Posts tagged BLOG
Meguiar’s Polish. A 30-car-pileup-of-offensiveness in one :15 ad.

There’s two kinds of unsuccessful attempts at humor when it comes to advertising. Spots that try to be funny and fall flat, and spots that try to be funny and come off as completely tone deaf, insulting everyone involved. The newest Meguiar’s Polish spot is the latter.

If you haven’t caught it during one of the many times it’s aired during the NBA Playoffs, let me give you a synopsis. Pregnant wife is in labor, peeks into garage to tell car-obsessed husband that the baby’s coming — which makes him opt for the “faster” Meguiar’s polish, while she looks on lovingly (because that’s the look of a woman in labor). He looks lovingly at the polish, not wife, while the announcer says, “We know sometimes other things come first.”

Which thing is coming first here, exactly? Is it supposed to be the wife and the baby? Because it seems like it’s the husband and his CAR. Hospital scene concludes with new Dad chomping on a cigar while he and the male doctor look out at his recently polished car through the hospital window.

It’s impressive how many insulting stereotypes this brand has managed to cram into 15 seconds. Dad-to-be comes off as an idiot because he has a baby literally on the way and his first concern is the mirror-like finish of his vehicle. Mom-to-be comes off as an idiot because she also appears to be in adoring support of her husband’s skewed priorities. And Meguiar’s swoops in as the “hero” of this scenario?

Now I KNOW this was designed to be an over-the-top way to make a point — Meguiar’s has an Ultimate Quik Wax that you can use in 15 minutes or less. But when I’m so turned off by the brand, it doesn’t matter that I got the product message. When I see these kinds of ads, I wonder who saw this concept and approved it. Marketers and ad agencies need to hold themselves to a higher standard than just delivering the product benefit in a “creative” way. And remember that every piece of communication is an opportunity to elevate the brand. Or damage it.

Humor can be very effective for a brand. Humor works well when it taps into a truth, sometimes taking that truth and pushing it to the extreme. This brand decided to tap into a tired cliché (men neglect their families and love their cars) and push that to the extreme instead. NOT FUNNY. NOT WORKING.

It takes a lot of people to make an ad. This 15-second kebab skewer of bad decisions should never have happened. We started June Cleaver is Dead because we believe brands can do better when it comes to marketing to moms. But that goes for marketing to dads too — drop the worn-out stereotypes already and give us all a bit more credit. Because no one in this ad looks good — least of all, Meguiar’s.

I give this ad a ...


Update: from what we can tell, it looks like Meguiar’s pulled this ad within days of this post being published– from broadcast TV, their YouTube channel, and as their pinned tweet on Twitter. So thankfully you won’t be seeing this ad anymore, unless you choose to, right here. 

BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
Single moms are the new norm. What does that mean for your "mom" target?


single-mom image.jpg

If your marketing targets moms, then what you don’t know could hurt your bottom line.

Here’s an eye-opening stat: 57% of millennial moms are single moms. That’s more than 16 million of the women in the U.S. making 100% of household purchases. The math is undeniable!

Here are four insights that could unlock massive opportunities for marketers who take them to heart:

Stereotypes about single moms are NOT reality.

The sweeping stereotype that single moms are broken, can’t make ends meet, and desperate because they don’t have a wedded partner is FALSE. Turns out that single moms are more like married and partnered moms than they are different. In fact, 58% of single moms have attended college or have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many choose single motherhood, are co-parenting, and kicking butt at being a mom. They are powerful consumers who demand your brand’s attention and want to see themselves accurately represented in your advertising.

“I feel very aware of the perceptions of single moms and I feel they are overwhelmingly negative.” (Faith, mother of 3)

“When people think single moms, they think working three or four jobs and not making ends meet. I have a great career, I can afford a house.” (Lori, mother of 1)

Stereotypes alienate people. When a brand portrays single moms in ways that don’t reflect their lives, they turn away from it. Research the single moms in your target audience, find out how they actually live, and write that into your briefs. Then go a step further and make sure that your work shows single moms working, having fun with their kids, and living full lives. If every mom in your advertising is married, white and wearing a cardigan, then you’re missing something.

Single moms have an identity outside of “mom”.

The single moms we talked to have interests outside of raising children. They work hard at their jobs, they’re involved in their communities, and they take time for themselves. They indulge with beauty treatments, make time for hobbies, eat meals out alone, and go out with friends. Any experience they can have without their children can become a treat.

“We make time for ourselves, we do things for ourselves. It’s about balancing life …. You have to have time for yourself and your own identity.” (Lori, mother of 1)

“My mother taught me that a happy mom is a happy house. So, if you’re not happy, that is something that should take priority and it’s ok to take priority.” (Faith, mother of 3)

Your brand should add value to their busy lives.

Single moms don’t have time to shop, compare prices, or read labels, so they stick with brands they trust for consistent quality and value. They’re creative in making the most of their time and money, and they appreciate brands that help them with that. And while they watch their spending, they still often prioritize convenience, quality, healthy choices, and style. They’re loyal to brands that provide these because it gives them much-needed short cuts when shopping.

