Hurling bombs at an advertising stereotype

31 Mar

I keep rolled-up socks handy to throw at the television whenever a particularly obnoxious commercial flashes by.

I’m aiming for Vicks Vapor Rub today.

Any advertiser that has decided that only Moms Know Best when it comes to loving their kids or looking after them when they are sick is going to get the sock.

You don’t need to see the spot to recall it because the formula hasn’t changed in 30 years. A sick kid. A gentle, loving mom spreading the mentholated cream on his chest. Lights out and smiles all around.

I realize the advertiser is targeting a predominantly female 25-40 demographic. By why would an advertiser go out of its way to exclude the other parent from its messaging?

Moms know best means moms know better than dads.

Boo.

Do dads know best? No. But exclusion strategies only work when the people you are excluding are on the outside looking in. Not my experience as a consumer – or a parent – at all folks.

I often make decisions on purchases like this, and if I bought Vicks Vapor Rub I would certainly not pass the jar over to mom while I headed off with beer and chips to throw stuff at the television.

I’m weary of these old stereotypes. Flying sock to you Vicks.

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18 Responses to “Hurling bombs at an advertising stereotype”

  1. Amy March 31, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    I find it incredibly sweet that those commercials bother you so much.

  2. dougbrowncreative March 31, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    😉

  3. Michela March 31, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Another one that always ticks me off are the commercials for Jif peanut butter. Their slogan is “choosy moms choose jif”
    I’m not a parent, but this spot makes me want to throw socks too!

  4. dougbrowncreative March 31, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Michela I recommend nylon socks as the wool or cotton ones are too heavy for today’s flat screen LCD TVs, especially if they’re pedestal mounted.

  5. designingrenee March 31, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    It’d be interesting to see how many ads we can find that depict nurturing dads…and I don’t mean just “rough-housing” or giving piggybacks.

  6. Lindsay March 31, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    If this was to be the other way around (ie only depict fathers and not mothers), feminists would probably notify advertisers of sexual discrimination. So where are the advocates for men?

  7. dougbrowncreative March 31, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    > You won’t really see them in Canada Renee. Dads in advertising are whizzes in the garage and baboons everywhere else in the house. It’s a wonder women put up with us. 😉

    > That’s my hand flapping up there in the air Lindsay! Good point. I think guys just roll with this stuff. We’re too engrossed in the second period action to care.

  8. Kathryn March 31, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Not just a stereotype. It’s good ol’ fashioned sexism. There are feminists (or alternatively named depending on your opinion of the label) out there that concentrate on male targeted sexism like this and it’s starting to gain speed.

    Feminists, especially female ones have been fighting a lot of more female centered sexism for a long time now but they are starting to take aim at this types of stereotypes represented in the media that hurts everyone.

  9. dougbrowncreative March 31, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Kathryn I really believe that my comment to Lindsay above holds true. Where are all the men commenting here? Most men just don’t seem to care. The argument could be made that they feel they have enough things going for them in the world anyway, and they aren’t fussed about this stereotype. I’ve got my daughter throwing socks at the TV now too, so at least I feel that the stereotype is being challenged in the most important area.

  10. Kathryn March 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    One of my favourite online magazines is the Good Man Project. I’ve linked it to my name (even though it’s clearly not my website) just in case the link I put in the comment isn’t accepted.

    It’s a magazine aimed at real men instead of characterizations of stereotypes. They write articles on a variety of subjects, often very feminist in nature and flattering to all kinds of men. It’s also very family orientated. The men are out there, just need to look for them.

    http://goodmenproject.com/

  11. Kathryn March 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    One of my favourite online magazines is the Good Man Project. I’ve linked it to my name (even though it’s clearly not my website) just in case the link I put in the comment isn’t accepted.

    It’s a magazine aimed at real men instead of characterizations of stereotypes. They write articles on a variety of subjects, often very feminist in nature and flattering to all kinds of men. It’s also very family orientated. The men are out there, just need to look for them.

  12. dougbrowncreative March 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Hey that’s an interesting link Kathryn, thank you. I followed a few of the stories down their wormholes… definitely something to tuck into away from work. But I couldn’t find the sport section.. ? 😉

  13. Kathryn March 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    It’s the second category! You men just refuse to read the damn instructions don’t you? 😉

  14. patricktussie March 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I fall into the category “don’t really care.” Then again I am not a parent, maybe my opinion will change if/when I have children of my own.

  15. dougbrowncreative March 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    > Kathryn…that little link? For SPORTS???

    > Thanks for the comment Patrick. I think definitely it will be dads who go HEY! Parenting has a way of slapping your sense around.

  16. Petra Franke April 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    From what I have seen…men don’t really seem concerned that the commercials show the “mom” to be wise and nurturing…its usually the woman who takes offense at being left out. ie men only gyms, clubs, golf… trip to Jamaica…that being said. The advertising agencies have the power to mould the mind of the consumer…change the concept of gender related products. Show the men rubbing soothing vapo rub on the children, picking out the diapers, making the peanut butter sandwiches, enjoying the fresh scent of downey, Mr Clean, Pine-sol. Lets show the man scrubbing the inside of an oven or on the working end or a brand new Electrolux!…must I continue. The roles of men may be stereotypical…for a reason. Men tend to buy the Beer, doritos, fast cars, 82″ TV’s and golf….

    • dougbrowncreative April 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

      Trips to Jamaica! Ha! Well Petra I know the stereotypes, but they just don’t conform to the dads I know. They are all doing the Vicks Vapor Rubbing, giving their wives foot massages and cooking dinner. Maybe not at your house though….? 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Olympic advertisers make dads disappear….again « Dougbrowncreative's Blog - July 29, 2012

    […] Anyone who reads this blog knows that one of my biggest beefs is the way fathers are nullified by advertisers. Apparently, only moms know best. […]

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