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.

KSN = Kraving Serious News

ksn1Remember the time when TV journalists simply reported the news?

Me neither.

That practice seems to have disappeared, because today we find newscasters and reporters performing, serving more as entertainers. They don’t exactly act like play-by-play announcers simply reporting the action on the field, but they’re also not full-time color commentators. They’re somewhere in between.

News is the reporting of recent events whereby the media provides us with information, and the media is the watchdog of us all. But just because freedom of speech offers us the right to say anything we want, doesn’t mean it should be said.

Think about it: as you watch the news – just after news stories and in between segments or commercials – how often do we hear those little banters, or commentaries, or jokes, or diatribes on some social situation or person among desk anchors? It’s supposed to be a segue to a different topic where we see the anchors’ personality and human side, but instead the power of the media is so often used to influence many via one person’s opinion – whether intentional or not.

It’s likely the “reporting hat” and “show host hat” morphed into one with the major increase of morning shows, mid-day shows, afternoon shows and talk shows, where features and lifestyle stories and commentary blended into one giant pot labeled “TV news,” all under the banner of the network.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Watching the lighter and softer side of news is enjoyable and breaks up the seriousness, but reporting has certainly become less sharing of factual information, more entertainment.

Take, for instance, this recent story featured on Kansas Today on July 8, 2015 on KSN in Wichita, Kan.

Kansas Today’s Katie Taube gave fellow reporter and dad-to-be Mark Davidson, her husband and also dad-to-be Dylan Hagen, as well as veteran dad Leon Smitherman, a list of items to find at Babies R Us. They were asked to work together to find each item in order while a KSN camera crew followed them along.

What’s not clear is why this piece occurred at all?

Was this supposed to be some fish-out-of-water premise, putting manly-men in an environment with which they’re not familiar as we watch hilarity ensue? Was the station trying to send some bumbling guys on a wild goose chase for some impossible-to-find items? Were we supposed to laugh at their overall ineptness?

After you watch the video, scroll below to read the comment from one perceptive viewer named Marissa:

“Why are you mocking dads? My husband could run circles around me when it comes to many of the so-called ‘mother roles.’ We’re living in 2015 people! Why don’t you start mocking gays along with it!”

Well said, Marissa, for we find nothing humorous or newsworthy about men going shopping, especially for items that they’ll use to co-parent these new children.

ksn2Even if these particular men weren’t familiar with a “Diaper Genie,” it’s not like anyone couldn’t find it after a common sense search. These dads are going to become parents, not babysitters, and it’s their equal responsibility to raise them just as the mothers will.

Taube, Davidson, Hagen and Smitherman are probably kind, friendly, stand up people who meant no harm, but as we’ve said before on this site – they weren’t thinking this idea all the way through. And that’s just the problem, we need to think about others and how they might feel. No one likes to be labelled, stereotyped, left out or excluded, but that’s what marketers, media and entertainment do with dads all the time.

Generations ago, it was the father who went to his work while mother stayed home with the children. So, yes, once upon a time dads were perceived as the secondary, assistant parent while mom squarely took the lead. But those days are over, and yet today, some still perpetuate this bygone era.

If KSN continues with this treatment of news, what’s next week’s segment going to be? Filming moms while they enter the work force, laughing at all their mistakes as they try to make it in the “real” world? Following girls around as they attempt to play sports? Taping men who actually try to cook a meal and clean the home?

Times have changed, we all need to treat dads with the love and respect they deserve as parents – being every bit equal parents as mothers. No one is more important as a parent than the other.  Those moms-to-be have no more instinctual ability to parent the child than the dads do. They’re both parents.  Equally.

And next time, hopefully KSN will be reporting the news, not creating it.

PS: Best of luck to all parents-to-be!

A slam dunk for equality

When you get right down to it, dadmarketing is fighting for that same thing so many other groups in America also want: equality.minnesota

Our country was founded upon it, and when it’s not present somewhere, we all champion our own specific cause. At the very least, the concept of equality should offer equal rights under the law, but in our case, it’s more of a social obligation offering respect, and plus, it just makes sound business sense to include dads as part of a marketing campaign.

Recently we came across a photo (pictured) that was so uplifting, it’s worthy of a blog post even in this dadmarketing world.

The photo is plain and simple, a sign showing the future practice home and administrative offices of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

What caught our equality eye, was how not only that Lynx was acknowledged on the sign, but its name and logo were the same size as its NBA counterpart. Impressive!

First things first: we realize that the Minnesota T-Wolves are hardly the NBA’s premier franchise, but they’re still an NBA team. No, it’s not the Lakers or Heat, but their day will come, and someday they’ll be more recognizable to casual fans.

