The self-titled ‘Social Media Influencers’ have created their own generational niche. For the most part, they’re attractive young women, who have honed the art of looking slightly away from the camera and having an incredible time.
The issue is that, while they work perfectly for fashion and lifestyle brands who have a clear demographic match, there are an incredible amount of brands and PR agencies who are trying to jump on their engagement bandwagon without a clear alignment.
Long gone are the days of the Mad Men, disconnected fathers, and expectations of mothers to run the household single-handily. At least this is the case in the modern household, but not necessarily in the eyes of some brands aimed at parents.
Aside from stores like Canadian Tire, car brands, BBQ, or garden supply companies, the fathers are often considered as an after-thought, thanks to consumer research created ‘consumer personas’. These personas are how the company doing the marketing segment their audience into who they target down to specific demographical data like location, age, salary scale, hobbies, and marital status. They are almost all female.
This seems a little outdated though, to me at least. As a sweeping statement, modern fatherhood is a much more involved affair.
When my wife first became pregnant, we went to the bookstore to pick up the staple of a growing household, ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’. Also on the same, packed shelves were hundreds of books, based on both fact and opinion about ways to be the best parent, deal with issues and use a variety of methods to raise the best human. There were only three books for the dad, and they were almost novelty in their nature, surely aimed at being a fun gift to the expectant dad.
In 2015, Buzz Bishop wrote ‘The Truth in Dadvertising: Why is Amazon Family Called Amazon Mom in America’. Originally named ‘Amazon Mom’, the online empire launched a program curating deals and purchasing inspiration for their buying personas. Buzz noticed something interesting, “In every country in the world where it operates, it is called Amazon Family; except one. It is called Amazon Mom in America.”
This was expanded upon by Kevin McKeever on CityDadsGroup.com, where the charge to get Amazon to switch the name on the US site was lead by stay-at-home father, Oren Miller of A Blogger and Father. Following Miller’s battle with lung cancer, his friends and supporters supported the cause in his name.
“It’s not about a name and it’s not about me personally being offended …,” Miller wrote. “It’s about a company that looks at the U.S., then looks at England, and then decides that over there, parent equals mom or dad, while here, well, we’re not ready for that yet…” [article link]
Even in 2017, we see ads portrayed as bumbling mom-replacements whenever she leaves the house. How will the dad cope? He’s just a man. Well, thanks.
Huggies Dad test - YouTube
Somehow, us dads have managed to become an equal member of the modern household. We are active in the baby’s room changing diapers, in the laundry, and in the kitchen. In fact according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003 to 2015, male parents being involved with food prep and cleaning has risen 22% from 35% to 43%.
While the brand-voice personas are targeting women who do the majority of the household grocery shopping, the same study showed that for every 60 minutes Mom is buying food, Dad is spending 54 minutes. Isn’t he worth saying ‘Hi’ to?
What about the homes with two dads running the show? Are they both bumbling around, disheartened by their lack of inherent knowledge and tripping over themselves as they figure out the washing machine? Of course not. Research shown in a New York Times article estimates the LGBTQ market is worth $70 billion in the US. As consumers are not just accepting, but advocating for the community’s rights, brands are finding out that showing support for equality makes sense for the business.
So now we can establish that there are dads who are worth talking to. How should brands define them?
Let’s start with age groups:
Millennial Dads: Aged between 30-34, these guys were born in the mid-1980s. They’re online savvy, read reviews, are active on social media and understand the value of being connected. They’re often into fitness, fashion, and brands who are actively doing something about the climate, being sustainable, or having a voice in the social conversation.
Gen Y: Aged between 35-39 and are millennial in spirit. They are trying to keep up with their slightly older kids’ fascination with technology and everything online. Sometimes fearing that they’re going to be left behind, they look to research and ask fellow dads for their advice.
I’m not 50 yet!: 40-49-year-olds, with their kids becoming teenagers. They’ve given up hope of having their dream car in exchange for a more practical minivan or station wagon, but are “totally ok with it”. These dads have settled into home ownership, paying off their mortgage and making solid plans to invest in their kids for a bright future.
The Dad Bloggers: As a brand marketer, these are your go-to dads. They’re incredibly supportive of each other. Due to the lack of resources, we share learned knowledge, tips we’ve figured out along the way, wins, losses, and which brands are worth putting in the shopping cart.
We’re socially-connected and engaged with our audience. We understand what’s important in a brand relationship and create real content that provides a real insight into their side of the everyday parenting struggles and triumphs.