“The pace of being a single mom … is mania. It’s constant.” (Faith, mother of 3)

“Time is not on your side when you are the only income in the household, things have to run as smooth as possible.” (Mara, mother of 3)

Single moms are fiercely passionate and dedicated to raising good humans.

We also talked to the kids of single moms. We found that they are independent, well-adjusted, and financially and personally responsible. They’re proud of their mothers and respect what they do. And single moms are very intentional about giving their children the tools to become successful adults. They invite other adults into their children’s lives from family and the community. They think about parenting, they’re self-aware, and they seek information about being better parents. They’re also honest and they want spaces where they can talk with other moms about the real-life experiences and difficulties they face.

“I honestly can’t really tell you what it feels like to be raised by a single mom because my mom, she really filled both positions (of mom and dad), flawlessly. There’s a lot to my mom that even I didn’t see because that’s how she carries herself because she’s not dependent on anyone.” (Mara’s teenaged son)

“I wanted Ella to have an equal playing field with kids in her school when she started kindergarten. So, I scrimped and saved to buy us a house.” (Lori, mother of 1)

Single moms are a major economic force. Marketers who ask them about their lives, listen to their answers, offer solutions to their problems, and move past stereotypes can win their long-term loyalty — and a lot of their hard-earned dollars. 


BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
32 and Trying



Women spend years trying to avoid getting “knocked up.” Thanks to shows like MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, my generation was scared shitless of becoming a teen-mom statistic. But due to (formerly) open access to birth control and family planning, prevention wasn’t difficult. In fact, in the 2000s it was so accessible that 99% of sexually active women used a contraceptive at some point in that decade.

Now fast forward 10–15 years. You’re in your mid 20s to early 30s — the prime target for anyone trying to market to moms, as the average age of a first-time mother is around 26. Every statistic ladders up to the fact that it’s the right time for you to be thinking about starting a family. You live a healthy lifestyle, you’ve established a good career, and you’re in a healthy relationship. You have the perfect starter home and an adorable dog running around in the backyard. Every weekend is filled with another wedding or baby shower celebrating another amazing person starting a new chapter in their life. You’re watching your friends have their first kid. Then their second. Sometimes even their third. Sounds amazing, right? Why not join in on the fun? You and your partner have thought about having a family, so pull the trigger and do it (literally)! 

So what happens now that you actually want to get pregnant? When you’ve made the conscious decision to bring a human being into the world? Shouldn’t be hard, right? 


It was hard for me. And I’m not alone. According to the CDC, 10% of women in the U.S. struggle with infertility. At first pass, that 10% doesn’t seem significant, but when you do the math, that’s almost 6.1 million women affected.

And just because I wasn’t pregnant didn’t mean I wasn’t bombarded on a daily basis with reminders from advertisers that I should be. Early on I welcomed ads reminding me how much I wanted a baby, but they soon became painful reminders of my struggle to conceive.

Don’t get me wrong, the marketer side of me wasn’t upset these brands were targeting me, because on paper, I fit their perfect-mom profile. But it left me wondering. If one misinterpreted detail of my life can completely skew the type of advertising that would be relevant to me, what other ways are marketers getting it wrong with women and probably wasting a lot of their media budget?

Spoiler alert! It turns out that women are more complex than marketers give them credit for — with or without children.

From a targeting standpoint, women of “childrearing” age have a high propensity to be moms, but as the trend for women choosing to be childless rises, almost half of the women in this age group aren’t your target. As societal norms continue to change, so should ad targeting. Being efficient can save you a lot of money, so it’s imperative — and not just for all the women who roll their eyes when they see your diaper ad — that you look more closely at the quality of the impressions your ads are getting, not just the quantity.

You should be asking the following questions to ensure your ad spend is more than just well-intentioned: How much do you know about the impressions your ads are getting? How are behavioral considerations applied to your targeting? Where can your ad spend get smarter?

Just 10 years ago many of the targeting tactics that brands employ today weren’t available, but now the tools and the people are so much smarter. Now we can connect behavioral searches and retargeting and we can layer on behaviors to get so incredibly specific that if I had googled “why am I having trouble getting pregnant”, many brands would quickly remove me from the retargeting list because they’d know I wasn’t with child. Searching online for an adorable onesie shouldn’t make me a bullseye for your baby formula display ads — I bought it for my nephew!

Luckily for me and my husband, I did eventually get pregnant, but what about the rest of the women who were in the same shoes? In a world where brands pride themselves on connecting emotionally with their consumers, we should put just as much effort into where that message shows up and who’s receiving it. Brands can do better, and should. It’s good for business.


Women's Health


BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
Middle Ageless

I hit the big "5-0" this year. In the 6-month lead-up to the birthday, a continuous stream of pressure came from my mom friends to do something EPIC. Like a gang of genies wanting to activate my biggest bucket-listy wishes, they wouldn’t just let me quietly contemplate the meaning of life. They demanded action.

As I look around me at the behavior of middle-aged moms, I’m witnessing a youthful-like spontaneity and spike in creativity that continues well after the 50th birthday.

Society has pegged middle age as a marker for decline. And a generation ago, moms’ attitudes toward middle age was rooted in the fear of being irrelevant, invisible, frumpy, and no longer physically strong or sexy.

