You know that mom you see in a lot of commercials? She’s usually decked in khakis and a button-down shirt, smiling as she cleans countertops, folds laundry or puts dinner on the table. You may find you’re not seeing her as often. A new demographic is slowly taking center stage: Dad.
For decades, moms have been the Holy Grail for marketers. If they could reach them effectively, marketers were confident they’d see engagement, participation, sales – whatever they sought – increase. Why? Moms are typically the authority in their homes, making decisions on everything from health care to what kind of detergent to buy to the family’s weekend plans.
Until now. With the economy forcing more men to stay home, the economic status of women rising, and marriages increasingly becoming true partnerships, dads are taking on a new, equal role in homes, making them the hot new target for marketers. Consider these recent findings:
- According to the U.S. Census, one in three men are their child’s primary caregiver.
- A 2010 Yahoo survey of 2,400 U.S. men ages 18 to 64 found more than half identify themselves as the primary grocery shoppers in their households.
- A 2011 study by Mintel Inspire found the percentage of men who say they do most of the household cleaning rose from 17 percent in 2006 to 31 percent in 2011.
- The Ipsos LMX family study of 2,800 moms and dads in 2011 found dads spend 50 percent more time than moms with their kids online, are 50 percent more likely than moms to take the kids to movies, and are also more likely to take the kids to the theater, sporting events or concerts.
If you’ve tuned into television lately, you’ve probably noticed this shift. Take NBC’s new comedy, “Guys with Kids,” which focuses on three dads struggling to hold on to their glory days of youth as they change diapers, bathe little ones and – in the case of one character – manage daily home life as a stay-at-home dad.
Or the latest Swiffer commercial, in which Mom and Dad finish cleaning early, marveling at the free time gained by using a Swiffer Sweeper to do the job. The commercial is part of Swiffer’s “Man Up, Clean Up” campaign, which launched in October. Using online video, social media and live events, the campaign asks men and women to talk about what’s happening in their households and gives men who are pitching in a pat on the back.
These dads are passionate about their roles. When Huggies launched a series of ads asking moms to put its diapers to the “Dad test”– one showing a group of dads so engrossed in their sports-watching that they fail to see their babies’ full diapers – fathers across the country were outraged. Huggies responded by sending representatives to the first-ever dad blogger convention, Dad 2.0 in Austin (yup, they blog now, too!), to apologize and issued a revised ad that shows dads giving their undivided attention to sleepy babies after feeding time and testing the diapers, rather than being tested themselves. Subsequent commercials do the same.
This passion also carries over to the big screen. Perhaps the most passionate are the members of the Dude’s Group in the movie adaptation of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” These carriage-pushing, Baby Bjorn-wearing, bottle-wielding fathers meet regularly for “happy hour,” a time to take the kids for a walk and talk about the highs and lows of fatherhood. While they spend much of their time venting, they are quick to clarify that their roles as fathers are their favorite role.
As you develop your next marketing strategy, consider whether these new Super Dads should be part of your target audience. They’re making decisions, influencing others and embracing their roles in their households.
To discuss ways you may be able to engage Super Dads, contact us.