My wife and I recently binge-watched “This is Us.” As a father of two, I was attuned to the portrayal of the dads on this fictional NBC show (for the un-initiated). Randall, William, and Jack make up an all-star cast of TV dads. Sure, all three have their flaws, but I’m convinced that some combination of these TV dads is the actual father I’m supposed to be. Kind and loving like Randall, strong and inspiring like Jack, wise and cool like William. But all three share a common thread – a willingness to take on a large role in their kids’ and grandkids’ day-to-day lives.
There is an important message in the show to marketers about dads (and granddads) like Randall, William, and Jack. According to research from GfK Consumer Life's global study, fathers averaged across 18 countries are more likely today than in the past to take on household chores like cooking, cleaning, and shopping for groceries. In addition, as “This is Us” aptly displays, common dad tropes are being replaced by a more dynamic and realistic archetype.
That’s not to say that fathers are the new mothers. Sure, dads still love to kick back in the man cave with a cold one and hide from folding the laundry (don’t tell my wife). And in fact, there are recent studies suggesting that attitudes towards more traditional gender roles are making a bit of a comeback – especially in the US.
Recent studies from GfK Consumer Life in the US have similar findings (more to come in a future post). But modern reality dictates and encourages dads to be more omni-present in chores and their kids’ lives.
So what do marketers need to know about today’s dads?
The role of fathers on TV, advertising, and in real life is forever changed. As marketers, we have a responsibility and a business imperative to engage them in a realistic fashion, without patronizing. Now excuse me while I grab my herb-infused duck breast from the oven, my four-year old is sure to love it this time!
Tim Kenyon is Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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