Join me on Instagram
We’re here and can’t wait to help you talk to other men, impassioned about being fathers, raising their kids, doing their part in a loving relationship and as an active part of their household. Unlike the bumbling man in the Libman Wonder Mop ad below.
The BC Lions season has been intense so far! We’ve won, we’ve lost, and we came back for an incredibly tense game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Lions were down 0-17 until the last two quarters and took the win in the last 10 seconds. Phew!
The crowd went wild!
I want to share this experience with you, so I’m giving away two tickets to the BC Lions vs. Edmonton Eskimos game on August 9th, at 7 pm.
In addition, the lucky winner will get a cool Lions fridge magnet and two lanyards.
Disclaimer: This season I’m working with the Lions and am loving every minute of it! The games have so much energy and the fans are passionate and welcoming. They supported this blog and my posts #BCLionsPride all Summer.
Over the summer vacation, everyone’s looking for projects to keep the kids busy for a while. A fairy garden is a quick way of getting the kids out of the house and into the garden, becoming excited about growing plants, and using a bit of imagination.
All you need:
A planter or area of garden to plant some ornamental flowers/shrubbery
For an instant garden, get the kids to place the dollhouse furniture (also available at most yard sales) hidden amongst a small corner of the garden. It can be nestled under a bush, or near some succulents.
2. For a longer project, get a mixture of wildflower seeds or even some vegetables like tomato plants or peas, which don’t take up much horizontal space and can grow upwards until harvest time.
3. Small shells can be filled with water or lined with aluminum to look like a little pond for the fairies to dip their toes into.
4. Watch the plants grow and when the garden is complete, hide a couple of fairy toys in the garden and wait for them to be discovered.
Build a Kids DIY Fairy Garden Project for under $20
As I huffed and puffed (and quietly swore under my breath), I had to admit defeat. This leaking tap was impossible to fix.
I spent two hours on Wednesday night, after everyone else was cozy in their beds, trying to fix the bathroom sink. It had been dripping for a week and had progressed to a steady stream. I had picked up a replacement tap from my local Home Depot and got to work.
The supply line was turned off, I unscrewed what I thought I had to unscrew, but this thing was in worse shape than I thought.
This is the tap. I hate that tap.
I pulled, wrenched, disconnected and reconnected things, watched six YouTube tutorials to figure out what I was meant to be doing and it just wasn’t going my way.
As midnight loomed, I had to call it. However, it wasn’t just a loss for my career as an untrained (and unskilled) household handyman, I felt defeated as a man.
Isn’t this what men are supposed to be good at? Then I started to think, “what else can’t I do?”
This is a risky and self-defeating thought process which can have no possible outcome other than making yourself feel terrible.
The next day I texted our landlord to ask for help. She needed to call the plumber. How embarrassing. I’d set out to do a household task that my Dad would have made look easy. I grew up watching him do work on the electrics, plumbing, even sweep the chimney.
Are these skills that you learn when you’re from an older generation? He was the handyman of his house from a relatively young age, so I suppose it’s something he developed through his young adulthood.
I learned that ‘What it takes to be a man’, is pretty similar to ‘What it takes to be a good dad’
Why didn’t I do that? I did odd jobs as a gardener, a paperboy, a Kodak film lab, then worked in an office after university, until I went to work on cruise ships before becoming a professional marketer and social media strategist. Did my career choice make me soft and unskilled?
Am I a man if I can’t fix a sink?
As usual, my wife made sense of my crisis. She asked me, “If I couldn’t ride a bike, am I less of a woman?” Well no, of course not. “If I couldn’t read, am I less of a woman?” “No” I answered.
“It’s not what you can do, it’s how you act that makes you a man.”
Willing makeup model
She went on to say that she doesn’t care if we have to call a plumber, a mechanic, or whoever to fix things. As long as I’m kind and treat people well, then that’s what makes you a man, and a good man person at that.
Of course, she makes sense and all I need to do to feel like a man is to show her, my daughter, and everyone else, warmth.
My Dad, as well as being one of the most talented handymen I’ve seen, is always kind and full of love. He made sure we felt supported in whatever idea we wanted to work on, had the freedom to fail, and guidance when we needed it.
Somedays I need to remind myself that those are the things that make me a good person.
There’s always a battle when trying to get my toddler to go where we need to go, to eat what we’d like her to have for lunch, or when choosing what to wear.
I (and when I say ‘I’, I mean my wife read a pile of parenting books and distilled it down for me) have found that when you tell a child what’s happening, what they have to eat, or what they’re going to wear, the child automatically wants to test boundaries and rebel.
