500 Words: Dads get respect from …

Dads are getting some respect. Can you guess where from? Their wives? Their kids? Their bosses?  Naw, they already get lots of respect from those people.  (Well, maybe not from their kids, but that’s another blog.)

Dads are getting respect from marketers. That’s right, the same people who have profited for years portraying dads in commercials as incompetent can’t-change-a-diaper numbnuts. They’re studying research on family buying habits. They’ve discovered something they previously overlooked. Dads got game.

Dads are making more decisions about the family than ever before. They are even buying things for the family that they never bought before, like Huggies, baby food and fluffy animal toys.  We dads know the difference between a Gund and a Wubbanub.  (Look it up.)

Why does this make a difference to marketers? Mass marketing is over. When my father was an executive at ABC, the audience share for the network was huge. Now they feel lucky when their Nielsen score matches their shoe size.

As Seth Godin wrote in his blog:

The challenge of mass media was how to run ads that would be seen by just about everyone and have those ads pay off. That problem is gone, because you can no longer run an ad that reaches everyone. What a blessing. Now, instead of yelling at the masses, the marketer has no choice but to choose her audience.

Dads have become an audience worth your attention. According to a recent story in The New York Times, dads are doing more around the house than couch surfing and watching the game. They are doing more grocery shopping and housework and kid-wrangling. They’re getting pretty good at it, too, according to some of the daddy bloggers interviewed as they attended a conference in Houston called Dad 2.0.

That there is even a real conference called Dad 2.0 should tell you something. Dads have finally grown up. They’ve been through the fire of getting laid off, divorced, and learning how to say ‘we’re pregnant.’ (Just a little note: how the hell can two people be pregnant with the same baby? It’s an abuse of the language akin to using ‘impact’ as a verb. If you ever meet me, don’t say ‘We’re pregnant and it has really impacted us’ because it will make me want to impact you with something.)

Just as moms have wrestled for years with how to navigate the workforce and run a house, we dads also wrestle with the multitasking of the soul. We have made dinner and vacuumed under the bed. We’ve given the kids a bath and remembered to take the kids out of the bath before mom got home. We’ve learned to be vulnerable and to show love. We’ve learned how to be present, and not just while in a conference room at work or on the road. We’re there for our kids and wives.

No wonder we’re getting more respect.

Image courtesy zoeysattic via Etsy and used with permission.