But as women are having children later and have gained more control over life choices compared to a generation ago, are attitudes toward middle-aging changing? Is there an attitudinal rebirth going on?

I look at the data. An observational, anthropological study of my Facebook feed reveals mom friends crushing middle-age stereotypes. Physical, spiritual, and give-back activities and epic experiences abound. My feed is a barrage of moms running Icelandic Ultra 50Ks, hiking R2R (rim-to-rim) in the Grand Canyon, doing downward-facing dog on amazing Costa Rican beaches, marching loudly in the streets of their cities with their daughters and sons, or going on international volunteer missions to bring clean water to third world countries. Meanwhile, skincare brands clog the feed with “age-defying” claims about their creams and serums — society’s negative reminder (buzzkill) that AGE is something to be conquered.

Data shows that 90% of middle-aged moms consider themselves to have a much younger attitude than their own mothers’ generation at the same age.

In a recent study done by the UK Telegraph, 96% of women over 40 don’t feel middle-aged at all. The study found that 80% felt society’s assumptions about middle-aged women do not represent how they live their lives. What does that mean for moms? Most women are moms by middle age, so it means a lot. Brands should pay attention to these new attitudes toward middle life. The majority report using products aimed at younger women!

Yet here is the chasm: Moms are feeling as vibrant and young as they ever have — in the prime of life, not defining themselves by age. But all those brands sitting upon their “Age-Defying” positioning aren’t up to speed with modern mom. She’s actively embracing age. Brands need to get on board with her or get out of her way.

I conveyed this concept of middle-agelessness to my 19-year-old daughter recently when a box from Urban Outfitters showed up at our door and she snagged it, assuming it was hers.  “That bomber jacket is for me,” I told her. “So cute,” she said, “but when did you start shopping at Urban?”

The truth is that she’s been dragging me and my Visa there for many years — for dances, holidays and birthdays. Little did she know I was so captivated by the whole bralette movement that, unbeknownst to her, I bought one for myself. But I stopped short of buying Urban Outfitter’s “premium high-rise jeans” aka mom jeans. Those never looked good on anyone and the irony would be lost on my daughter!

Moms and daughters seem to relate to and influence one another with regard to brands. My daughter and I both enjoy similar food, the same Netflix series, and we often discover and swap apps via iCloud like LimeBikes, car2go, Lyft. And we love to find the perfect AirBnB, sharing photos in our cart before booking.

So if a “youthful” brand like Urban is attractive to me, I wanted to know if other moms were shopping there. That could have implications for brands seeking to engage moms with an ageless mindset. I looked in Simmons’ syndicated research to see if I could challenge my daughter’s perceptions and validate my hunch. Urban radically over-indexes among 18–24-year-olds. No surprise there — they are 4X as likely to shop there. But support drops among 35–44-year-olds who are half as likely. While the brand shows a RALLY among moms ages 45–54. These middle-agers are 24% more likely to shop there. Hunch validated!

Moving beyond Urban Outfitters, I found that Spotify published something interesting they found in their data. Their great tracking metrics saw something unpredictable in their analysis of middle-agers. They found a specific point when middle-aged listeners drop their sophisticated singer-songwriters, their “best of the 80s, 90s and today,” and spontaneously start listening to teen pop. That age is 42.

Video game ads by Untitled Worldwide, show an array of middle-aged women, including a school mom and a female executive in a presentation, responding to a siren with some action-hero-style moves and joining forces to hunt down a criminal. The gaming brand’s research found that 80% of active players are women ages 30–55. It’s significant because the middle-aged female demographic is often left out of video game culture, often stereotyped as fans of puzzle games like Candy Crush rather than action games.

I also checked in on Hollywood middle-aged moms like Brooke Shields and Julia Roberts, both of whom seem to be giving middle age the middle finger. Calvin Klein just signed Brooke, proof that denim isn’t just for a clique of youthful models. And People magazine recently named Julia Roberts as the World’s Most Beautiful Woman 2017, 26 years after she first made the list! Julia also refused to get a facelift. She prefers more natural methods of feeling younger, including studying yoga and “decluttering” her life. “There’s a lightness to my life now — an airy quality of not taking things too seriously,” she said, “That's happiness.”

Youthful spirit. Sexy. Curious. Spontaneous. Health-and-wellness seeking. These are behaviors marketers often associate with millennials. But moms are both at their peak financial power and feeling in the prime of life, staying relevant to technology, fashion, culture. And recognizing that presents us with a great opportunity to relate to their optimism and help them rewrite the rules of middle-aging.

“Thirty years ago, there were clear-cut rules about how a woman should look after a certain age,” says Poupak Sionit, CMO of GlamSquad, an app that allows users to order hair and makeup services to their doors on short notice. “But those lines are very blurred right now.” It’s not about age anymore. It’s about what makes you feel good.

Moms are crushing the middle-age label and so should brands.


The Telegraph
Simmons Market Research

BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
That's Not The Way, Baby Dove.

A surefire way to get a new mom (or not-so-new mom, for that matter) passionate is to bring up the subject of breastfeeding. Should you or shouldn’t you? What if you can’t? For how long? Where do you do it? How do you handle it when you go back to work?

