Diaper Brands Get Dad Savvy

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New Orleans Saint Drew Brees isn’t just proud to be a Super Bowl champ. He’s also a proud dad, and epitomizes a shifting trend that sees fathers being targeted by brands that have traditionally pursued mothers. And it’s more than just a Father’s Day tie (in).

The New York Times notes that brands like Pampers and Huggies are getting more dad-savvy, though they’re not displacing mom as the primary focus. “The role of dads is expanding and we salute that and we want to make dads a bigger part of the brand. Dads are playing an increasingly large role in parenting and diapering,” comments Pampers spokesman Bryan McCleary.

With outraged mommy-bloggers taking fire at Pampers Dry Max technology, P&G tapped Brees to “test” and promote Dry Max (above). Huggies’ denim diapers this summer also take a more ‘manly’ approach to diaper styling.[more]

Expanding parental marketing to dads is, of course, backed up by demographic trends and research.

A recent Pampers survey cited 69% percent of male respondents claiming diaper-changing duties as often their wives, and 11% claiming they did it more often, while a Families and Work Institute study reported fathers spending three hours per workday with kids under thirteen, up three hours in 2008 from two hours in 1977. Mom’s time, meanwhile, remained steady at 3.8 hours.

Diapers.com claims 20% of its active users are men who are more apt to shop online. In fact, the site was started by two fathers and makes a point of being ‘inclusive’ to all parents. “We recognize moms but in general we serve busy parents and that’s the way we speak to them…we choose to use ‘parents’ and not ‘moms,’” commented Christina Carbonell, the site’s VP of marketing.

Brian Reid’s blog traces with humor and irony the journey of a stay-at-home dad looking for a little respect for the past four years.

“Let’s get one thing straight: not every person on your diaper-coupon mailing list is a mother,” Reid observed. “Dads buy lots of diapers. And though we don’t make our purchases based on which company panders the most to fathers, a lot of the dads I know appreciate it when huge consumer-product giants at least suggest that maybe mom doesn’t do all of the heavy lifting.”

Reid recently received an e-mailed marketing message from Pampers’ new Facebook page soliciting parenting stories from dads with a $250 prize as the lure. As he says, at least they finally got his gender right.

Pampers, meanwhile, just released a “Playtime with Daddy” spot (below) to reiterate that dads are people, and marketing targets, too:

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