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The winning formula for marketing to fathers


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The winning formula for marketing to fathers

  2. 2. Executive SummaryYahoo! Recently released data1 showing that The second thing we look at is what theFathers are spending more and more of the perceived benefits are of having children,household budget and yet are still not included we see that in a similar way to the investments,and often actively excluded from marketers the benefits also fall into 2 main categories;messaging. So as this often ignored audience the emotional benefits and the financialsegment becomes a more important target benefits. Again we see how these twohow should we best talk to them? benefits are interchangeable, and as the financial benefits of children decreases soThis paper looks at what makes fatherhood an the perceived emotional benefit increases.enjoyable and rewarding experience for men.By looking at research carried out on non- By knowing the things that fathers are willinghuman primates we first learn that fathers to invest into fatherhood and also knowingreally look to invest their limited resources what they perceive as the benefits we canin two main areas. They invest in being a begin to pull together a simple model thatgood father, and doing all the things that helps us understand which dials we needensures an infants survival up to adolescence, to turn and what perceptions we need toand they also invest in securing a mate influence in order to help fathers feel thatand doing all the things that ensures when the benefits of fatherhood far outweighmating time comes around they have the the investment.pick of females. We also learn that thesetwo investments are often interchangeable,with some males investing more in mating thanbeing a good father and some invest more in Maurice Wheeler, Doco, 2011bringing up their infants and less in mating.
  3. 3. Fathers have becomemarginalised in modern societyFathers have it tough you know, they aren’t At least in agrarian society where man was or for their destructive impact, as when theyblessed with the hormones, instincts and focused on agriculture and animal husbandry, were abusive, neglectful, or dead.”unique equipment mums have to help them there was a clear need for the father to teach Dr Diamond also talks of how fathers are onquickly define their role and guide them in his children the skills of the land. However, a complex, challenging journey to becomingwhat they need to do.  since the industrial revolution where fathers responsible parents in the eye of modern were separated from their families, shipped offIt was always understood that the patriarch’s society, a journey riddled with moments of to huge factories, and there was no option torole in society was to provide food and protect feeling emasculated, side-lined and ultimately teach your children the way of the steel mill,his territory; this is the case for nearly all of wondering what their role is. (Diamond 2007) this role of skills teacher has also diminished.the animal kingdom, including us humans. However, most Western civilisations have Dr Diamond, author of the book “My Fatherremoved a father’s need to physically stand Before Me: How Fathers and Sons Influenceat the cave’s entrance and protect his family, Each Other Throughout Their Lives”2 summedby providing a police force and legal systems it up well in a recent interview on his website3and by ensuring that society as a whole moves when he said:towards becoming safer and more protective “There are many reasons why fathers hadof one another. We are also making great become the “forgotten parent.” Despite thestrides in ensuring a mother can fulfil the role apparent timelessness of the father-son bond --of “breadwinner” with the same effectiveness and more generally, the father-child connectionas a father. – a sense of its power and closeness have waxedMen are typically simple beasts  and knowing and waned over time. In agrarian society, forwhat box they are expected to be in is one instance, fathers were very involved in theirof their great comforts - take away this clear children’s lives. Yet by the end of World War II,role definition and they will begin to feel fathers were seldom thought of as contributingdisenfranchised and useless. to their children’s healthy development. Instead, they were more notable for their absence,
  4. 4. The benefits of a transaction needto out weigh the investment In the words of economists the world over, The benefits of the house are its four beds and you are happy if the benefits outweigh the its great location. If they believe the benefits investment. If you’re really thirsty and decide of the house outweigh the investment they will you’d spend £1 on a bottle of water you’ll be buy the house and feel very happy. If we were happy if you find a bottle of water for just 50p to use a mathematical equation to show if the as the benefits of the water, in your opinion, house buyer would be happy with this house outweigh the investment. However, if you transaction we would break it down as in the can only find a bottle of water for £5 you will, table at the bottom of the page. understandably be unhappy, as no bottle of So Fi+Ti<Sb+Lb is the equation for working water is worth a £5 investment! out if a house buyer will ultimately be happy To determine how we can make fathers with their real estate decision. happy we should look at what they are investing What we want to find out is what the equivalent into fatherhood and what they perceive as its is for working out if a man will ultimately be benefits. The analogy of the bottle of water is a happy with his role as a father? relatively simple one, and might not reflect the complexities of a father’s investment/benefit Working out the fatherhood equation requires calculation, so let’s