Spielwarenmesse: Dadvertising is trend: Daddy & me

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Vater lässt mit Tochter im Weizenfeld Drachen steigen


Dadvertising is trend: Daddy & me

from Maria Costa

Men’s involvement in childrearing has been increasing in the last years. Specifically, they are spending more time playing with their children than ever. Companies are realizing the interesting opportunity that this means for their marketing strategies. This article will give some facts and present examples of companies creating and advertising their toys successfully to children and dads.

Dads are playing with their children

As various reports are pointing out, fathers are more present than before in all aspects of their children’s upbringing, but mainly in activities related to play. For example, Procter & Gamble diaper’s brand Dodot carried out a study in 2017 with Spanish dads, highlighting that the activity most of them do with their children is play (83%). Parents would much rather go for a walk or go to the park with their children (46%), than to do other tasks such as bathing them (15%), putting them to bed (13%), or feeding them (5%).

In a survey by the Pew Research Center, American dads reported that parenting is central to their identity. Actually, the report specifies that dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity.

It is a fact, supported by data, the parity among dads and moms is improving, but it is still far from being really egalitarian. Can toys play a relevant role in this process? Well, they can, and they should. It will not only help society, but the toy business as well. Dads will respond very well to companies giving them tools and resources to enjoy all of the activities they do with their children.

Some companies are already targeting dads

Shop dummies as father and son in a fashion department wearing the same cloths.
Like Father Like Son, El Corte Inglés, October 2016
Ad showing a father nursing his baby with a baby bottle.
Dadvertising of Suavinex

In the last couple of years, there is an increase in communication strategies targeting dads. For instance, the ad showing a father holding and reading to his baby by Suavinex, or the display of Like Father Like Son, a new clothing brand to dress dads and sons the same way. No doubt, these kinds of campaigns have become more common in the childcare and even in the fashion industry, but there are great examples in the toy industry as well. At Spielwarenmesse® 2017, Ravensburger placed a dad in one of their booth ads. At this years’ Nuremberg toy fair, Brio followed the same strategy. In their catalog 2017 they introduced My first take along kit with an image of a child playing with his dad.

Ravensburger booth at Spielwarenmesse 2017
Ravensburger booth at Spielwarenmesse® 2017
Father plays with his son before an indoor playing tent.
Brio catalog 2017 showing father and son

Companies are not only creating communication campaings but also developing toys from the perspective of dads’ interests. That means taking in consideration topics and aesthetics that are appealing to them. A great example is the line of products Papa & me with their message “Dads are the new moms” by Sigikid. In 2017 they introduced plush toys with a theme based on DIY tools and superheroes. In 2018, the toys are inspired by music and rock and roll.

Dads in the focus of attention

Sigikid Papa&Me plush animal rock band
Sigikid Papa&Me plush animal rock band at Spielwarenmesse® 2018
Sigikid Papa&Me plush tools
Sigikid Papa&Me plush tools at Spielwarenmesse® 2017

Toy manufacturers are well-advised to have dads in mind when creating new products and strategies. This is a wonderful opportunity for the industry, as a target group fathers are really eager to find resources that support and improve the moments they share with their little ones. Think about developing toys and products that make daily chores more appealing for both dads and kids. Moments such as bath time, putting children to bed or feeding them can become a fun father-child experience. And be aware, fathers being more involved make mothers happier too!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

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