And although we love the WNBA and believe its competition is every bit worthy of attention and fame as any NBA team, the fact remains that it isn’t. Its own fans are wildly passionate, but for most average sports fans, women’s basketball is of small interest, as evidenced by much lower league TV ratings, attendance, advertising revenue and general fan interest than the NBA.

It’s not right, and we hope that changes someday.

Of course, its own league name is rather self-lowering (why isn’t the NBA the MNBA?) – that doesn’t help. And when one of its top college teams inadvertently degrades itself through a nickname, it proves that unfortunately, women’s pro basketball has a long climb to become as popular as the NBA.

Nevertheless, we offer our highest praise to the teams’ owners for putting the Lynx on the same equal footing as the T-Wolves. Very well done!

There are a lot of companies in our world that could follow your lead. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Jif … and Boppy … and Kix …)

Innovation is useless without marketing to match it

jifwhipsWhile we consider ourselves marketing watchdogs, we can certainly take a moment to give a product credit where it’s due.

Despite all the fair and deserving scrutiny we lend our friends at Smucker’s, we think Jif is a tasty and fresh product. (Just don’t expect a Christmas card from us this year, Jif.)

Product innovation, on the other hand, has never exactly been one of Jif’s strong points. After debuting in 1958, it took nearly two decades to introduce its extra crunchy flavor (1974), followed by a healthier version (1991), again, almost two decades after that.

Now, exactly two more decades after 1994’s Reduced Fat Jif, we now have Jif Whips, as we noticed in a primetime TV commercial last night.

It wasn’t like we were expecting to see the old-fashioned “Choosy” tagline eradicated from the ad, but we were hoping it might be a chance for Jif to match this product originality with the beginnings of a marketing slogan revolution that could catapult the company into modernism.

We should have known better.

Like an eighties child attached to tired catchphrases of yesteryear, Jif remains unknowingly insistent on showing its old age, unable to let go of a past by introducing an inventive, new product mismatched with a slogan that simply doesn’t work anymore.

This isn’t like a midlife crisis — [insert mumbling voice] you’re 56, by the way, Jif — it’s more like a catastrophe. A disaster. And certainly an embarrassment.

This awkward screen shot only validates the confused and gauche product we call Jif.

We know Jif doesn’t really care for dads, but what do gay dads think of the “Choosy” slogan and its website’s “mom advisor”?  Has Jif even bothered to ask?  It’s unfathomable how long this ridiculous slogan has lasted, but it’s difficult to disengage from pride.

Actually, we’re not asking Jif to run away from its traditions, but it cannot become a slave to its past. Its past is its present. It can’t let a so-called unchangeable slogan be an excuse for a possible eradicating perception as a pioneering company, or at least for being the best it can be. It must aggressively compete for every customer imaginable, and cannot sneer at innovative marketing thoughts and forward thinking simply because it’s connected to some slogan from which it can’t let go.

The great brands don’t sit on a slogan for life, and even the rare ones who can (Nike comes to mind), don’t possess a phrase that’s old-fashioned at best, and gender-parental exclusionary at worst.

We insist, all of the above is a recipe for an eventual loss of market share.

What do you say, Jif? Can you whip up something new?

At least one Christmas card and a whole lot more customers might depend on it.

Games people play

I don’t watch much TV, but I did see an interesting commercial during the Olympics, and you probably did, too.katyperry

There’s a Cover Girl ad which involves some major female celebrities exclaiming “Girls Can’t” — do this and that.  Of course, we all know girls/women can do absolutely anything, so you have to figure there’s something more to see.  It compels you to watch.  Well done, Cover Girl.  I liked it.

But apparently men, specifically dads, cannot do everything.  And that everything involves activities and games with their children.

Who says so?  Kellogg’s says so.

On the back of their Cars movie-themed fruit snacks, they offer six fun game ideas which kids can play:  h-0-r-s-e, flashlight tag, alphabet game, etc.  In the descriptions of the games, they implore kids to seek the help of but one gender:

– From Cloud Shapes game:  “Point them out to Mom and yell out what you think they are.”

– From Charades game:  “In this game, have Mom write down the names of different animals…”

– From Build a Snowman game:  “Finally, get that carrot Mom has in the fridge…”

Sure, it’s rather inconspicuous on the package, but as anyone in a relationship will tell you, it’s the little things that count.

So, Kellogg’s, please don’t be like all the other cereal companies.  (And believe me, there’s more to explore.)  See what you can do about keeping dads an important part of your marketing mix.