look at a more complicated us to deduce what a father’s perceived transaction, such as buying a house. investment options are and what his perceived benefits will be. When we have an understanding A house buyer has £250K to buy a house with of the resources he is willing to invest (like the and they feel for this money they would want time and money investment resources in the a three-bed house in a nice town with a good house analogy) and an understanding of the school. They find a great £250K four-bedroom things he feels are beneficial (like the house’s house, off the beaten track and in a lovely town size and location benefit), we can see how we but the nearest good school is 30 minutes might be able to manipulate perceptions to away. So their investment will be £250K plus make the fatherhood decision more rewarding. the time and effort of getting their children to and from the good school. 250K Financial investment + Time needed to get child to school Time investment < The benefits |of having a big house Size benefit + Being in a good location Location benefit
  5. 5. Males balance their investmentbetween mating and parentingThe nature and dynamics of what a man The second is all the resources neededinvests in fatherhood is complex to say the to actually secure a mate, so all the ritual,least, and society and culture will have an chasing off other male rivals, appearing toenormous influence on how a father balances be genetically superior to other males andthe equation. In order to try and cut through again all the other things we as humans canthese external influences I like to turn to our associate with. The anthropologists call thesenon-human primate cousins and use them two buckets the parental investment (Pi) andas way of cutting things right back to the the mating investment (Mi). Just as our housebare bones. buyer has their financial investment and time investment, primates have a similar investmentFortunately there is a large body of research structure for being a father.(Alexander at al. 1979; Barash 1982; Kurlandand Gaulin 1984; Kleiman and Malcolm 1981; Interestingly different primates attach aAlexander and Noonan 1979 to name a few) different value to the different parts of theirlooking into the dynamic of the adult male/ investment portfolio. As an example if ourinfant relationship in non-human primates. house buyer was a very rich man with veryThese esteemed anthropologists have boiled little spare time, he might want to prioritisedown the investment male primates put into his resources differently and spend more onfatherhood into two main components. The a house that is closer to a good school. Thusfirst component is all the resources they put increase his financial investment (Fi) in orderinto being a good parent such as feeding, to reduce his time investment (Ti). Or if theprotecting, disciplining and other things we as house buyer was a poor man with loads ofhumans will find familiar. time available, he might want to buy a cheaper house an hour away from the school, i.e. reduce his Fi and increase his Ti.
  6. 6. Males balance their investmentbetween mating and parentingPrimates have been shown to do the same. different reasons. The Owl Monkey lives in aTypically males will prioritise more of their very monogamous society where they formlimited resources on mating investment (Mi), pair bonds i.e. a female Owl monkey will pairand less on parental investment (Pi), and up with a male Owl Monkey and only mate withfemales will do the opposite and invest less each mating (Mi) and much more in parental Thus, the amount a male monkey needs toresponsibilities (Pi). This is the same across invest in mating (Mi) is hugely reduced and asalmost all animals where the female carry the a result the males invest lots more in parentingyoung and therefore by default needs to invest (Pi). The Owl Monkey is one of only a handfulmassive amounts in parenting. of primates where males are the primary careHowever, some primates buck this trend and giver - the mothers only carry the young forchose to invest their resources in different the first week or so of their lives, and the fatherways. For example in the Eburru Cliffs in Kenya, does the majority of the child rearing.Barbera Smuts4 observed Olive baboons So we can see how primates shift the prioritydoing something very different. It would seem of where they chose to invest their resources,the male baboons felt the amount they were but is this the same in humans? We might notinvesting in mating was getting too much, it want to admit it as it does sound very shallowwas a very aggressive polygamous society and that a man would only invest in parenting ifthe numbers just weren’t adding up. So they set it meant they got ‘preferential mating rights’about trying to reduce the amount of resources with the child’s mother but some researchinvested in mating (obviously subconsciously, recently published in the scientific journalinstinctively and over hundreds if not thousands PNAS5 shows that when men become fathersof years of evolution) by shifting their their levels of testosterone drops, showinginvestment into parenting. The male baboons an inverse correlation between mating andstarted to care for specific infants, and in return fatherhood. Additionally men who lookedthey got preferential mating rights with that after their children for 3 hours or more a dayinfant’s mother. Like our time-poor, cash-rich showed an even more acute drop. This showshouse buyer, they changed the priority of their when you dedicate resources to parentinginvestment and invested more in parenting you naturally reduce resources dedicated(Pi) so that they didn’t need to invest as much to (Mi). In summary, the investment put into fatherhoodThe Owl monkeys of South America have is a combination of parental investment andmade a similar investment decision but for mating investment or Pi+Mi.
