‘Marketers failing to connect with mums’

Brands are alienating mums by portraying them as one group in their marketing campaigns, according to research that found a fifth (19 per cent) of UK mothers do not relate to the representation of mums seen in advertising.

Mum phone 460

Nearly a quarter of mums questioned by Saatchi & Saatchi for Mumsnet said they do not relate to the representation of mums seen in advertising.

The research, conducted by Saatchi & Saatchi for Mumsnet, finds that many modern day definitions of mums are out of date, with mothers more likely to be divided along the traditional lines of wealth, class, education and geography rather than factors such as number of children, age and whether she works or stays at home.

“There is a desperate need for society to treat mums as individual women. And marketers need to properly empathise with real Mums and not the pen portraits in their heads,” says the report.

The research reveals a series of five “myths” of the modern mum that marketers are using to advertise to mothers. These include the myth that motherhood “is an unrelenting life of drudgery with the odd moment of saintly pride” and that dads are “clowns at best and at worst sideshows”.

Instead, almost 60 per cent of mums say the best fun they have is with their kids and 55 per cent think their partner is just as involved in parenting as they are. The findings suggest brands need to convey motherhood as fun and communicate to dads as well in order to effectively target marketing budgets.

Read a full analysis of the research here. 

Five tips for marketing to mums

- Don’t label mums - recognise that this is just one part of their identity.
- Stop promising perfection and chastising mothers when they fall short.
- Stop treating mums like children.
- Celebrate the fun of motherhood.
- Parenting matters to dads. Communicate not just to the mum, but to the parenting unit.

Readers' comments (3)

  • They days when a mum was 'just' a mum and had very little else to them, are truly gone. I don't know any mum who looks after their kids and does nothing else.

    Mums are largely enterprising, creative, multi-skilled and tend to have wide, busy and varied lives which includes work, hobbies and yes, their children.

    This doesn't mean mums are any less devoted to their role as a parent, but it does mean, there is much more too them and in my opinion, a lot of advertising focused at me is based on stereotypes that I don't identify with and find downright alienating.

    A mum is ONE of the things I am, but that certainly does not define me in anyway.

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  • One of the marketing sectors still firmly entrenched in the 1950's! They seem to have developed the art of offending both sexes at the same time - Time for change!

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  • Totally agree with the comment above - if brands present mums as a 'stepford' version compared to reality of course they're going to fail to connect - or worse still alienate them.

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