Moms, moms, moms. That seems to be the hot topic at Advertising Week. This morning, ladies (and a few gentlemen) gathered near Herald Square at the semi-annual Women at NBCU “Power of the Purse” breakfast for a panel discussion on marketing to moms. But first @BravoAndy and Sarah Jessica Parker did a Q&A! It was like an episode of Watch What Happens Live, but live.
During a quick word association, SJP said shoes are a “necessity” and Michelle Bachmann is “foreign.” Then she said her shoes were Roger Vivier. Then she did a cute impersonation of her two-year-old daughter Tabitha and talked about Matthew Broderick. And finally, she said SATC’s Carrie Bradshaw reminded her of female characters in turn-of-the-century books. “Those women who looked a certain way, but inside there was a whole different complication.” Yay!
But back to the topic at hand — marketing to women. The on-stage conversations often turned to some new stats from a Women at NBCU survey: 49 percent of the mothers surveyed said they aspire to be “traditional”; only 12 percent said they feel they’re accurately portrayed in advertising; and the “breakdown of the traditional family” was the second most serious problem identified, after drug use. (Women at NBCU surveyed 3,224 moms and 403 dads this summer and conducted focus groups and at-home visits.)
SJP said that she considered herself traditional despite her job. “There’s no archetype we can market to,” she said. “You can’t be all things to all people. You have to speak to a truth.”
Panelist Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP of trends and strategic insights, integrated media at NBCUniversal, worked on the survey, and took the “traditional” conversation a step further. For the study, “traditional” was defined by things like using structured rules for children and having family meals.
“Tradition used to be the foundation and now it has shifted to an aspiration,” said Lavigne-Delville.
Linda Sawyer, North American CEO of Deutsch, echoing what was said on yesterday’s mom’s panel said, “Moms are still portrayed in this idealistic way.” Rather, the nature of motherhood these days is the constant “juggling” of responsibilities.
Survey respondents said that marketing frequently makes things look easier than are, Lavigne-Delville added. “Perfection isn’t an endpoint,” she said, referring instead to “the new beta mindset.”
Julie Eddleman, marketing director for North American media and shopper marketing at P&G broke down the company’s strategy into three parts: “brand purpose,” which she admitted is a “high-level thing” when you’re talking about a product like toilet paper; “the big idea,” which has to work across platforms including social media, the printed page, and, more often now, mobile; and “inviting participation with our brands,” which means letting consumers make recommendations and have at it with the products.
“We know our brands and consumers better than anyone,” said Eddleman. “We live with them, we talk with them, we shop with them.” More than anything, she said moms what to do whatever they can for their kids, a seemingly simple statement that, nonetheless, is “a deep insight” that is meant to come out in P&G’s marketing.
Finally, as we mentioned in today’s Morning Media Menu, the panel closed with a discussion about the way things are changing. New moms can now be anywhere from very young to approaching middle age, the nuclear family can include members it hadn’t previously, and, as moderator and NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted, the economy is making practical gifts more desirable.
Lavigne-Delville noted that perhaps marketing should take aunts and other non-traditional family members into account. And Sawyer said that marketing can emphasize “values like care-giving, which you can show without having mom baking and twirling a baton in the kitchen.” Besides, 60 percent of moms in that aforementioned survey said they think in a decade or two there will be as many stay-at-home dads as there are moms. Now dad twirling a baton in the kitchen…
Separately, Lauren Zalaznick, chairman, Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media at NBCUniversal, made an announcement during her opening remarks: Peggy Green, former vice chairman of Zenith Media and Women at NBCU advisory board member, will serve as the group’s “CMO in residence” for the fourth quarter. This program launched last year to bring in marketing leaders to work with the Integrated Media team. The summertime “CMO in residence” was Monica Halpert.
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