Ending Tie-pocolypse: Marketing to Today’s Dads

Sick of receiving socks, ties and underwear, 56 percent of dads are now picking out their own Father’s Day gifts. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), around $15.5 billion was spent in 2017 by the 77 percent of Americans who celebrate Father’s Day. In the months leading up to the big day, dads are window shopping for anything from new power tools to personal care products to the latest technology as they prepare for the inevitable question: “What do you want for Father’s Day, dad?” This doesn’t happen overnight. No, dads have been interacting with brands online and in-store for the other 364 days out of the year and this has contributed to what will be on their list. Here are four ways to keep your brand top-of-mind with today’s dads and forever put an end to ‘Tie-pocolypse’.

Make it Faster, Easier, Safer:

The human brain is not designed for multi-tasking but the parent life typically requires it. If there’s a way to make life a little less hectic, dads are so in. Advances in technology can add ease to a daily routine. Perhaps this means a smart thermostat to manage the temperature and keep costs down. Or maybe it’s the latest and greatest parenting product to make dad and child happy. Use lifestyle marketing to show not what the product can do, but how it can improve the day-to-day.

Okay, maybe it’s not in the budget to get dad a new car this year, but check out this spot from Hyundai called Dad’s Sixth Sense. The spot offers up scenarios where dads help kids stay safe; one of these ways is with a new Hyundai.

Dads Turn to Content for Both Work & Play:

“Just ask Google” has become the mentality of many information-seeking parents. Quick articles and videos can teach even the worst cooks to make a great dinner, the too-humble homeowner to fix the plumbing themselves and the first-time parents how to tackle potty training. Today’s dads are no exception. Research shows 86 percent of millennial dads are turning to YouTube to answer their parenting questions. Some 91 percent of dads are watching YouTube at least once each month. This is a great opportunity for brands to produce content, video or copy, on parenting problems and their solutions.

Mommy blogs are everywhere. A recent number shows around 4.2 million blogs for moms, but far less written for dads. Businesses that blog useful, free content often see a 13X ROI. The more information you can provide to an audience, the more persuasive the marketing message will be.

Appeal to His Sense of Style:

When it comes to their looks, fewer dads today carry the “I don’t care” attitude and stereotype that has made them the butt of many style jokes. The men’s personal care category accounts for a global spend of $33 billion and continues to boom. Approximately 43 percent of today’s American men are using personal care products beyond shaving. Dads are spending more time on fashion and style—61 percent more time to be exact (year-over-year). And while they are spending more time on themselves, they are also spending 57 percent more time on mobile devices. It is crucial for brands to create a consistent brand image and reflect this online, in stores and on the go.

In a product category that some men can be a little timid about (hair products, skin care products, etc.), consider using online marketing as a shy-shopper solution. Take Dove Men + Care and their #RealStrength campaign targeting dads. The campaign not only celebrates dads but does a great job of showcasing relatable moments that most dads have experienced.

Marketing to Dads Brain

Don’t Mock Your Target Audience:

Household roles continue to evolve. Some moms are the sole breadwinners while dads stay home to raise the kids. In the same way that the "women of the kitchen" stereotype died (thank goodness), so has the stereotype of the dummy dad. To call out brands who disagree, there’s a website called Dad Marketing that keeps track of brands who portray dads badly. For example, McDonald's received some criticism for this spot, which depicts a dad in over his head in his wife’s absence taking his daughter and her friends to the fast food giant. Brands love humor and consumers do, too. But, when the “Dadvertising” humor comes at the expense of your target audience, they aren’t going to be happy (meals). Instead, find a funny yet relatable aspect of parenting to resonate with your audience like this spot by Rocksmith.

Hoffman York is a full-service, integrated advertising and marketing agency with offices in Milwaukee and Helena, Mont. Marketing to moms is important, too. Check out our article on marketing to the millennial mom or contact us at [email protected].

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