  7. 7. Fathers get both emotional andfinancial benefits from fatherhood Why do primates invest in producing offspring? The financial benefits are obvious: have a child Why do they happily care for their young, and when they are old enough send them to fight off competitors, build nests and do all the factory to earn their keep. The emotional the other things that require massive amounts benefits are more complex, I believe they have of investment? Put simply it is about the roots in the instinctive desire to pass on our propagation of the species, or put another way genetic traits. I believe fathers have translated it is about passing on their genes and ensuring this instinctive urge to pass on their genes their offspring do the same. into a more tangible urge to pass on their cultural legacy, their acquired skills and belief Non-human primates do all this instinctively; system. In effect, we have transposed genes they don’t know or care why they are driven for memes. If you turn on the TV in America to do all the crazy things they do in order to during Father’s Day weekend, it is flooded with reproduce; but they just do it. In many ways images of fathers teaching their child how to we human primates are the same, but our fish, how to shave, how to change a bike’s tyre, brains have evolved to the point where we how to sit down and enjoy a game of football like to have rational reasoning and logical and so on. This passing down of traits reminds deduction as the foundation of our decisions. me of a great quote from Ruth E. Renkel about Therefore as the passing down of our genes fatherhood “Sometimes the poorest man leaves is too abstract a concept for us to be able his children the richest inheritance.” to effectively and reasonable rationalise we have begun to try and post-rationalise it with In summary the total reward that men attribute financial and emotional benefits which are far to becoming a father is a combination of the more tangible. It is these two benefits - like the emotional benefit and the financial benefit. size and location benefits of the house - that we use on the other side of the fatherhood equation; these are the benefits that justify the investment.
  8. 8. Fathers get both emotional and financial benefits from fatherhood In a similar way as with the investment ‘portfolio’ coincidentally, emotional relationships between we are prone to give emotional and financial parents and children were less affectionate back benefits different weighting in the equation then. As the value of children has diminished, depending on the situation. Our house buyer and the costs have escalated, the belief that mentioned earlier might look at the benefits parenthood is emotionally rewarding has gained of a four-bed house off the beaten track, and currency. In that sense, the myth of parental joy decide that, as he has five children he would is a modern psychological phenomenon.” rather have a house with more bedrooms and Modern-day parents play a balancing game sacrifice the location. with both the perceived emotional benefit Equally he might like being in the heart of (Eb) and financial benefits (Fb), at the moment things and would be more than happy to have a the trend is towards children having a higher smaller house in order to have a better location. emotional rather than financial benefit. Maybe So in the house buyer’s equation one person in the future as the aging population needs would happily downgrade the perceived benefit to rely more and more on their children for of the location (Lb) as they believe having a financial support this trend will begin to wane greater size benefit (Sb) to be more preferable. and the emotional benefits will be perceived This goes the other way round as well. The as being less important. However, it is the sum same is true with how parents have weighted of the benefits that fathers consider to be the up and prioritised the emotional benefits (Eb) overarching payoff for having children. and financial Benefits (Fb). This was summed So now we have both sides of our equation, both up nicely by Eibach & Mock6 (2011) when they investment and benefit, we can see how we end concluded that: up with the fatherhood happiness equation of “In an earlier time, kids actually had economic Pi+Mi<Eb+Fb. value; they worked on farms or brought home paychecks, and they didn’t cost that much. NotTime needed to father your child Parental investment + Time and effort taken to find a mate Mating investment < Emotional benefit of having a child Emotional benefit + Financial benefit of having a child Financial benefit
  9. 9. Fatherhood is however not asshallow as it all seems On face value this seems terribly cynical, shallow and ultimately a damning indictment of a father’s motivation.  Some could look at the fatherhood model, and draw the conclusion that: “Fathers want to pass on their traits to ensure their legacy thrives in the future, and they want to do this with as little effort as possible. Therefore fathers want to keep their investment in fatherhood as small as possible and their most effective strategy to do this is to look after the children as it means they don’t need to try as hard to ‘secure the on- going mating rights of the child’s mother’ thus making more offspring easier to produce.” However on second inspection it can actually show a more virtuous driving force. We could instead deduce from the equation that: “Fathers want to ensure their best characteristics, skills and knowledge are passed on to their children to give them every chance of doing well. They also realise the best environment to do this in is a functioning and loving family unit.” Depending on which side of the cynical line you sit you can derive a motivation that is not necessarily noble in its origins, but is definitely honourable in its execution.
