As millennial mothers evolve, it is important that marketers are cued into their needs and emotions.
By Pooja Jauhari
The internet knew when I had a baby. I am guilty of over-sharing baby pictures online and asking for Google’s advice on everything ranging from sniffles to baby poop. One day in and voila, I am part of the coveted mummy club hyper-targeted with everything mum and baby brands have to offer. We have all seen those but till you become a mum, you don’t realise how poorly we are projected by these brands: mostly as the only caregiver, obsessing over our child from food to clothes to illnesses, in their ads. The mother in all advertisements seems to still be the one who lives within the bubble of time past. Of course, there are occasional ads that show the true strength and contribution of mothers in their child’s life but most do just the opposite. And my constant reaction is, “They get it so wrong! That is not me! Are all mums like that? Oops, I’m messing up so bad.” Now, don’t get me wrong — I love my baby and she is my top priority; but what needs larger focus is that millennial mums are a different breed. Whether career balancing or stay-at-home, single mums or the ones who live in a joint family… the stripes and shades of millennial mums is far from the standard pastels of the past.
Making a different pitch
A look at other categories targeting similar sets of women shows how things have changed. Look at the beauty category for instance: it moved from the archaic ‘look good for marriage’ to ‘feel good about yourself’. Most ads today put the woman at the centre, her needs above all else and not that of her husband or society. So the question is: what’s the deal with mums in advertising? What can we do to change it?
I put on my marketing hat and analyse what could be different; not just could be, but should be. I mean our numbers are in millions and our pocket size is only growing, so the focus on the sales pitch to these women needs to shift. The following is how I truly believe mums need to be portrayed, spoken of and addressed:
Be real about the experience: Picture-perfect moments are very rare. Being a new mum is downright crazy. Capture a mother’s struggle; project your products as an easy fit in the challenges of bringing up a child in this complex environment. Seeing perfect mums with perfect hair, who are always smiling, is far from reality; it honestly gives new mums a nervous breakdown.
Where are the dads? It is so surprising to not see any fathers in any of the ads. Don’t continue to paint a wrong picture about gender roles. The saying may go that it takes a village to raise a child, but in reality two people are perfectly capable of managing every aspect of raising a kid. But show those two! Almost encourage the need of two, because if you don’t portray the role as normal, the norm that only mums do the heavy lifting will continue to stay unchallenged.
Show our different shades: Mums are so varied in the people we are. Each of us has our own personality and values. These exact traits guide us through motherhood, in our own individual way. Though we categorise different kinds of women across various other marketing categories, we stick to only projecting one kind of mum. We need to celebrate that diversity, not push the standard model.
Build your utility: A brand comes in to enhance the life of its consumer. Show that you care enough to be there as a shoulder to lean on and not a preacher who isn’t listening to us; be the superhero we need you to be and make our lives happier. Lastly, motherhood is not a job, it is a choice. Don’t paint a picture that it is the toughest job in the world or that mums need to be these self-sacrificing saints. Yes, we are responsible for a tiny human but you have the responsibility of painting that experience in the right light. We owe it to ourselves and our children to show motherhood in all its madness and beauty. It is what they would expect from their mothers after all — brutal honesty.
The author is CEO, The Glitch