more perfect food than the ever-venerable banana and its once ubiquitous tagline.

I love and eat a lot of fresh produce, but I have to admit that I have never really cared much for the mandarin orange.

But the way Halos markets its fruit made me purchase some specifically from them, and isn’t that what marketing is supposed to do?

For starters, check out its addicting, sensational commercials with an entertaining, simple attitude that turn out to be memorable, and downright funny.

Halos could have easily taken the tired Jif approach and targeted only moms, but guess what – it included several dads in its brilliant Super Bowl quality spots – validating what we’ve been saying all along: fathers have the intellect and capacity to shop, and the instinct to feed their kids.

Go figure.

Now, wander over to its pleasant website – halosfun.com – where you’ll find a refreshing minimalism and uncomplicatedness in full force, reminiscent of the simple mandarin itself. There you’ll see plenty of words backing up what Halos presented visually in their commercials.

Like so many grocery store foods prior (yes, we’re looking at you again, Jif), Halos had plenty of chances to exclude dads, but it didn’t by using words like people, families and even a story about good ‘ol pops. Here’s a sampling:

“Liz Coulter works with Wonderful Halos to help people make healthier snack choices.”

“For snacking, kids’ lunch boxes, and families on the go, Halos are nature’s perfect treat.”

“My Dad always told me about receiving an orange in his stocking at Christmas each year, and that they looked forward to that kind of treat.”

“In fact, families like yours have made Wonderful the fastest-growing brand in America’s produce aisles.”

The fact that half of the energy for Halos’ packing facility comes from green energy generation ultimately confirms what we’ve seen since the beginning: Halos is a winner.

The Halos brand may be relatively new to the grocery store aisle, but judging by their dad exclusion-free attitude, we think they’ll be around for a long time.

Keep up the heavenly work, Halos.