We’d start with “Ok, put this dress on, we’re going out”. Tantrums and screams of “no! I don’t like it” would turn into wrestling our daughter into the dress to an event that she is making her poor parents go to. It’s usually some local celebration or one of her friends’ birthdays. I’d much rather stay at home while she ran around in a diaper (or naked as we’re potty training. More on that later), and I could just sit and play the XBox I don’t have time to play anymore.
Side note – anyone want to buy an XBox?
The ‘This’ or ‘That’ method gives my daughter the opportunity to choose what she wears. “Would you like this dress, or that one?” She picks one and puts it on without a fuss.
Sometimes she has a great fashion sense. Maybe she should give her daddy a makeover.
Next comes the trip to the supermarket. “I want candy/this balloon/a crab!”
“No, come on and look over here at this shiny thing” isn’t going to cut it anymore. I’ve tried everything from letting her collapse in a heap on the floor, to picking her up and letting her squeal as other parents give the ‘been there’ grin. I’ve also given in completely and bought her that balloon, but won’t give in to the candy or the crab from the fish tank. We just don’t need a crab and it’ll never stay in the bathtub.
What does seem to work is “would you like an apple or a banana?” or “You can walk or I can carry you”. One of those usually does the trick.
It seems to be a matter of giving her a feeling of independence and the impression she has a choice in the situation. She may not always want either but it’s up to us to provide the options.
Mealtime – What we make, or wait until you’re hungry enough
This is a really tricky one, and we’re still struggling with it. Our toddler loves about 5 different foods: Chicken nuggets (at least it’s meat), eggs (sometimes), avocado, raspberries (only if they’re from the garden), peas (if she picked them herself) and any kind of carb.
There’s always room for veggies from the garden
It’s really hard, and expensive to cook something for my wife and I and then a second option which she may or may not eat. We’re going start this week with giving her the same as we’re having (or a non-spicy version that looks the same) and she can choose to eat it or not.
The plate will be full of healthy options, so if she just wants to eat a couple of bits, she’ll still be getting the proper nutrients.
I remember growing up when if we didn’t like what was on the dinner table, the alternative was to not eat dinner. The only time that ever happened was when we had cauliflower cheese. I stand by my decision.
Of course, there has to be some freedom for special treats like ice cream, as long as she knows she can’t have it whenever she wants, no matter how many times she pushes her veggies away.
What do you think? Have you tried this or another way to get your kids to do what they need but might not necessarily want? Let me know in the comments below.
Great news for single-serve coffee fans. By the end of 2018, all of the Keurig® K-Cup® pods sold in Canada will be recyclable.
I like coffee. A lot.
I love my Keurig coffee maker, partly because it’s quick and convenient, but mainly because of the consistent taste that comes with having a pre-packaged serving ready for me to pop in, close the lid, press the button, and then drink.
Anyone else drink coffee in the dark? Everyone else is asleep.
When looking at its entire life cycle, the pods also use less coffee and water than traditional drip coffee. In your Keurig machine, the hot water is squeezed through the coffee to get the most flavour from the coffee grounds.
Want to win a coffee maker like this? Keep reading!
Great coffee isn’t enough though. Keurig has been working toward some lofty goals to be more environmentally conscious, by partnering with recyclers, including Recycle BC, across North America for the past three years.
Their mission was to ensure that the pods can easily travel from recycling bins at homes to recovery facilities to a useful second life.
The coffee pods are made of plastic #5, which is widely accepted in municipal recycling programs in Canada.
Put the used coffee grounds straight in the garden. It makes great plant food!
You can recycle your K-Cup® pods in three simple steps: let it cool and peel off the foil lid, compost the coffee grounds, and recycle the #5 plastic cup, alongside other recyclable containers in your recycling bin at home.
There are some beautiful spots for camping in Merritt, BC. The Monck Provincial Park is next to Nicola Lake, where you can swim, kayak, or go boating. There are campsites and trailer spots all around the area and you can drive there from metro Vancouver in about 3 hours (not including potty or snack breaks).
Wine Tasting in Kelowna
This is one of my favourites. The scenery is incredible and the rolling hills give home to some of the best wineries in the world. If you go to the Quail’s Gate winery, pick me up a bottle of the Foch. Seriously.
As well as the wineries, there is another huge lake, resort hotels, and the town of Kelowna to hang around. It’s a really chilled out place and well worth a visit.
Where to go on the Gulf Islands, BC
I’ve only just discovered these, even though I’ve lived in Vancouver for five years. We went to the incredible Woods on Pender Island. There are log cabins and Airstream trailers to stay in, some have private hot tubs, and you’ll be able to eat some of the best food you’ve ever had.
