Moms respond to humor, balance between reality and idealism

You know those “Swagger Wagon” ads for Toyota? Or those commercials for Volkswagen with the little kid in Darth Vader gear? Both are considered marketing hits – largely because they strike the right tone with a certain segment of the American population that has a lot of buying clout: moms.

I’m fascinated by marketing that tries to convince me to buy stuff, perhaps because I’m such a tightwad with my money (and by “my” money, I mean the money that my husband earns too). Or perhaps it’s because ad agency’s attempts to capture “a portion of the market representing $2.3 trillion in spending power” are so often so off-base.

That’s a problem tackled earlier this week at the first-ever Advertising Week event reported in this MediaPostNews Marketing Daily article. According to those who spoke at the event, one of the main reasons these agencies struggle to reach moms is because so few moms work in ad agencies.

Another reason: moms are increasingly moving away from traditional advertising vehicles (think TV) and toward other forms of communication (think blogs, Facebook and Twitter).

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New mothers, prepare for a visit from Disney

It comes as no surprise to me that the Disney empire includes a line of baby products. This New York Times article about Disney representatives pushing those products in hospital maternity wards did come as a surprise, however.

As the article states, “in 580 maternity hospitals in the United States,” in exchange for the free stuff, mothers are getting bedside demonstrations of Disney Baby products and asked to sign up for e-mail alerts. Does this differ so much from the “free bags” of formula samples, diaper coupons and advertisements moms are already getting during their stay in the maternity ward?

Free clothes for newborns are great, I guess, but as the article notes, Disney has trod on sensitive territory in the past with its marketing of products for newborns and infants. “Baby Einstein,” for instance, was marketed with words like “developmental” and “educational,” even as most experts agreed that the best thing for baby’s development is to keep the TV turned off.

Time will tell whether this turns out to be a winning move for Disney – and for these moms and their babies.

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New marketing trend targets kids as ‘the new home decorators’

I really wasn’t sure about the color my daughter had chosen until it was up on the wall of her bedroom. It’s a bright raspberry-ish color called “Calypso.” Did I mention that it’s bright? Really bright? That’s why it only covers one-and-a-half walls of her otherwise all-white room.

Despite my early trepidation, the color has grown on me. I like it. And it’s only paint.

The kiddos profiled in this Wall Street Journal article take decorating their rooms to a whole ‘nother level – and are, apparently, contributing to the marketing trend that has home furnishing retailers racing to capture the attention of the under-18 set.

“Sales of home merchandise geared to the under-18 market make up one of the fastest-growing segments in the home-furnishing industry, according to NPD Group, of Port Washington, N.Y.,” the WSJ reports. In fact, some businesses have even launched new tween- and teen-centered brands.

Fortunately, my daughter is only 6 and therefore still a bit young to embrace this trend and assume full responsibility for coordinating her bedroom furnishings. In fact, her idea of classy home decor is Scotch-taping small objects to the wall – another decorating choice that has slowly grown on me.

– MM

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