Despite the changing paradigm of more participatory (and stay-at-home) dads — particularly among younger consumers — they’re still feeling left out of the back-to-school (and overall family product) marketing model.
According to a Yahoo Advertising study, more than half of dads are active in a household’s shopping decisions, including apparel and other products. However, about half of these dads still feel like household advertising — including back-to-school advertising — addressing them in this role is rare.
“Marketers shouldn’t leave dads out of the back-to-school shopping conversation,” Lauren Weinberg, vice president of strategic planning and consumer insights at Yahoo, tells Marketing Daily. “Marketers should feel free to reflect dads’ new roles in the household in their creative as they are more involved than ever in everyday tasks like grocery shopping and laundry.”
And when they are portrayed, it’s still in stereotypical fashion, Weinberg says. “One survey respondent told us that when they do see dads portrayed, it’s almost always sports-related or poking fun at the dad.”
Yet dads tend to spend more on back-to-school shopping than moms ($410 vs. $338, according to one study), Weinberg says, meaning that actively targeting them could be worthwhile. “Targeted ads that specifically address dads’ needs and inspire them with new ideas will be impactful,” she says.
Even though this year’s back-to-school season is well underway, it’s not too late to adjust messaging, as parents will be purchasing “up to the last minute,” Weinberg says. “There’s great opportunity for marketers to help parents navigate the season by offering the right product tips, advice and guidance,” she says.
More importantly, however, marketers should adjust their messaging year-round to account for dads’ more involved roles in family purchasing, focusing on digital channels (where technology is a main way dads interact with their kids and conduct their product research). “Our research shows that highly involved dads are the new norm, and should be a part of the parenting conversation year-round,” Weinberg says.