Advertising to Dads: the chicken or the egg

We all know that advertising is everywhere.  Every company is vying for valuable consumer dollars with dwindling advertising budgets.  Where that money will be allocated is determined by many factors including market size.  Emerging markets are small and risky but may have huge rewards.  One such market is that of dads and stay at home dads (SAHDs).  As more fathers are stepping up and playing a more involved role in the family, the need for businesses to harness this market becomes greater.

But what is an advertiser to do?  In order to get advertising money for the “Emerging Domestic Dad Market (EDDM – to coin a new industry acronym),” there has to be data to show dads are buying the product with enough volume or interest to warrant spending precious advertising dollars on them.  But dads don’t know about or are not targeted for many products, therefore do not impact the spending data as much as products targeted toward moms and women.  So to the chicken or the egg dilemma: do advertisers first put up the money to advertise to dads to attract them and grow the market, or do advertisers wait for the EDDM data to increase before spending advertising money potentially losing out on market share?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? – From a scientific standpoint, neither.  The bacterium came first and evolved into more complex organisms.  So too will the Emerging Domestic Dad Market.  It will take time, trial and error, great failure and epic success for the EDDM to be realized as a primary target, but it will get there. Even though the EDDM is seemingly small as far as shopping data goes, it is a huge potential and kinetic market that only the most aggressive and creative companies are willing to chance.  Companies like Kelloggs (Frosted Flakes), Nabisco (Oreo), and Google (Chrome) are all embracing dads with commercials directed solely toward them.  These are the true leaders in an emerging market, while others fail miserably in attracting dads (or men in general).  Commercials portraying dads and men with glaring stereotypes such as incompetence and cluelessness about family, childcare or anything domestic are insulting to not only men, but also women.  There are plenty of such ads out there, so I will take the high road and not list them specifically – you know who you are.  Common sense will tell any advertiser or creative marketer that you should NEVER use stereotypes.  By doing so, you are guaranteeing your campaign to alienate at least one potential group of buyers, if not more, directly impacting sales and profit.

It’s time for advertisers to get creative and take chances on a solid market that is not going away, bury the stereotypes of dads past and embrace the dads of the present.  As more data are gathered on modern men, dads and families, advertisers will be more equipped to do a better job at targeting these groups.  Until then, we must rely on industry leaders like Kelloggs, Nabisco and Google to lead the way in the EDDM!