retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a story that points to a cultural change that is likely to affect how marketers pitch their products and services, noting that even men who do not make particularly good husbands "are proving themselves to be rock-solid fathers. Even a casual observer of American family life knows that dads now drive kids to more doctors' appointments, preside over more homework assignments and chaperone more playdates.

"Research confirms the rise of co-parenting. A recent U.S. Census Bureau report found that 32% of fathers with working wives routinely care for their children under age 15, up from 26% in 2002. Popular culture has noted the trend, too. Involved regular-guy dads are now commonplace in commercials. In one AT&T ad, a dad diapers his baby while talking sports on his phone with a buddy.

"Whether it is because today's men were raised amid the women's movement of the 1970s, or because they themselves experienced the costs of that era's absent fathers, there is little question that the age of dads as full partners in parenting has arrived."

However, the Journal writes, "As men try to be better dads, they are running into the familiar difficulty of balancing kids, career and marriage - a problem that women have been trying to manage since the 1970s. With men as with women, it is marriage itself that often gets short shrift." In addition, the story says, "The connection of marriage to parenthood also seems to be changing. Marriage rates are at historic lows, and a new report from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research shows a small but definite rise in the decoupling of fatherhood and marriage."

You can read the entire story here.
KC's View:
I get - and have been saying for years - that marketers that traditionally have targeted women need to think about adjusting their message to men.

It is more complicated. But as the culture changes, marketers have to change with it.