Not to mention, breastfeeding is hard. Any mom will tell you that getting a newborn to do such a seemingly natural thing as latch onto the most sensitive part of a boob — that has tripled to Dolly-Parton-ish proportions overnight — with a tiny, ravenous, mouth-clamp in order to, ya know, stay alive, is about as low-stress and pleasant as … there are no analogies. Maybe a piranha gnawing on a testicle?

Point being, unless you have experienced the frustration, the stress, the pain, the leaking, the approval, the disapproval, the side-glances, the stares, the desperate search for privacy, the eventual wonder, joy and blessed oxytocin that makes the whole experience worthwhile, you can’t relate to breastfeeding. And that’s okay.

But you probably shouldn’t be building an ad around it.

Even with the best intentions, Unilever UKs Baby Dove ad featuring breastfeeding was a miss on multiple fronts.

The ad poses that “75% of people say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25% say put them away. What’s your way?“ Um, FYI, Dove, “your way” doesn’t matter, because since 2010, it has been against the law in the UK to tell a woman she cannot breastfeed in public. So, on top of being insensitive, Dove didn’t do their research, or failed to take government policy into consideration. Strike one.

Another big issue. The tone-deaf nature of the content makes it apparent no breastfeeding moms were involved in the making or approving of this ad. Or if so, their voices weren’t heard. It’s no wonder over 50% of moms around the world feel misunderstood and misrepresented in ads. Because again, if you’ve ever had to juggle a desperately hangry baby, a breast that could out-squirt a Super Soaker, and the wandering eyes of confused and judgmental strangers, you would have never thrown this topic out for public vote. Strike two.

And finally, the products Dove was advertising (baby skin care) didn’t even directly relate to breastfeeding. Making it seem they co-opted this touchy subject just for press. Strike three.

This is all especially disappointing and surprising considering Dove’s recent history of insightful, powerful ads like the Campaign for Real Beauty. But it highlights the importance of weighing the real sensitivities and perspectives of your target, whomever that may be.

So run your ads featuring breastfeeding moms by breastfeeding moms! Run your single dad ads by single dads! Run your ads targeting 3-year-olds past … nobody! Please don’t target 3-year-olds. Just remember, no one is expecting you to be an expert on every target. But you are expected to make sure you’re engaging the people who ARE the experts. The target themselves.

BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
Breaking Out Of The Momeotypes

Modern moms are different than the ones you’ve seen on TV. 40% of moms are raising kids alone. 69.9% of moms work. And, for the first time, moms in their 30s are having more kids than those in their 20s.

So why do TV moms in 2017 look exactly the same as they always have? A lot has to do with longstanding stereotypes by both agencies and clients — the momeotypes.

As an advertising creative and mom, the momeotype hits me hard. How do we, as marketers, help to change society’s stereotypes of motherhood, families and women? How do we, as creatives, break out of our own preconceived notions?

Here are a few ideas.



It’s easy to write a traditional nuclear family into scripts. But why? Today, the family dynamic is changing. Only 19% of homes were made up of nuclear families in 2013, compared to 40% of homes in 1970. A script with a single parent, a divorced couple or LGBTQ+ parents isn’t a political stance — it’s a true reflection of the diversity of real American families.



Whenever you can, swap gender roles. 80% of moms say they like ads that show dads who are involved with parenting. It’s time to feature more dads preparing dinner, girls playing with trucks, or even Mom coming home from work to relieve Dad. How many ads show a dopey dad doing something idiotic while the mom rolls her eyes? Swapping gender roles in the media empowers dads too.



Let’s throw the casting net further than the size 2, 25-year-old white lady. That means looking past cyborg-perfect models to someone who actually resembles the mom across the street. It means making sure to cast without ageism and with ethnic diversity in mind.



Let’s create and champion content that celebrates real life. Real moms aren’t perfect, they don’t cook Instagram-ready dinners on a weeknight or dress business-casual at home. Sometimes the aspirational gets in the way of the relatable. Instead of giving moms an unrealistically idealized version of motherhood, let’s draw from human truths. Let’s talk to moms honestly. Let’s get real.



Let’s all open up a little.

Let’s take responsibility and make what we put out there count. It’s time to look at our own work as a way to change the media landscape and to shake the stereotypes we use as crutches.  

Let’s fight for work that connects with moms by drawing from human truths, not just traditional aspirations.

Let’s hire and promote more moms to diversify creative voices and industry thought leaders. That also means creating flexible environments so that all parents and caregivers can thrive in their roles at work and at home.

When you only have 30 seconds to tell a story, stereotypes become an easy sell. As marketers, let’s challenge ourselves to create advertising that reflects diverse family lives and nonconforming gender roles. Let’s challenge more clients to buck the momeotypes and reflect the world as it actually exists.

BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
M2Moms Conference 2017

Join the founders of June Cleaver is Dead, as they present "It’s time to rethink your marketing and workplace" at the M2Moms conference in NYC on October 3rd. 

This provocative presentation will examine the intersection between marketing and motherhood across a variety of fronts. What ads clearly suffer from a lack of the mom perspective? What does walking the walk really mean when it comes to championing moms in the workplace? And what happens when you put a campaign into the world about a serious mom issue that needs a national spotlight? This 15-minute talk will not only make you rethink how you’re marketing to moms, but also the way you are attracting and retaining mom talent.

