Moms Say Advertisers Don't Get Them

Cuddling with her two daughters in a new TV spot for Colgate Total, Brooke Shields appears happy, coiffed and concerned about oral care. But unless Brooke's a personal friend, most American mothers are not going to care a lick about the brand she's hawking.

That's because most moms--67%--would rather get information from a peer than a celebrity mom. Research presented at the 2nd annual Marketing to Moms Conference, being held in Chicago this week, shows that mothers feel disconnected from the way most marketers portray their demographic group.

Only 20 percent of mothers said advertisers do a good job of connecting with them, according to "Trillion Dollar Moms: Marketing to a New Generation of Mothers," co-authored by Bonnie Ulman, president of The Haystack Group. Meanwhile, 70 percent said advertising doesn't seem focused on moms, and 30 percent said they see ads that offend them.

The mom market is 25-million strong, and 72 percent of them are in the workforce with children under 18.

This group represents 44 percent of the women's market, but accounts for 55 percent of spending on consumer electronics; 51 percent of spending on food; 49 percent of spending on health & beauty aids; 48 percent of spending on home furnishings, and 47 percent of spending on clothing.

The best way to reach them is not through daytime TV--who's got time to watch?--but through their friends; one study found 91 percent of mothers prefer easy-to-find brands that other moms recommend. Online advertising has huge potential, since contemporary moms spend more time on the Internet than watching TV. And what a lot of moms that is--a study by C&R Research for Walt Disney Group's Disney Online puts the number of moms online at 31 million, while the Gallop Organization estimates there are 21.2 million Web-surfing mothers.

What are they doing online? Research shared by the Marketing to Moms conference shows that 88 percent of moms said they rely on the Web for parental guidance, advice, and ideas for raising their children. Also, 86 percent said they made an online purchase, while 85 percent said they clicked on an online ad. A whopping 95 percent said they are online at least once a day.

Moms still read magazines--even the busiest mothers say they read 4.1 magazines a month, two of which arrive in their mailboxes. That could be important information for the brass at Y&R North America, agency for Colgate Total, and Colgate-Palmolive Co. Back in the 1970s, the marketer used Shields and her famous smile to pitch toothpaste--not on TV--but in a print ad.

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