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BizReport : Advertising archives : February 03, 2011

Dads feel ignored by advertisers

Advertisers aren't keeping up with the times. Despite playing a larger role in family decision-making over past years, Dads continue to be ignored in favor of the traditional family purse holder, finds new research.

by Helen Leggatt

Machovka_Vacuum_cleaner.preview.jpgMoms have long been a valuable target for advertisers. They have traditionally been seen as in charge of the household purse strings and major decision-makers in a family unit.

However, times have changed and Dads play an increasing role in the running of a household. Some fathers choose to stay home while their spouse works and some, perhaps caught up in the recession, have little choice but to do so.

Either way, more Dads now have a bigger say in the purchase of items such as household products, clothing, toys, baby products and consumer packaged goods, probably due to their increased exposure to and interaction with them. After all, why would you be interested in the ease-of-use of an oven-cleaner if you never had cause to use one?

Despite this change in family dynamics advertisers continue to focus on Moms. A recent survey from Yahoo found Dads feel invisible. For instance, despite 80% identifying themselves as the primary or shared decision-maker for baby and child care products, 57% felt ads in this category weren't targeted at them.

They're probably right. How many ads show a man powdering a freshly-changed baby's bottom (and I mean serious ads, not tongue-in-cheek, Three Men and a Baby-esque ads)?

It looks like change is on the horizon. Several brands have identified the growing importance of the "family man", most recently Proctor & Gamble. Following in-house research that revealed men turned to female-oriented websites for tips on topics such as cooking and homecare, the CPG company launched "Man of the House".

The website contains the usual male-oriented content in the form of sex and gadget advice, but "Dad-ifies" it with articles covering subjects including cooking, cleaning and raising kids. Current topics include "What to do with Stale Bread", "The Art of Naming Kids", and "Must Have Vacuum Features".

"What we are trying to do is speak to the whole man," Jeannie Tharrington, P&G spokeswoman, told the New York Times. "Certainly, relationships and sex are part of an adult man's life...For us, it's part of it, but it's not the whole thing. What we try to do is be tasteful."

Tags: advertising, family, men

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