An article in this week’s New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/29/business/media/pitching-to-real-moms-the-ones-who-arent-perfect-advertising.html?_r=1&src=rechp) pretty much sums up the need for a better marketing plan to reach “today’s moms.” I put that in quotation marks because it is nearly impossible to paint a picture of a typical mom. There are so many different types of moms out there- working moms, stay at home moms, moms who work part time and care for their children the other part of the time, and the list goes on. (Good luck to said ad agencies). The moms of the 1950’s are just not typical of the moms of the 2000’s. And this article brings up an excellent point- the marketing of today is not reflective of what moms are today.
Offender #1- Hidden Valley Ranch. Like many working moms, the moment i come home from picking up Jake from daycare i change him, place him in his crib with his play piano and plastic key set, and i make a beeline to my closet to throw on my jeans and a long sleeve tee. I do not look glamorous (especially because by that time my eye liner has smudged into my eye shadow, and i probably resemble a rabid racoon), and my first thought is not of how happy I am to be home and clean the house and prepare a nutritious and satisfying dinner for my husband and I while keeping Jake occupied and fed himself. I am looking for the frozen chicken stew i made a few weeks ago in the freezer, and hoping that our microwave from 1981 will heat it up in under 20 minutes. I am not breaking out the Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet and thinking, “mmm! Ranch Burgers for the family tonight!” (Because, um, who has time to mix and prepare and grill burgers for everyone when you get home from work? And don’t forget the potato salad.)
Offender #2- Swiffer. My other favorite “mom” commercials are any and all involving Swiffers. Yes, i have a pair of Tory Burch Reva flats, but no, i’m not happily dancing around my living room in them while i swiffer out dust bunnies and coughed up cat hair balls. Nope, I’m hastily making my way around my house with that thing trying to break last week’s record of 13 minutes from one end of the house to the other. Just to keep the visual- i’m probably wearing my pair of Disney Crocs (yes, i know, i know, ugly yet surprisingly functional!) Don’t you notice how the moms are always so pleased with themselves once they’re done? I’m excited, too. I’m excited to be DONE with that job!
Offender #3- Jif. Finally we have the mom sending child off to school commercials. Jif is the prime suspect here. Mom and kid are both impeccably dressed, lunches are made, and it’s time for school and work. And in fantasy land, little Bobby has made lunch for Mommy. While Jake is no where close to stepping onto a school bus right now, i can only imagine what i will look like when that time comes. Frazzled, coffee to-go cup in hand, slathering on the peanut butter while the bus is pulling up to our house. I needed every last second in the morning to get myself ready pre-Jake, so now, and then when he’s really getting on that yellow bus, I may have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to get things ready.
The point? It’s time the ad agencies start to really and truly look at today’s mothers. Today’s moms do not smile and laugh as they clean the house, they don’t have 2 hours to prepare a three course dinner from scratch the moment they walk in the door, and they certainly don’t look perfect while doing it. I would be remiss if i failed to mention this surprising figure- mothers account for $2.3 trillion a year in spending in the United States. Trillion! That’s a heck of a lot of Hidden Valley Ranch packets and Jif peanut butter right there.
It’s jeans day at the office today, but let me tell you that i am not wearing these.