  10. 10. By understanding what makesfathers happy we can effectivelyengage with themWhy is Pi+Mi<Eb+Fb interesting. For someit may seem like a pointless exercise inanthropological, economical and mathematicalnavel gazing, not dissimilar to when ‘scientists’discovered the formula for the perfect joke(c=(m+nO)/p). In fact it is a very useful tool formarketers when they look at ways of engagingwith fathers.We have a saying at Doco, we didn’t coin itbut we use it a lot,: “Help me, don’t sell to me.”The best way to engage with an audience is { }to understand what they are going through,understand where they are looking for help, ‘Help me, don’tand then create scenarios where our client’sbrands can help solve their problem. In the sell to me’case of tweens it is all about garnering socialacceptance and understanding their positionwithin society, for kids is it about helping themunderstand who they are and how they wantto be perceived. For fathers it is about helpingthem be happy with their role of being a father.What this equation does is help us understandthe mechanics that goes into a father’shappiness, we now know the knobs, levers andpulleys we need to manipulate in order to makethe fatherhood happiness equation a morepositive one.
  11. 11. Happiness is achieved throughreducing investment andincreasing perceived benefitsThe astute amongst you will have noticed thateach of the factors that go in Pi+Mi<Fb+Eb are allsubjective measures, they are all benchmarkedagainst the expectations of the individualfather. Two fathers who put in exactly the sameamount of effort in parenting will perceivetheir investment as being different dependingon what they are measuring against. It is thisperception that we marketers try and influence:we try and make the perceived investment seemas small as possible and the perceived benefitas large as possible. Just like Guinness turnedthe perceived investment of the long wait forthe bar man to pour the drink into somethingworth investing in with the slogan “Good thingscome to those who wait”, we want to make theinvestment of being a good father and partnerseem small in comparison to the huge emotional(and to a lesser extent financial) benefits.With this in mind we can condense marketingto fathers down to four main strategies:Reduce perceived parental investmentReduce perceived mating investmentIncrease perceived emotional benefitIncrease perceived financial benefit
  12. 12. Examples of strategies in actionVisa – “Go World” AdThis ad from Visa shows how Olympian DerekRedmond in Beijing 2008 tore his Hamstring inthe 200m men’s semi final event.Seeing Derek in pain and unable to finish hisfather ran onto the course and helped him overthe line.It was a very simple gesture, requiring very littleparental investment yet the emotional benefitwas huge. Scan QR code to see video All the videos can be seen in the blog post
  13. 13. Examples of strategies in action some TV time at the end of the day; all showing Reduced mating investment how easy it is to be a great dad. The final scene shows the mum coming home Increased emotional benefit to find father and son on the sofa, having some quality snooze time, and she showing she As discussed previously the emotional benefits is happy. of being a father being particularly well demonstrated and articulated when you show Finally what I like most about this advert is they how a father can pass on their traits to the next don’t resort to the stereotypical useless dad generation, continuing his legacy if you like. This story line. It is a play often used to ensure they is also well shown in this campaign, particularly are not alienating mothers “don’t worry, dad in the print execution. Father and son, eating can still not do it better than you” with clichédSainsbury’s – Live Well for Less the same cake, drinking from the same cup, destroyed house and eye rolling mums. This same hair, same bag, same jeans, same jumper, tired device it is patronising to mums who areThe new Sainsbury’s “Live well for less” it is like a mirror is placed down the middle of rarely that insecure to think their job as mum iscampaign is a great example of how to market the two allowing father to see himself and see under threat, it is insulting to dads to assumeto fathers. It hits all 4 strategic points through the legacy he has created, the