Monday, January 26, 2015

Similac Welcomes Dads to the Sisterhood of Motherhood

If you're confused by the title of this blog, you aren't alone. In advertising there are brands that clearly value dads and see the importance of including them in all things related to parenthood.  Brands like Dove Men + Care, Toyota, and NyQuil have seen the light and have produced such great ads that my wife will yell from the other room "Chris! There's a dadvertisement on TV!"

Some brands recognize just how important this is with Super Bowl XLIX ads set to star dads as the prominent role for a least three brands.  There is no greater feeling as a dad to see advertisements that include us in the way we exist in the world, being the best fathers we can to our children. Modern fathers are tired of the bumbling dad stereotype. Ads that showcase men who care for their children and are actively engaged in their lives are real representatives of modern fatherhood.

Unilever's Dove Men+ Care gets that saying in their recent "Real Strength" campaign,  "This inspired us to share a film that shows what strength truly looks like today. Especially at a time when fans are overwhelmingly hearing about physical feats on the football field, we wanted men (and women) to hear at least one voice saying, 'Care Makes a Man Stronger." I'm here to tell you Similac, that I care.

It's true that Similac laid some important groundwork with their latest video about accepting all parenting styles and choices and not being judgemental of others. The video is an amazing collection of different parenting styles and choices we make as caregivers from babywearers, breastfeeders, working moms, stay at home moms, and even stay at home dads!

I was ecstatic that all were represented and was surprised when the moms called out the stay at home dads saying "Oh, it must be Mommy's day off", a phrase we hear all too often when we are out with our kids. We have never seen a collection of stereotypes all going after each other in this manner.

You had me Similac. I was excited. I thought "I dont know what this is but I want to be a part of it!" I wanted to see where this was going and well, if you haven't seen it, you should watch it now:

You had me until you asked me to become a part of the Sisterhood of Motherhood. I am not a sister or a mother, I am a dad so now I am wondering how do I fit in? Similac's campaign is about accepting all different parenting styles and not judging but then excludes men altogether by asking us to join sisterhood and motherhood?

It just doesn't make sense considering they had input from at least one father. I can just imagine someone at the advertising agency saying "But Sisterhood of Motherhood sounds SOOO good! Who cares if the dads get offended?" So why make a big deal out of it? Because it's not authentic to say one thing but then totally mean another.

For me, Similac represents that the time that I was able to bond with my children. Our first child wouldn't latch properly and we had to finger feed him. When we determined that he wasn't getting enough nutrition that way, we supplemented with formula. For lots of other dads, using formula like Similac may be the first time dad gets to feed the baby. Dads of all different kinds of families have fond memories of that bonding time so why use a tagline that precludes dads altogether?

Dads aren't part of the sisterhood of motherhood. The sisterhood of motherhood sounds like an exclusive club for anyone without a penis. As a stay at home dad it is hard enough to find other parents who accept you in social circles. Ask any dad if they would like to join the sisterhood of motherhood as an honorary member and I am sure they would question what that means.

I commented on Similac's Facebook page as many other dads did that using that slogan alienates 50% of the audience to which someone said "I don't think men are their target audience" Huh? So why were men included? Because Similac knows that men are parents too. Dads want to be included so why not end a wonderful video with "Welcome to Parenthood, we are all in this together" You can use that Similac, for the good of all dads, I hope you do.

Want to weigh in with your opinion? Visit the DadNCharge Facebook page and leave a comment

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