Get your tickets here.

BLOGelizabeth layBLOG
It's Not 1955 Anymore. Or Is It?

This famous David Ogilvy quote should feel antiquated by now. It’s sexist, it makes a pretty obvious point, it’s 62 years old. Yet, this June Cleaver era wisdom is still surprisingly relevant.

For one, Ogilvy was making the revolutionary point that those who make ads must have respect for their consumers as intelligent human beings. 85% of those making purchase decisions are women, and marketing to her effectively starts with, oh I don’t know, not treating her like an idiot. When it comes to moms specifically, this requires us to go beyond our basic assumptions as to who mom is. It’s more difficult, takes more time, and usually can’t be solved with a jingle. 

Yet we continue to have advertising that reduces us to simpletons — yammering airheads who go ecstatic over romcoms and mani-pedis:

There’s another pretty glaring reason this quote should feel dated — it makes the assumption that all ad-makers are men. And in 1955, most of them were. Even now, there are far more Don Drapers than Peggy Olsons. As a creative director, I’m part of an ad industry where creative leadership is only 11% female.

Why this matters brings me back to the first point. Making ads starts with, per Ogilvy, understanding your consumer. And having insight into her experiences is part of that understanding. Don’t confuse this with a stance that only moms know how to make ads for moms. But an all-male team of 20-something-year-olds has a much steeper learning curve to understand the mom mindset.

In fact, a homogenous team of any kind is not conducive to great work. The best teams bring in a diverse set of well-informed perspectives. A 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean. Put a talented team together of moms, sons of moms, sisters of moms and husbands of moms — from different backgrounds — and some good primary research, and you’ve got the potential for something non-cliché and effective.

As the power of social media can bring behemoth brands to their knees (#deleteUber), it’s even more important to not miss the mark. Brands can’t control their own narrative as easily as they used to when the :30 TV spot ruled. Now it’s the latest tweet. And since moms are heavy users of social media and are quick to call bullshit, if it was ever the time to not piss off mom, it’s now.

Let us PLEASE get to the point where this 1955 quote finally sounds ridiculously out of date. We’ll get fewer eye-rolls from moms and get more out of our ad dollars — when we’re not contributing to the pollution of advertising that still doesn’t get it.

BLOGChad KukahikoBLOG
The Hyphenate Mom



Did you really think you could tame the stay-at-home mom? While you blinked, modern moms everywhere stepped outside their kitchens (and their comfort zones) to cross over to a category yet to be defined. Women formerly known as the stay-at-home variety are creating a life on their own terms beyond the diaper years — and here’s what it means for marketers.

Get out your labelmakers, friends. We’re gonna need a new label. Preferably one a little catchier than mom-preneuri-carer.

Stay-at-home mothers talked to Slate, and what they said will make your jaw drop. A staggering 62 percent contribute to the household income; 34 percent work an average of 4.5 hours a day and earn income; 23 percent volunteer often and are “heavily involved” with school and activities; and 12 percent are caregivers with special-needs children.

None of these numbers bring visions of well-coiffed ladies channel-surfing between leisurely naps, do they?

For those lumped into the SAHM group by default, it’s complicated. These women do so much more, leaving some to resent the archaic acronym. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover where these alt-category women find themselves during the chapter of life when the days are long and the years are short.



The post was innocent enough on a Tuesday morning. A thread on a closed Facebook group for neighborhood moms burst to life when one mom suggested: “Hey moms, link to your small business in the comments below. Let’s support each other!”

Within minutes, responses piled up like dirty laundry and rolled in for the rest of the day. According to Pew Research, the share of mothers who don’t work outside the home rose to 29 percent in 2012, up from a modern-era low of 23 percent in 1999. But what did this weekday Facebook invitation reveal, exactly?  

The links posted by moms included:

  • Multilevel marketing partnerships, selling supplements, skincare, and essential oils
  • Online Etsy shops featuring beautifully merchandised crib sheets and personalized baby blankets
  • Services offered for party equipment rentals, 3D printing, photography, counseling, tutoring, and lessons in piano or swim
  • Homemade baked goods and organic catering, making life more convenient for those too busy to bother with homemaking
  • Doula support and child sleep specialist helping new mothers survive the early years  

Mom-preneurs are on the rise. Forbes reports that between 1997 and 2012 the number of businesses in the United States increased by 37 percent, and the number of women-owned firms increased by 54 percent — a rate 1.5 times the national average, according to the American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.  

Moms want to create an income source while maintaining the flexible schedule they’ve grown to treasure. If they can sell it and still “stay at home,” they’re in.

Why you should pay attention: As moms’ businesses grow, so does their potential to influence their social-media followers. If your product is what turns them on, they could share that information organically (a marketer’s dream) or plug your product as a sponsor.



Not all moms are busy starting businesses, but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting on the sidelines. Another facet of the hybrid mom is her active engagement in her child’s school and community.

Studies of stay-at-home moms show their education levels have risen: 25 percent of 2012’s SAHMs were college graduates, compared with 7 percent in 1970. And 19 percent in 2012 had less than a high school diploma, compared with 35 percent in 1970. Moms involved in their children’s community are likelier than ever to be highly educated.

