Marketers, please, don’t discount dad

For starters 16% of single, custodial parents in the U.S. are male. That may not seem like much, but when we’re talking 16% of 13.7 million, that’s a lot of dads. These single dads are the one-man show in parenting, and there’s a lot of them to speak to. Are we as marketers forgetting to connect with this segment of purchase decision makers?

Let’s take it a step further and talk about the “traditional family.” What does that mean today? Here are some interesting stats which break down the idea of “traditional” as we know it:

  • 33% of dads are taking on the roles of traditional moms, making them the “Stay at Home Dads” (Parenting Group 2012)
  • 51% of fathers report being the primary grocery shoppers in their household (Yahoo 2010)
  • 76% of fathers with children under 18 said “I don’t let traditional gender roles define how I live my life” (Yankelovich 2009)

Outreach gone wrong
A brand (which shall remain nameless) recently tried to connect with its mom audience by creating videos where mommy bloggers talk about their experiences with everyday meal preparation. One would hope that a campaign with bloggers at the core, would take time to understand a few best practices for connecting with bloggers. Unfortunately, this campaign contained a blogger outreach program which offended many unsuspecting dad bloggers who were spammed with a video titled “What is dinnertime like when dad cooks?”.

While not outwardly bashing dads, some of the commentary was deemed offensive. One dad blogger wrote “I hate how companies, movies and society like to pick on the dads of the world by portraying us as clueless parents who don’t know our way around parenting.” Perhaps they should have featured those dad bloggers in their own video series, instead of alienating and offending them.

Not all hope is lost
There are still, and will continue to be many brands that get it. When it comes to marketing to moms, don’t forget about dads. And certainly don’t misrepresent the many hard-working dads who may take on some or all of the parenting and purchasing responsibilities. Be sure to check out what these smart-minded brands are doing in an effort to connect with their dad audience.

Google Chrome – We’ve got to hand it to Google for a job well done in connecting with both dads and moms with their “Daniel Lee” character and “Dear Sophie” video.

Volvo – Volvo’s national commercial for Jetta lets dads know that having a baby may mean a shift in priorities, but it does not mean you lose your manhood, aka the cool factor. Besides, what’s cooler than being a dad?