perfect creative they cannot look after their children for a daygreat execution and consideration. execution of showing fathers the emotional without accidentally burning the house downReduced parental investment benefits of having a son. and as importantly it is damaging to the brand as it sets up divisive lines between father andThe campaign shows a father taking his son out Increased financial benefit mother and thus does not show how being afor a day at the seaside; all the activities they The whole campaign is around ‘living well good father makes a stronger family are simple and cheap activities. Most fathers for less’ so the financial benefits are inherentwill see the advert and be acutely aware of the All in all Sainsbury’s have done a fantastic job in everything, including the TV ad sound of engaging with dads in a market place fullsimplicity of the day, pancakes for breakfast, a track (Disney’s The Jungle Book classic – Thetrain ride, a walk along the pier, a disposable of ads targeting mums. Bare Necessities).barbequed sausage sandwich, an ice cream, Scan QR code to see video
  14. 14. Examples of strategies in action Scan QR code to see video “Nice Car Ad”This classic ad from the 1990’s shows a man the women from the car park arrived behind it turns out they are in fact married and theapparently picking up a women in a car park him to showing that she was in fact his wife. sound from upstairs is their child calling outand having a rather ‘steamy relationship’ with The second advert in the series had a similar for his parents, the dad offers to go and gether, then dropping her back off in the car park. concept, but with a slight role reversal. The the boy up. Both ads play with the conceptHe then goes home to his family, his kids rush mum looks to be having an affair with the of being a great lover as well as being aout and he asks where their mother is, leading car cleaner, and the couple are interrupted great to presume the women who he had picked by a sound coming from upstairs, which weup in the car park was not his wife. At this point are lead to believe is her husband. However Scan QR code to see video
  15. 15. Examples of strategies in actionKFC - ‘One Big Family’Although this KFC ad doesn’t specifically targetfathers, it is no coincidence that the majority ofthe adults in the advert are males rather thanfemales. It shows people getting ready for afamily gathering, focusing particularly on thesmall things you need to do. The underlyingmessage is you don’t need to spend a lotof money or go to huge effort to get thewhole family together, you just need a fewtables and chairs and the rest looks after itself.Playing on the idea of minimising the perceivedamount of parental investment needed toget the family together and enjoy emotionalbenefits. All this is obviously facilitated by theKFC bargain bucket: Scan QR code to see video
  16. 16. Examples of strategies in actionMcDonald’s Happy Meal - ‘Mum v Dad’This advert from McDonalds shows afather trying to show an increased parentalinvestment by being the one to get theMcDonalds Happy Meal first to his son.Even though he ultimately fails to get credit,his playful attempts definitely ingratiateshim with the mum which will be a successin his mind. Scan QR code to see video
  17. 17. Examples of strategies in actionPatek PhillippeAs discussed the key play in resonating with andinfluencing a fathers perceived emotional benefitis to play on the concept of passing things down,be they skills, knowledge, traits, experiences ormaterial possessions. Patek Philippe built anentire brand around it with their “You neveractually own a Patek Phillipe. You merely lookafter it for the next generation” slogan. In theseprint executions they talk about the passingdown of a material possession, but they are alsoshowing the passing down of the other things,and the inference of the continuation of a legacy.The sailing advert shows a father passing onthe skills and experience of sailing, and thewriting advert shows a passing on of mannerismsand gestures.
  18. 18. Examples of strategies in actionReal Estate Investment – GermanyThis advert for a real estate agent takes it onestep further and not only plays on the ‘passthings down to your child’ angle, but proactivelydismisses genetic inheritance as inferior tomaterial inheritance!