Moms involved at school shouldn’t be dismissed — not that they’d let you. They come to committees and board meetings overflowing with skills from their former careers and maybe a little something to prove. Ask any school mom who has seen the cattiness parodied in Bad Moms or dramatized in HBO’s Big Little Lies. The PTA ain’t for the faint of heart.

The statistics might tell some of the story. Half (51 percent) of stay-at-home mothers care for at least one child age 5 or younger, compared with 41 percent of working mothers. School involvement might be the halfway house for moms who eventually return to work.

Why you should pay attention: Their word-of-mouth game is strong. PTA and school-involved mothers influence through the natural interactions they experience daily with children and other parents. Event committees, classroom activities, and even the seemingly innocent pickup and drop-off times are all opportunities for these moms to ask for advice or share the latest thing they can’t live without.



The hyphenate mom can be entrepreneurial, resilient, and far savvier than she often gets credit for. But another kind of SAHM is there for sons and daughters who need extra care. She’s a soldier whose deployment has been extended indefinitely. When other moms are ushering their children into preschool with glee, this mom is puzzling out the next stage of challenges in her child’s life.

How does this “careworker” mom stay home, when presumably more income could ensure better care for her child? The better question might be “Why?” Though they make financial sacrifices to stay home, these moms could perceive that the benefits outweigh the cost. In a recent Pew Research survey, 60 percent of respondents said children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family, compared with 35 percent who said children are just as well off with working parents. Parents of special-needs children may feel this sentiment more acutely.

The rising costs of childcare might also offer some explanation. In 2011, families with employed mothers whose monthly income was $4,500 or more paid an average of $163 a week for child care, representing 6.7% of their family income. Families with monthly incomes of less than $1,500 paid much less –$97 a week on average — but that represented 39.6 percent of their family income. Factoring the costs of specialized care for special needs could lead some moms to opt out of working altogether.  

Why you should pay attention: For moms plowing through caregiving, the advent of the internet and social media was a lifesaver. Though in some cases the mobility of these moms is limited, you’ll find them seeking solutions and connection online.

Walking the tightrope between staying home and the needs of their families is the closest some women get to having it all. From a marketing perspective, these all-around moms — sometimes cleverly disguised in leggings — are worth figuring out.


When she’s not telling jokes on stage, Ann Shrake is usually laughing with her kids, ages 5, 7, and 8. Manners and a second language are nice, but Ann would rather verse her children in cheekiness. In the competition of whose kids are silliest, she’s going for the win.

Ann uses her screenwriting and stand-up comedy background to brighten the branding of clients in fashion, tech and business. She finds humor and a good story are great vehicles for letting the world know what you’re doing here.   

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“Ask Your Father!” We did. And Here’s What He Thinks of Your Father’s Day Ad

Consumers may not be quite as spendy for Father’s Day as they are for Mother’s Day, but with projections of more than $15 billion to be spent on dear old dad, brands are also spending big bucks to get their message in front of consumers on TV. Much like with Mother’s Day, this advertising spans the clichés of fatherhood, pushing ties and power tools, but some seek to make a deeper, more heartfelt connection with audiences. So, which approach resonates? We asked a panel of dads from across the country, of varying ages and ethnicities to find out.


Craftsman Tools - Forefathers of Father's Day

Connecting with humor can be challenging, but sometimes it’s refreshing when a brand doesn’t take itself too seriously – and showing relatable dads helps too. 

“Honestly, the best part of this ad was using the tape measure as an air guitar. The whole thing is pretty terrible, but not quite terrible enough to be good, which is what I think they were going for.”
Father of 2 in Portland, ME

“This was the first ad in the series that actually made me laugh.”
Father of 1 in Jacksonville, FL

“I liked the diversity of the cast.”
Father of 1 in Los Angeles, CA


“The ad blends in with every other male-focus ad that features dopey dudes.”
Father of 2 in Detroit, MI


Dove Men+Care - Celebrate Men Who Are There to Care

This approach to Father’s Day is to celebrate those who are father-adjacent which was mostly relatable and applauded by our panel of dads.

“Loved it... I've been a fan of Dove's "honest" marketing lately.”
Father of 2 in Detroit, MI


“Well done...invites me in and makes me wonder about the stories in each man shown...emotions stirred.”
Father of 2 in Seattle, WA


“Dove does some incredible positive advertising, but this one misses the mark to me. Back off my day, Dove. I don't get a lot of days. Let me have this one.”
Father of 1 in Jacksonville, FL


“I like it, I think it feels sincere. As a dad, I think it strikes the right tone of reminding me that I should take the thanks I get on Father’s Day and spread some of it around. Dove gets to keep me as a customer.”
Father of 2, Portland, ME


Gillette - Go Ask Dad

A far cry from what you’d expect from a men’s grooming company, this commercial pushes into Dove’s real-insights-about-real-people territory with a non-category message about father-son connections. Unfortunately, it lacks the authenticity needed to pull it off. 

