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The Marketing of Motherhood

by Sara Holoubek  |  
August 27, 2007

Mom. It's one of the first words any of us learns. The concept is universal; motherhood precedes every living being on this planet. So who, I ask, decided that motherhood should suddenly become fashionable? Or that it was at one time unfashionable? And how is it possible that something so timeless even succumb to trends? I guess anything is possible in the world of marketing.

Long history short, the arrival of equal rights of the '70s gave rise to careers (and large shoulder pads) in the '80s, and ladder-climbing in the '90s. There are most certainly women who did this with children in tow, but mothering activities were most likely downplayed in the workplace. Moms stayed at home. Career girls put their job first.
Then in August of 1991, Demi Moore's bare and very pregnant self was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair. Over the next 16 years, displaying one's maternity -- be it a round belly or just the hint of a "bump" -- became a sure means of attracting the attention of the paparazzi and fans.
As the "Is she, or is she not?" speculation achieved front-page status, motherhood got a makeover. The image of "the hectic mom" cleaning up after her children gave way to "the hip mom," a laid-back figure that not only knows what to wear and what to do, but brings along baby and blogs about the whole lot. From the Special Collection Bugaboo Denim 007 Series to Hotslings, mommy accessories are currently in vogue.
The final bit of proof that the undeniably universal experience of motherhood has been transformed into a bona fide fashion trend? It came from my younger brother, currently expecting his first. I believe the words were, "You better get on this baby thing before it is no longer cool."

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Sara Holoubek is a free agent consultant, advising growth firms and investors in the interactive technology and advertising sector. Ms. Holoubek is also the contributing editor of the DM News' SearchBuzz newsletter, and a regular author of the DM News Optimized column.

In 2008 Ms. Holoubek was elected to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) board of directors for a third term. During this time she also co-founded the SEMPO NY Working Group.

From 2003-2005, Ms. Holoubek served as iCrossing's Chief Strategy Officer, building the firm's New York office and repositioning the iCrossing brand as it raised an early VC round of $13 million. Prior to this experience, Ms. Holoubek held posts in client strategy with interactive agencies Organic and Blue Dingo. Her vertical expertise covers over 10 sectors and includes work with Levi Strauss & Co, Bloomingdales, LexisNexis, Texas Instruments, Colgate-Palmolive, Century 21 Real Estate, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, as well as firms within the WPP family and the Aegis Group family.

Ms. Holoubek has contributed to and/or been quoted in publications such as Adweek, DM News, Mediapost's Search Insider,, The Madison Avenue Journal, ClickZ and Internet Retailer. She also serves as a frequent guest lecturer at venues such as SMX, Search Engine Strategies, OMMA, the DMA, Harvard, NYU and Baruch College.

Ms. Holoubek also brings an international perspective to her work, having lived and worked in Latin America and Europe , and is fluent in Spanish and French and conversant in Portuguese. She holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.B.A. from HEC in France. She resides in New York City with her husband, baritone Claudio Mascarenhas.

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  • by David Reich "my 2 cents" Mon Aug 27, 2007 via blog

    Parenthood is way cool, whether or not marketers try to cash in on it. (And I'm now finding out how cool grandparenthood is.) Parenting was "in" back in the 70s and 80s and we baby boomers were having kids, and marketers cashed in with Osh Kosh, Baby Gap, etc. With a new wave of young people having kids, motherhood is in again. This is a cycle that'll repeat as every generation gets into the 'family" mode.

  • by fermata Mon Aug 27, 2007 via blog

    Another cultural shift that we Americans make with total disregard to its environmental/societal impact. Way to go!

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