What Do These Photos Say About Dads?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then we’re all wasting a lot of time writing.

Take a look at the print ad copy around you. That’s right – go ahead, pick up a magazine.

Companies spend millions with ad agencies to promote something in order to sell, but the images arguably do more than the writing.

And that leads us to the curious use of dads in marketing. Fathers aren’t used very often to sell parenting products, but when they are, it’s not always in a glamorous light.

Check out this TV news story photo (right) which tried to use lighthearted humor while an expectant dad shopped for baby items, but instead made him look inept and clueless as if he didn’t know how to operate a baby wrap.

Look at this parenting story from a lunch meat maker, where a young child cowers and hides from a father that comes across as overpowering and cruel.

Here’s another of a dad-to-be that’s seen admonishing his expectant wife.

Or check out this one accompanied by a headline that questions dad’s ability to be left alone with the child. One can only assume the dad here is indulging in TV first while tending to his child second.

Each story was well-intentioned, but what does this type of imagery do for the institution of fatherhood? What messages are these sending to our children? To spouses? To teachers? To neighbors?

Marketing has a duty to sell, but how is it shaping society-at-large with images like these? At best, it’s motivating only half of the parenting duo and distancing everyone else from men, making them to be less appealing as consumers and legitimate parents.

The next time you see advertising directed to the parenting community, don’t look at the words – look at the photos and ask yourself if they’re showing dad’s best side.


It’s a good week to start placing trust in dad

trustIf you monitor the advertising, marketing, branding and packaging of products and services as much as we do, you’ll find that one phrase seems to pop up more than any other:  mom-trusted.

Sometimes the term is mom-approved, but either way, it’s there.

Without reading the minds of those marketing departments and having privy to internal documents, let’s carefully discuss why mom-trusted is so often the choice of expression.

Companies often think:

“Mom is smarter”

A perception exists that mom is the smarter parent, or the one instinctually versed to take care of the family.

Much of this is fueled by our entertainment world, who likes to place dad in the role of bumbling comic relief.  We all know those characters who have made dad look less-than-flattering:  Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, Phil Dunphy, Fred Flintstone and Clark Griswald.  You can even find this odd-ball personality in comics like Blondie and Berenstain Bears.  Sure, we can all find the humor in those characters, but beside nearly every one is a mom that’s the voice of reason and the sensibility, while dad needs to be corrected like a child and put down for his absurdity.  This pattern of stereotype has created a perception that pervades societal behavior.

Just look at this video by What’s Up Moms, which, despite its clever dad-ingenuity, is tainted by a terribly degrading title and includes a departing mom asking her husband, “Are you sure you’re going to be okay?”

Would anyone ever create a video titled, “Mom’s First Time Alone With Baby”?

Not in a million years.

“Mom is the one who handles shopping”

Even if mom works – and they do in greater numbers than ever before – there’s still a belief that she predominantly tackles the shopping.  Let’s be real:  dads shop, and companies who believe otherwise are missing out on the realities of dads’ spending power.  We’ve debunked a lot of misconceptions and analyzed why it’s important to market to dad in this post.

“Mom is the decision-maker.”

Parenting is a shared responsibility in today’s world, be it health care, schooling, or sports leagues.  Dads are more involved than ever, and there’s a large, vocal SAHD community with heavy untapped potential.  Do you think those dads like being told they’re not in charge, or at least not equally in charge?


Seeing repeated use of mom-trusted leaves dads out of the mix, and ignores them as equal parents.  Employing a gender-neutral term like parent-trusted extends equivalent due, and doesn’t make sexist implications in either direction.

A good relationship is based on trust, and if companies want to maximize gains, it’s high time they start letting their mission and principles guide what they do, and embrace everyone equally.

When you don’t even realize you’re being sexist

If you haven’t heard of What’s Up Moms – you should. It claims to be the #1 moms channel on YouTube, and that’s no small feat.

This groups of mom friends aims to produce short, funny videos geared toward women, and throughout it all has been featured nationally while garnering over 550,000 subscribers.

whatsupmoms3There are plenty of items to watch, but check out the video titled, “Dad’s First Time Alone With Baby.”

If you can get past the fact that this sketch is one long commercial for GLAD Press ‘n Seal, you’ll find a video that generally offers a warm, clever look at a dad’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. We enjoy how its creators celebrate the fact that dads parent different.

That’s refreshing and important to see!

However, the title – “Dad’s First Time Alone With Baby” – certainly implies something different doesn’t it?

It implies that dad isn’t an equal parent, and that mom is in charge when it comes to raising children.

That title would have never been written about a mom; imagine: “Mom’s First Time Alone With Baby.” Thus, its current title comes across as sexist and demeaning.

So does mom’s question to dad and baby at the beginning of the video: “Are you sure you guys are gonna be ok?”

Would anyone ever question whether mom could handle a baby alone for the first time or not? Why turn it into an event, and why make it an issue with dads?

The only time someone should ever utter the phrase, “Dad’s first time alone with baby,” is when it’s one of these tearjerking, soldier-meets-baby-for-the-first-time moments.

This video’s sexist approach is so wrong, we’d like to see the title changed and the beginning of the video edited. Keep the funny, just not at dad’s expense.

How about it, What’s Up Moms?