The average customer is exposed to around 3,000 ads and promotional messages every single day. In the past, these ads were generally gender-biased, and it was easy to see what product was aimed at women and men, mothers and fathers.
However, things are changing in the world of advertising, and these ads are getting more progressive. They are starting to really question if the gender and parenthood roles the media has created are agreeable and believable.
Beauty and personal care companies Axe Body Spray and Dove — both owned by parent company Unilever — are choosing to be a little bit different when it comes to showcasing the typical American family. Their ad campaigns, released right in time for Father’s Day, are showing that more and more fathers are choosing to leave work and stay home with their children.
Historically, the media has portrayed it as the mother’s job to stay home and take care of the children. But now, Unilever is trying to show that childcare is a dignified, admirable, and genderless profession.
The idea of the new “Mr. Mom” is driven home in these ad campaigns. This is especially true with Dove’s Men+Care advertisement, which shows that there are plenty of different types of men who care for children. The print ads and commercials show that there are plenty of father figures out there — coaches, teachers, uncles, grandparents, and brothers who can all influence children in positive ways.
“Dove Men+Care is committed to celebrating modern men, and we know that men view their caring side as a true part of their masculinity — 75% see it as having a positive impact on society,” said Nick Soukas, a Vice President at Unilever, in a press statement explaining their new direction. “That’s why, this Father’s Day we want to acknowledge the many ways that men are making a significant impact by caring for others, and create an opportunity to thank them too.”
It seems like all of these efforts are working, as well. “Dadvertising”, as it has been dubbed, has seen a dramatic jump within the past two years and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the New York Times, the 2015 Super Bowl showed more commercials with leading father figure roles than ever before.
So, these ads are not only creating happier users and happier families, they are boosting the self-confidence of men everywhere by implying that all men are not as cookie-cutter as they once seemed.
“It used to be one rigid rule for what a man should be,” said Rik Strubel, the global vice president for Axe, to the New York Times. “That, thankfully, has changed.”