  19. 19. Examples of strategies in actionWerther’s Original – ‘Father and Son’Werther’s Originals recently started to moveaway from showing grandfathers to focusingon fathers and their latest adverts show a wholemontage of father-child bonding moments. Youcan see from some of the screens below eachmontage (apart from 2) play on the legacy pieceand show the emotional connection in passingon traits and interests. From a surfing dad andhis son, to a father and son falling over the sameway, walking the same way and even wearingthe same woollen jumpers. There is also a clipof a father passing on knowledge and showinghis son something out of a bus window, finallythey show a smiling father seeing his son after along trip. A classic example of highlighting theemotional benefits of having a child.Scan QR code to see video
  20. 20. Examples of strategies in actionOreos - Father’s DayIt is always hard to get Fathers day advertsright without being too clichéd and I amnot saying this Oreo’s ad recently run in theUS necessarily managed it. That said, it wasextremely effective, scoring 22%7 better onthe standard ad effectiveness metrics than thenorm for that period. Scan QR code to see video
  21. 21. Examples of strategies in actionFord Mustang - A short storyThis great short story from Ford was the onlyexample I could find of a brand being boldenough to talk about the financial benefits ofhaving children, even though it does it withgreat comedy and pathos! Scan QR code to see video
  22. 22. Examples of strategies in actionNAPCAN - Children see, children doFinally, in Australia the organisation NAPCANran a series of adverts that told parents tobeware of the traits that they are passing onand the legacy they are creating. It is a verypowerful piece, made even more powerful as itturns on its head the positive of one’s ability toshape a child into your image, and makes it apotential negative. Scan QR code to see video
  23. 23. ConclusionFathers are struggling with their role in Westernsociety, their primary assets and unique skillshave been marginalised to the point wheremany fathers feel emasculated and irrelevant.Brands have a great opportunity to help themfind their way and to help them re-evaluatewhat they are putting into fatherhood and whatthey are getting out.As over-simplistic and potentially naïve theequation Pi+Mi<Eb+Fb seems it does give usa good set of variables that we can nudge inthe father’s favour in order to ultimately helphim find more happiness and fulfilment in hisparental role.
  24. 24. References1 My Father Before Me: How Fathers and Sons Influence Each Other Throughout Their Lives – Dr Michael J Diamond; W. W. Norton & Company; 20073 Sex and friendship in baboons; Barbara B. Smuts; 1985; Aldine Pub Co5 Lee T. Gettler, Thomas W. McDade, Alan B. Feranil, and Christopher W. Kuzawa; - From the Cover: Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males6 The Bottom Line of Raising Kids: Parents Rationalize the Economic Cost of Children by Exaggerating Their Parental Joy; Eibach & Mock 2011, Association for Psychological Science7 ReferencesChilders, L. B. (2010). Parental Bonding in Father - Son Relationships. Liberty University.Eibach, R., & Mock, S. (2011). The Bottom Line of Raising Kids: Parents Rationalize the Economic Cost of Children by Exaggerating Their ParentalJoy. Waterloo: Association for Psychological Science.Hewlett, B. S. (1992). Father-child relations: cultural and biosocial contexts. New York: Walter de Gruyter Inc.Pittman, F. (1993). Man Enough: Fathers, Sons and the Search for Masculinity. Putnam.
  25. 25. About the AuthorMaurice Wheeler is the Strategic PlanningDirector and co-founder of Doco, the creativeagency specialising in family.Over his 15 years of working in the digitalmarketing arena Maurice has helped manyclients including Nickelodeon, Disney, Microsoft,Tesco, Universal Music, Procter and Gambleand Lego.Some of his more memorable pieces of workinclude working with TV institution Blue Peterto remain relevant to today’s contemporaryaudience; helping Tottenham Hotspurunderstand how they can work closely withtheir existing youth touch points to betterengage today’s young fans – the adult fansof tomorrow; and advising Microsoft on howthey can talk more effectively with the familyaudience for their Xbox games console.Maurice has been asked to speak at conferencessuch as The Children’s Media Conference,Cartoon Forum, and MIP Junior, and has writtenfor publications such as Campaign, MarketingWeek, and MCV.You will mostly find him reading researchpapers, preparing presentations, running orplaying with his two boys.
  26. 26. Notes
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  28. 28. If you need to engage with fathers or would like to talk more generallyabout how we might be able to help with your kids and family strategy, pleasecontact usLondon: +44 (0)20 3206 7500LA: +1 323 559 0760Email: Maurice@docolondon.comWeb: www.DocoPeople.comTwitter: @hellodoco