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AdAge notes changing role of dads

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 17-10-2011

We’re still at the early days of this change in buying patterns between moms and dads, but it’s nice to see AdAge start to cover what many of us have been seeing in the past 5-10 years.

A Yahoo survey late last year of 2,400 U.S. men ages 18 to 64 found more than half now identify themselves as the primary grocery shoppers in their households, but only 22% to 24% feel advertising in packaged-goods categories speaks to them.

[From Marketing to Dads: Men Increasingly Influential in Purchases | News – Advertising Age]

The simple reality is that there is no monolithic “mom buying group.” Moms and dads switch roles and constantly confer with each other because neither knows who will be doing carpool or making dinner tonight. The mom who makes all these decisions alone will find herself alone pushing the flowery stroller to the pink minivan.

Interesting here is some data showing where dads clearly are the decision-makers, in home entertainment, theatre, sporting events and concerts. I know in our household, those roles go about 50-50, but with my wife often traveling on business, I’m the one choosing what I’ll make for a week of dinners and school lunches.

One cynical note by the rather conservative New England Consulting Group is an idea that men over-report on how much influence they have. The New England Consulting Group believes that moms still make 70% of buying decisions. I think marketers can believe that at their own peril and risk missing out, or alienating men as buyers. I was once the Marketing Director of Unilever’s Ragu unit and I’m actually surprised they would do something as stupid as going out of their way to alienate dads in their recent campaign. Sometimes packaged goods executives can look too closely at ad testing scores while missing macro trends in the real market.

Good on AdAge for covering this, though I’d love to see dad marketing as an ongoing feature for them.