There is also a campsite next door if you want to be even closer to nature.
Salt Spring Island
We stayed in a lovely Air BnB called Between the Trees while we visited the island. It’s another quiet spot, although with 10,000 residents, there are all the entertainment and shopping facilities you could possibly need.
There’s also a little spot, hidden around the corner called Barb’s Buns. She/they have some delicious freshly baked pastries and sandwiches. I highly recommend you take home a bag of Barb’s coffee beans to grind at home. It’ll be a little reminder of your trip.
Victoria, on Vancouver Island
There are a number of ways to get here, as with the other islands. You can either go by ferry and drive (or bus), plane, helicopter, or walk-on boat which goes from Coal Harbour, Vancouver to downtown Victoria.
Victoria can feel like a very touristy town, so head inland for a few minutes and check out some of the parks and hotels on the east of the island. We visited the Beacon Hill Petting Zoo to see the goats and I don’t think my daughter has ever been happier!
We stayed at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel for a treat and even let my toddler try out a room service breakfast. I hope she doesn’t get used to that kind of service!
There are so many other options to mention, but I’d love to add your recommendations to the list. Leave your top tips in the comments below.
Where to Visit Around Vancouver, Gulf Islands, and BC
I saw, close up, the motivation and drive to win on the faces of the players as they ran through the tunnel and out in front of their supporters. I didn’t know just how swept-up in the enthusiasm I’d get.
The season opens on Saturday and I’ll be taking a fellow-Dad to take part in the family-friendly raucous to kick off the summer’s fun. We’ve both been so busy that finding the time to grab a quiet (or very noisy) drink has fallen from our priorities, but it’s something that I really should put back on the list.
As it’s the 65th season opener for the Lions, they’ve got a special $65 offer.
I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the Father’s Day weekend!
I’ll be there. Will you?
Disclaimer: The BC Lions gave me special permission to be on the field during the warm-up as provided some tickets for the super fun games! I’m too excited to be part of this summer’s BC Lions Pride. As a reminder, if you want to save a little on your tickets, use promo code JAMESRCS.
I’m genuinely excited for Father’s Day. I know that I’ll get to spend some time with my daughter and hopefully have a little lie-in too.
She’s the best gift I’ve ever had and I’ll always appreciate every moment I have with her, even when she’s throwing a tantrum on the supermarket floor or being cute while escaping a pretend monster.
Being a father gives me a true purpose. I get to kiss her little knees when she trips over, when I chase her around in the endless battle to get her to keep her shoes on, and when she’s at her happiest, surrounded by animals.
The best gifts, like a father’s love, can’t be wrapped. Plan International Canada’s Gifts of Hope inspire Canadians to make thoughtful purchases on behalf of their loved ones, giving more children opportunities and creating real change in the lives of real people in developing countries.
I was delighted when I got an email from the team at Plan International Canada to promote their Father’s Day campaign. I was even happier to do this partnership pro-bono, so that any fees I would traditionally get paid can now be used toward their international programming.
When you give a Gift of Hope, you’re giving a unique, unforgettable gift that can’t be found on store shelves. You also help provide tangible goods and support vital programs that put girls in school, food on plates, income in the hands of families and so much more. They combine hope and action, and help turn the cycle of poverty into a cycle of progress.
This Father’s Day, give your dad an unfor-goat-able gift. (#dadjoke)
When a basketball player is called a G-O-A-T, it means they are the Greatest Of All Time. This Father’s Day, Plan International Canada believes their goat is the real G-O-A-T. And a great dad deserves the greatest gift.
Their Goat gift is not only unique, but also life-changing. By providing nutritious milk, income for education and health care, and a whole lot more, this gift will help children thrive – and have Dad jumping for joy.
Gender roles often place women at the centre of child care, but families are stronger and
children are happier when dads are equally involved. This gift makes that happen.
It includes facilitating community fathers’ groups in countries such as Haiti and Nigeria,
where men can meet to learn and talk about such topics as maternal, newborn and child
health, family planning, and men’s roles in these areas.
It engages community leaders in breaking stereotypes as champions of change in their communities. It also ensures health clinics are welcoming to both men and women.
Gifts of Hope are not symbolic gifts – they are real gifts that change real lives. At Plan International Canada, they direct your donation to the specific gift you choose. When you choose a goat, your money goes directly to a goat program in a country like Cameroon. So the gift you choose is exactly where your money goes.
This Father’s Day, instead of buying a novelty tie, make a real difference in someone’s life. I did, will you?