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Millennial Parents Crave Inclusivity In Advertising

November 21, 2019 Carolyn Harding

Photo from https://www.mdgadvertising.com  Chart: Among Dads Who Switch Brands Upon Becoming A Parent

Combining $1.3 trillion in spending power and a reputation as the most digitally-driven generation of parents to date, Millennial moms and dads are becoming a digital marketers’ dream, representing a significant spending group. However, a recent case study from Kraft Heinz and YPulse showed a growing number of Millennial parents want parental roles in advertising to mirror their own. 

Millennial Dads Want A More Realistic Portrayal Of Their Parenting Roles

82% of the Millennial parents surveyed in the Kraft Heinz and YPulse study stated that advertisements need to do a better job of messaging mothers and fathers equally.

Specifically, Millennial dads do not believe the families depicted in media and advertisements accurately reflect their own households, with many fathers stating they don’t agree with the cliché of the “bumbling dad.” 74% of dads went on to say they believe marketers are out of touch with modern family dynamics, and 38% shared they do not believe brands portray their roles as parents accurately. In regards to the overall parenting role, 85% of Millennial dads claimed they know more than people give them credit for.

Millennial Parents Are More Influenced By Social Media Now Than Ever

Photo from https://www.mdgadvertising.com Digital and Mobile Are Essential For Younger Dads infographic

As quickly as Millennials are having children, technology is evolving to meet the demands of these tech-savvy parents, due in part to the fact that this group is significantly more influenced by social media than traditional advertising. 77% of new Millennial parents said they felt pressure from social media, with 32% admitting they purchased something for their children they saw on a social media platform.

With an increased number of both mom and dad working full-time jobs, Millennial parents are now doing the majority of their shopping online in order to make up for limited free time. 57% of Millennial parents currently have Amazon Prime accounts, with 74% stating their children watch the majority of content on streaming devices as opposed to regular cable.

Keeping in mind the importance of targeting dads as often as moms, 80% of Millennial dads said they utilize YouTube as an outlet to research parenting-related information, 59% use mobile and 45% stick to online search as their primary resource for helpful parenting tips.

Brands Are Adjusting To The Way In Which Parenting Roles Are Advertised

photo from www.mdgadvertising.com in many categories, most people of both genders are decision makers

According to Kantar’s Getting Gender Right report, several categories that have historically targeted women through marketing (ads for laundry products, household cleaners, etc.) have begun incorporating more balanced gender attitudes.

A number of well-known brands have recently illustrated their efforts to conform to Millennial parents’ requests and are actively trying to break down stereotypes:

  • Dove Men+Care pushed for inclusive marketing through a campaign advocating for paternity leave.
  • Procter & Gamble set out on a goal of providing 5,000 baby changing tables for men’s restrooms.
  • A recent campaign from Gillette encouraged consumers to take stands against toxic masculinity and create positive change by encouraging today’s society to shift from a “boys club mentality” and toward inclusivity.
  • Mars Wrigley pledged to portray men and women more equitably in its advertising efforts moving forward.  

photo from millwardbrown.com marketers seem to be targeting according to stereotypes in some categories % females in target

Unilever CMO Keith Weed recently said the increasing gender representation in advertisements is “an economic issue, not just a moral issue.” Unilever’s research showed inclusive marketing leads to an increase in purchase intent and improves many consumers’ views of the brand’s credibility.  

Similar research from Kantar found gender-skewed brands tend to underperform compared to gender-balanced brands, and 6 out of 10 women say the way women are portrayed in ads is outdated.

Ultimately, brands must realize both genders are decision makers when it comes to the products they are purchasing – from groceries to utilities to larger purchases like cars – and marketing should be reflective of the gender balance, as research shows gender-tailored marketing is a turn-off for many consumers, according to Harvard Business School Working Knowledge.

Digital Marketers Can Benefit From Inclusive Marketing For Millennial Parents

By Millennial dads openly expressing their desires for advertisements geared toward them just as much as Millennial moms, marketers have the opportunity to capitalize on a demographic they may not have targeted in the past. No matter which avenue advertisers choose to take in order to reach parents – whether through social-first campaigns or convenient e-commerce offers for this time-starved demographic – the brands that successfully create messaging that connects with both Millennial parents will have the potential to build lifetime loyalty over the time period in which Millennials are raising their kids.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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