Leveraging Guilt At Dinnertime

by , Feb 28, 2007, 5:01 AM
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I'm a mom with two teenage daughters, and I'm trying to see how this new trend toward "helping" genders like mine get the family to the dinner table is supposed to work.

Last week, KFC came out with a campaign to Bring Back Dinner with an eponymous Web site at which we can read other moms' points of views on dinner, grocery shopping and getting kids to sit down, eat and converse.

Now, Nestle's Stouffer's is out with DuringDinner.com, where we can watch "amusing and heartwarming" videos of families dining together and other moms having coffee and talking about the kids, print placemats (coming March 15) or a deck of "conversation-starter cards," (coming soon) and submit our own family's stories.

When? When are we supposed to do that? If I was doing that, I wouldn't be doing this, that's for sure.

In a news release, Stouffer's assures us guilty moms that kids, "especially those younger ones," love eating dinner together as long as the dinners are fun. (That means no sniping at their father because he couldn't be bothered to stop at the store.)

The release continues: "Featured at DuringDinner.com is Anne Callaway, a typical mom with her three kids. Watch as she manages to calm 'The Fidgeter,' appeal to 'The Picky Eater,' speed up 'The Slow Eater' and draw out all three when they become 'The Silent Ones.' She also shares 'mom moments' with her two best friends." Is this 1959 again? Where's Ward?!

Stouffer is partnering with ABC Family for a contest in which consumers can share family dinner table videos by posting them to the Web site by March 19. Semi-finalists will be featured during the June 3 ABC Family movie marathon, and the audience will vote at ABCFamily.com for its favorite. The winning family gets a trip for 15 to ... where else? Disney World, "where dreams come true," as the release reminds us.

Meanwhile, during the same time period -- March to June - KFC is offering coupons as well as prizes for good grades and essays about bringing back dinner. Maybe I could enter this?

Okay, this might appeal to the younger mothers among us, the ones just starting out with the high hopes and sparkly personalities. If I had more time, I guess I'd rather count the number of Nestle-branded product placements in the background of the sunny family videos at DuringDinner.com.

But I'm out of time. Guess I'll stop on my way home and pick up something for dinner.

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