“I feel like my relationship with my child wouldn't be better by pretending I was AI [artificial intelligence].” 
Father of 1 in Los Angeles, CA


“I don't experience this with my toddler, but as a son it made me feel good because I call my dad all the time for advice that I probably could have gotten from the internet.”
Father of 1 in Jacksonville, FL


“I liked it. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have a good relationship with my dad and my son.”
Father of 2 in Detroit, MI

“Not digging as trickery. When the kid asks, "how do I shave?"...that pulled the plug on authenticity and made it a sales pitch.”
Father of 2 in Seattle, WA


Interflora - Give Love a Helping Hand

When a brand steps away from a straightforward sales pitch to poignant storytelling it can be a little polarizing, even when done in a beautiful and cinematic style.

“Kind of a reach...trying to tell an emotional story that isn't very realistic. I don't know what they were trying to sell or who they are.”
Father of 2 in Detroit, MI


“At first, I thought it was a laundry detergent ad, then thought it might be a divorce or drug help ad, then realized it was a dating app? No likey.”
Father of 1 in San Francisco, CA


“I know nothing about the brand and still don't after watching this.”
Father of 1 in Los Angeles, CA


“Cute ad. I like how the shift in perspective turned what could have been a really predictable laundry ad into a romantic story ending with flowers. It makes me want buy flowers.”
Father of 2 in Portland, ME


Cineplex - Share reel love for Father's Day

Tugging at dad’s heartstrings can be challenging, but Cineplex has found where their product genuinely touches the dad-audience, and hits them deep.

“The best part in a dad's life is sharing it with his children, the absolute best. I LOVE this ad.”
Father of 4 in Palatka, FL


“As a dad, I thought it cute and I'm excited to share those similar experiences with my daughter. Great piece of advertising in my opinion.”
Father of 1, San Francisco


“This is the first of the Father's Day films that actually resonated with me as the father of a girl toddler. A number of ads I've seen are geared toward the father/son bond, particularly older father/sons, which really ignores a large part of the potential target audience.”
Father of 1, Jacksonville


“I liked the concept of the ad, but it kinda missed a bit....maybe it's the awkwardness of watching classic movies in an empty theater.”
Father of 2, Detroit



Oberto Beef Jerky- Father's Day with Gronk

When a brand knows itself, their audience will too. Dads dig authenticity – and, apparently, ties made out of beef jerky.

“Definitely makes you think of beef jerky. Anyone who is a fan will like it and I'm a fan.”
Father of 2 in Las Vegas, NV


Father of 2 in Seattle, WA


“This commercial is awesome in every way.”
Father of 1 in San Francisco, CA


“Seriously, is that a real thing, cause I want one. Total son's gift to dad, thoughtful yet practical.”
Father of 4 in Palatka, FL

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The Awesomeness of Modern Dads



In 1957 The New York Times published an article entitled “Trousered Mothers and Dishwashing Dads.” It detailed the growing concerns of the “confusion of male and female roles.” The article earnestly reflects on questions like “How can a boy learn what it means to be a man … when a mother and father in so many homes carry out identical tasks in relations to home and children?” And concludes “It would seem, then, that this problem — if it is a problem — is not merely a peculiarity of the American way of life brought about by the “dominant American woman” but a developing trend of modern civilization.”

Well, *cough*, it’s 60 years later and THIS dominant American woman is very happy to be the breadwinner of the family, and married to an incredible man who stays home with our three sons. And it is BECAUSE my husband does the dishes, and the laundry, and the bus drop-offs and pickups, and makes the lunches, and gives the baths, and dispenses the medicine that I KNOW my boys are going to learn what it means to be a man. We are not raising our sons to know a male’s role vs. a female’s role at home, we’re raising them to know what true partnership is.


Huggies dad test

When it comes to advertising portrayals of dads and their role, we’ve zoomed past the 1950s hands-off dad, and mostly past the bumbling doofus dad. The latter may have officially been killed off with Huggies’ horribly misguided “Dad Test” in 2012. The opening VO line is still cringe-worthy today: “To prove Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test possible … DADS.” The rest of the ad plays out like the highly polished yet unholy matrimony of The Real World and America’s Funniest Videos.

Luckily, we’ve entered a new realm of “Dadvertising” where dads are authentically portrayed as engaged, emotional, sentimental, caring parents and human beings. It’s advertising that’s reflective of today’s dads. A 2016 Pew Research study found that nearly 66% of American households are dual-income, and compared to 1960s fathers, today’s dads spend triple the amount of time with their kids and do double the housework.


Dove Men+Care

In 2015 Dove conducted its own research, finding that while 75% of dads say they are responsible for their child’s emotional well-being, only 20% of dads see this role reflected in the media. Since then, Dove Men+Care has done a fantastic job portraying the modern Dad as an emotional pillar in the family unit – an encourager, a sympathizer, a cheerleader, and a playmate — all anchored by #realstrength and the tagline “Care makes a man stronger.” It’s also notable that Dove Men+Care portrays gay fathers and have launched specific efforts for servicemen away from their kids. And with their 2017 Father’s Day work they speak to the network of male influence and care that help make our kids confident, well-rounded people (grandpas, teachers, uncles, coaches.)


