Marketing & Branding

Dads Are Consumers, Too: Dad-vertising? It’s About Time!

As someone who watches a lot of television, it’s surprising that I haven’t written a blog about my love of it. I usually write about my other passion, marketing, and if you’re a regular visitor to QLP’s blog you’ve seen some of my past posts and can vouch for that. I blame part of my TV obsession on the networks for (FINALLY) having excellent shows to watch and the other part on my fascination with commercials.

Recently, I have noticed a trend in which some advertised products have shifted focus from one age group to another, specifically Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes (see video below) and Yoplait’s Go-Gurt. The latest commercials for these products no longer feature a group of kids sitting around a table on Saturday morning scarfing down the sugar-drenched flakes or eating yogurt in an elementary school cafeteria. Instead, these commercials feature the one market that has been left out of targeting: Dads!

Both Kellogg’s and Yoplait’s campaigns tap into the growing “trend” of modern dads buying groceries. According to a recent survey of 2,400 U.S. men by Yahoo, more than half of men between the ages of 18 to 64 said that they identify themselves as the primary shopper in their household; however, only 22% to 24% feel that the packaged goods were actually being marketed to them specially.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but the fact that angry parent groups have voiced their concerns about advertising to children probably affected this shift. As a result, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and 10 leading food and beverage companies have launched the Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, whose goal is to shift advertising primarily directed to children from “eat this and you’ll be cool” to instead showing and encouraging healthier dietary choices. The proposal would prohibit child-directed advertising for breakfast cereals that have more than 10 grams of sugar (which would make it illegal for Tony the Tiger to sell to little Tommy or Tina, since Frosted Flakes currently has 11 grams of sugar per serving).

Dads care about their kids' well-being, too!

What’s the real reason I decided to write this blog? I saw a Go-Gurt commercial that really stopped me in my tracks. First of all, “Dad” was the only person in the ad. Second, he was packing his son’s lunch. It didn’t surprise me that the father was making his son’s lunch for school (heck, my dad makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around) but it was surprising that he was the one responsible for his son’s nutritious lunch of a sandwich and a Go-Gurt. “Mom” wasn’t peeking around the corner to watch him or doing any other so-called normal mom behavior that advertisers commonly point out (such as cleaning up spills on kitchen countertops or dusting). The tagline was rather clever, too (“Dads who get it, get Go-Gurt”) because it plays against the rather mom-centered slogans of other lunch essentials (I’m looking at you, Jiff Peanut Butter, with your “Choosy moms choose Jiff” slogan). Why has it taken so long for Dads to get their due credit in ensuring their kids grow up strong and healthy, at least in marketers’ eyes?

I don’t have an answer, but I’m sure glad that these commercial fathers are getting a better reputation than the ones portrayed as bumbling idiots who can’t clean up a spilled glass of milkwithout Mom swooping in with a towel. Or, as an idiot who doesn’t know to go to Walmart for socks that are comfortable to wear, like in the Hanes socks commercial below.

Dads have always played an integral role in their kids’ lives, but it’s about time marketers and advertisers became aware of that and started to market toward them.