A recent Bloomberg article caught my eye this week: “The Minivan Is Back, and It’s Kind of Cool.”
While I do not own a minivan, and likely never will, the author makes a great point. Marketing is changing dramatically as more Millennials become parents. The author cites the Jim Gaffigan Chrysler Pacifica advertisement as a prime example of using humor to sell cars to both moms and dads. We can all relate to Jim and his wife and his at-times-nameless children. Sure he is highlighting the benefits of the car, but he is also relating to parents. Allowing me to see myself and my husband actually enjoying the convenience of a minivan.
There are other brands that have successfully shifted their marketing focus to resonate with the Millennial parent (defined as ages 18 to 34). One of my favorites is Tea Collection, which is for “little citizens of the world.” Their clothing is inspired by a new country each season, and as someone who loves to travel, I can appreciate their commitment to creating fun and interesting clothes for my adventurous flock. Many of their items are sold in curated groups of four or five pieces. All coordinating, and all interchangeable, which makes life easier in the mad dash of the morning.
The Tea Collection catalogs are brilliant—each includes descriptions of far-away lands, the inspiration behind the patterns and styles, and as an added bonus, a pull-out coloring and activity book for wee ones that follows the international theme. Sure, digital is king when it comes to Millennial moms and dads, but good direct mail will never die. For now anyway, we will always go home and check the mail. And for us crazed working moms, flipping through a catalog alone in your driveway is sometimes way more convenient and enjoyable than shopping online.
Another great brand that has figured out how to interrupt the working parent is the Piggyback Rider. My husband recently discovered the slightly terrifying backpack via a targeted ad on his Facebook feed. While he initially was drawn to their post on the “50 best hikes for dads and kids in the U.S.,” he soon found himself watching and sharing the informational video on their homepage. Had we not seen the device in action—and the kid actually staying alive on his dad’s back—I would not have wanted my husband to buy one. Now we don’t travel without it.
Another advertisement that works well on me is the Electrolux series of commercials featuring Kelly Ripa. The commercials poke fun at being a “perfect mom,” Kelly making dinner with one foot and pouring wine while her kids and dog scatter underfoot. It is complete chaos, which is exactly what dinner time is like despite our greatest ambitions. A Saatchi & Saatchi global survey of over 8,000 moms found that it was a turn-off when marketers referred to motherhood as the “toughest job in the world” and focused on perfection. Electrolux captured this sentiment perfectly through humor and authenticity.
As more and more Millennials (and Millenial-plusses like me) become parents, marketers are smart to reach them through candid, purpose-driven advertisements that use humor and authenticity to create brand loyalty.