Tide DadMom

Tide is an example of an advertiser who initially misstepped in Dadvertising, got called out, listened to the criticism, and turned it around. In 2011 Tide released a campaign called “DadMom” in which the featured dad folds laundry while speaking to camera. He presents his laundry abilities as exceptional vs. ordinary, labels himself as a “DadMom” vs. a dad, and emphasizes working out at the end to offset his implied less-manly duties. This ad attempted to defy gender roles and instead continued to propagate them. Yuck, eye-roll, groan.

However, to Tide’s credit, they returned a couple years later with ads featuring dads folding laundry again. Only this time the dads were just … dads. Dads who play with their daughters and do the laundry because they’re grown-ups and it needs to get done. Not because they deserve a pat on the back for being male and doing laundry, or because they’re filling in for mom, or my absolute least favorite — because they’re doing mom a “favor.”


Reynolds Wrap Dinner in America

This segues into what I’m most excited for in future portrayals of modern moms and dads in advertising — normalcy. It’s advertising that makes cute terms like “Dadvertising” and “Momvertising” obsolete. Just moms and dads working together in a finely choreographed partnership as the norm, not the exception. Especially as the number of stay-at-home dads continues to rise in America. And that’s why I was so struck by a simple vignette in Reynolds Wrap’s latest spot “Dinner in America.” The VO is in the narration style of a 1950s newsreel, and speaks to the ritual of dinner. Yet, as the VO says “The sun is setting on another fine day in the USA as the breadwinner arrives home from work,” the visual shows a man taking a casserole out of the oven as his wife comes home from work and places a bottle of wine on the counter. Yes, it could be improved by dropping the tongue-in-cheek VO, but this ad made me stop in my tracks. There was finally an advertising representation of me, my husband, our family and our normal.

I look forward to more representations of other versions of at-home normal in advertising — single moms, single dads, gay parents, grandparents raising grandkids, etc. There’s no ONE way to parent. Brands that recognize the diversity of family structures, roles and responsibilities, and reflect those realities in their advertising will be rewarded with customer loyalty and affinity. Again, the Reynolds Wrap ad isn’t even that good, but it is the first ad that is representative of my reality. So off to Costco I go to buy more Reynolds Wrap (see you later generic aluminum foil) which will probably be primarily used by my husband. And that’s just the way we like it.

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Scene of the Crime #IPumpedHere Campaign
Storage room.jpeg

Today I returned to the place where I pumped my breasts for 6 months about 19 years ago. It was a storage closet in the musty bowels of a turn-of-the-century office building. The door had no lock, so I placed a sign on the outside that read: “WARNING. High-voltage lactation device. Enter and you’ll be shocked.” And just in case someone couldn’t read, I pumped with my back up against the door. My last measure was to drop the blinds and put a chair against the side crack to prevent hall walkers from trying to peek-a-boo at my mom work.

This was a scene from 1998.  After 6 months, I declared it a bust. As the only mom at work, rather than speak up, I quit breastfeeding — cold turkey. Bad idea. The mastitis and inadequacy I felt was worse than body-blocking the door a few times a day.

Cut to 2010. A mighty grassroots mom advocacy organization called MomsRising craftily sneaks a one-sentence provision into the Affordable Care Act requiring employers with 50 or more employees to give working moms “reasonable break time … and “a place other than a bathroom, that is shielded in view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public to express breast milk.”

Better than a bathroom. It’s a start.

That little storage closet I pumped in would literally be A CRIME SCENE by today’s law.

So how is America doing in giving moms “better than a bathroom”? Anecdotally, women in our office feel particularly compromised when they travel. They’ve experienced airports and conference facilities lacking clean, accessible places to pump. And in the news as recently as last week, pilots and flight attendants sued Frontier Airlines over the right to pump breast milk at work.

Data shows that, despite the ACA provision, 60%* of lactating moms STILL do not have access to adequate places to pump at work! Forbes responded to the study with this headline: “Employers routinely break the law when it comes to breastfeeding moms.” And of all who are affected, the women who struggle the most with combining work with breastfeeding are women in low-wage jobs.

In our current political environment, that 1 sentence in the ACA is under threat.

But there’s hope. WONGDOODY and grassroots organization MomsRising have teamed up to launch #IPumpedHere, a multifaceted campaign to drive attention to the serious lack of clean, legal places for breastfeeding mothers to pump when they return to work. Through social media channels and advocacy resources at, the campaign empowers breastfeeding moms to share their pumping experiences as a creative tool to urge employers and lawmakers to expand protections for breastfeeding moms at work.

And we’re happy to report that through a fairly simple and inexpensive upgrade, both our Seattle and LA offices are not only meeting the requirement of the law, but exceeding it. Affordable Care Act brought American moms “better than a bathroom,” but it’s up to employers to do better for moms. WONGDOODY did that by following the simple AIA (American Institute of Architects) Best Practices In Lactation Room Design, a terrific guide to necessities for these rooms. My new-mom coworkers feel so inspired by the room, and most importantly, how it signals a work culture that completely supports their lactation plan.

What’s good for Baby is good for Mom. And what’s good for Mom is good for companies. After all, companies with lactation support have been shown to retain nursing moms at a rate of 94%.  

*University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health National Study conducted post-ACA legislation

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