Written by Dan Anderson
If you watched the Big Game, it was hard to miss the emphasis on dads in this year’s commercials. Dove Men+Care, Toyota, and Nissan were the standout examples of how brands are increasingly targeting fathers.
Why the shift? When the economy took a downturn, the number of men staying at home increased. Some of this was due to unemployment. For others, it made sense to be a stay-at-home dad. This gave many dads an opportunity to become more involved in their households – cooking more, spending more time with the children, and being responsible for more of the household’s purchases.
The economy has gradually improved and many dads are back to work, but the desire to be more involved in the household has persisted. The majority of dads I know are involved with their child’s school, cook dinner for the family and purchase the family’s groceries. It is no surprise that brands are targeting dads more often, but what about the brands that have not yet jumped on the bandwagon?
Manufacturers of baby formula could benefit from targeting dads in their advertising. Bottle feeding is an opportunity for fathers to bond with their newborn and to be an equal partner during those late night feeding sessions. However, most formula brands target moms exclusively in their advertising. Similac’s “Sisterhood of Motherhood” campaign came close by showing dads in their video, but fell short with a tagline that could have been more inclusive.
Cleaning products are another category where advertising to dads can benefit brands. Dads are often taking on housework from mopping the floor, to scrubbing toilets, to doing the family’s laundry. Advertising for these products remains mostly siloed, with brands rarely featuring dads in their commercials or print ads. Fathers are equally concerned about keeping their home germ-free and sparkling clean. Brands could benefit by engaging with this untapped market.
In the past, consumer brands were not particularly concerned with what fathers thought. And at one time, that mentality made sense as mothers were responsible for the majority of household purchasing decisions. As dads take on more of the household responsibilities, spending habits are shifting. According to data from Nielsen, in 2012, men spent an average of $36.26 at the grocery store per trip compared with $27.49 in 2004.
Brands like Dove Men+Care, Toyota and Nissan see the potential with dads and are putting considerable resources toward reaching this demographic. In spaces where the marketing is saturated with messages toward moms, selling formula and cleaning products to dads can open up untapped markets.
About the Author: Dan Anderson is a proud dad and self-proclaimed king of dad jokes. Dan began writing Dad Logic in 2009 as a way to share his family’s adventures and to connect with other parents. In his day job, Dan is a marketing manager in the software industry. You can find him on Twitter at @dadlogic.