Several weeks ago, I saw murmurs about this Proctor and Gamble Sochi '14 ad. I ignored them. As we get closer to the lighting of the torch, however, this ad will start making the rounds:
This ad is a follow-up to an earlier P&G campaign during the London summer Olympics in 2012. A brief skim of tweets using the hashtag #ThankYouMom, I see the ad is getting great reviews. People called it great advertising. They're calling it a tearjerker. I didn't like that one either. I ranted about their ad over a year ago.
But I KNEW that I would just hate the ad when my husband came home last week and asked me if I'd seen it. I told him that I hadn't and asked him if it was more of the same.
He surprised me with his review. He told me that after he watched it, his first thought was, "Where are all of the dads?" [He's more of a sociologist than he will ever know.]
So I watched it.
I must be missing the bone in my body that falls for marketing stunts like this one. While I appreciate the artistry and sentiment of this ad (and its earlier cousin), I have to ask you, Proctor and Gamble,
WHERE ARE ALL THE DADS?
I know that corporations market to the people who use their products. And I am a consumer of P&G products (and also a mom). I brush my teeth with Crest. I wipe our counters with Bounty paper towels and our tushies with Charmin. I wash my clothes with Tide and I clean my dishes with Cascade.
You know who else uses those products? My husband. He shaves his face with Gillette razors. And he has changed countless baby tushies in Pampers. And he wipes counters and does laundry and washes dishes all with P&G products. In fact, it's my HUSBAND (the FATHER in this household) that is brand loyal. Not me. I would happily buy whatever is on sale that week at the store if it was up to me, but I'd have to deal with dirty looks from him.
Are P&G products are only for women to use? I had no idea it was 1965 when no men did housework or cared for children. Parents' roles in the home (and this is in a two-parent, hetero home) are changing where fathers are doing more housework and mothers are doing less. According to recent time use data , full-time working men and women spend about the same amount of time during the work week on household tasks except that men watch a little more television and women do a little more cooking.
Proctor and Gamble make everything known to man. They make Tide and Crest and Pampers. Every. Thing.
Couldn't they pick, I don't know, ANY OTHER PRODUCT USED BY MEN and thrown in some "Thank you, Dad" for good measure?
The ad is infuriating for other reasons. I get that P&G wants to target consumers, but only slightly more women watch the winter Olympics than men. And don't more men participate in skiing and hockey than women?
Beyond targeting who you THINK your consumer is, companies might consider taking a flying leap into the 21st century and thinking about family life in a modern way. That's what General Mills did when they included a biracial family in a 2013 Cheerios ads. The ad garnered lots of attention, so kudos to General Mills for recognizing that their customer base is diverse. Though stay-at-home dads don't mind being overlooked by marketing departments, they do wonder about advertisers' myopic focus on a 1950′s family form.
Last time I checked, it was 2014 and not 1965. I know for certain that if our daughter takes up some winter sport like downhill skiing, she'll have her father to thank for spending time with her on the slopes and for doing her laundry. While I might keep some things running around the house, I'm not the only parent who can support her. I'm just no help in the winter sports department -- I quit skiing last year.
Follow Rachel Leventhal-Weiner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rglweiner