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Don't Diss Dads; They're Shoppers, Too

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For eons, it seems, advertisers have focused on moms as the primary shoppers in their households. Influencing them was always job No. 1. For good reason. At the same time, dads have either been portrayed as clueless in a gently ribbing manner; or they’re just plain invisible. Of course, advertisers seem to have taken a cue from sitcoms, where dads are sometimes more sharply portrayed as buffoons for laughs.

Do dads like this? No. I can personally vouch for that! In fact, men are complaining more openly about consumer product ads as they hit the stores in record numbers. So, now things are changing and dads may be getting the last laugh.

In recent research conducted by Yahoo and Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi X, it appears men are more likely to be the primary shoppers in their families now. Yahoo interviewed 2,400 American men between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2010, more than half of whom stated they did most of the grocery shopping in their homes.

According to Publicis Groupe’s chief strategy officer, Mariana Sanchez, their data shows 35% of men shop for groceries and mass merchandise. All of this published on Wal-Mart’s blog recently, citing an article on the topic published in Ad Age.

If men are one-third of total shoppers or more, they can no longer be ignored by advertisers. Nor can they be treated as buffoons. Especially since men tend to become more brand loyal and less influenced by sales and promotions as a lure away from the specific brands they purchase. Men don’t care to be treated as buffoons either.

But has the ad industry caught up to all of this? Apparently, some companies think they’re making headway here because they involve themselves in marketing in conjunction with the NFL. Cool, but we’ve got a long way to go, baby.

So, let me ask Daily Fix readers: How do you feel about advertising where men are concerned: beer, tires, car, motor oil, Just for Men hair coloring, and Old Spice ads excepted?

  • Can you think of ads that do a great job of targeting men---in any category---not just grocery?

  • Which companies continue to make men look clueless in their ads? Or fail to address them at all?

  • Does consumer product advertising bother you when it’s clearly one-sided? Or takes jabs at half the population?

I’d love to hear from you.

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Ted Mininni is president of Design Force, Inc. (, a leading brand-design consultancy to consumer product companies (phone: 856-810-2277). Ted is also a regular contributor to the MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix.

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  • by Scott Oser Fri Jan 28, 2011 via blog

    I think this is a very interesting point and one that marketers must be aware of. As my family situation changed due to separation and divorce I have become the primary shopper in my family. I did some of the shopping while I was still married but I now do all of the shopping. I shop very differently than my wife did/does. I tend to buy only what I need and go to the grocery store multiple times during the week with distinct items in mind. I want to get in and out of there quickly so I need to know enough about an item to make the purchase decision. I don't think that commercials and ads, they way they are written today, allow me to do that. As more and more men start to be the primary shopper in society's ever changing family structures I think marketers are going to have to figure out how to best reach someone like me so it makes it a no-brainer for me to buy their product.

  • by Ted Mininni Mon Jan 31, 2011 via blog

    Hi Scott,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective with us. You speak for many men today. This is exactly the point of my post: since men are becoming a far larger segment of shoppers now, marketers must address them directly. Understanding the manner in which men shop, as well as the information they're looking for, is key. Women not only purchase differently than we do; they respond to different messages. Let's hope marketers are listening and that they start engaging us.

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