Why Millennial Dads Aren’t Like Other Dads

Millennials are known as the “me” generation for many reasons. While they may not be the first to see themselves as a brand, they are the first to realize the massive reach that social networks afford them in terms of disseminating their brand image. Accordingly, badges have tremendous value to this uber-connected cohort, from having the latest iPhone to a #tbt of their South American backpacking trip. So what’s the next badge, the ultimate sign of making it? Parenthood. And brands are quickly adjusting to target the hip, brand-conscious, millennial consumer. I know, I know, another millennial article right?

With a shift to millennial parent-focused communications, brands must recognize the shifting family dynamics. This generation of dads sees itself to be just as connected to parenthood as moms are. Gone are the days of dad “babysitting” while mom is away. The millennial dad sees parenting as a lifestyle now, wearing the Dad Badge with pride. But just because dad is more intimately involved, it doesn’t mean you can target them in the same ways as mom. A recent MediaPost study revealed that 53% of millennial dads feel that ads they see are made for mothers more than fathers.

A few things to keep in mind when connecting with the millennial dad:

  • Evolve! We know the gender roles are changing versus previous generations, so brands need to take note and stop falling victim to perpetuating “traditional” roles. Dads are tired of being portrayed as the doting doofus, and moms are sick of it too. The millennial parent now recognizes when brands get it right, and when they don’t. MediaPost heard from one mom, “I hate commercials that make fathers look like the lesser parent. It’s not funny. It puts out the message that men are incompetent and irresponsible at home. It’s a subtle message that men belong at work and women belong at home.”Who can’t play back countless ads that follow a similar story line?
  • Offer quality, not savings. Millennial dads prefer quality over a good deal and they want their family (and fellow shoppers) to know that. So not only are they doing more shopping (80% of millennial dads claim primary or shared grocery shopping responsibilities), but they’re also bringing home the best for their families. In fact, more dads (34%) than moms (11%) claimed that using coupons at the check-out counter or online makes them look or feel cheap.
  • Offer an experience and make it fun. In addition to bringing home the goods, the millennial dad aims to bring the family together through fun experiences. Mintel reported that about half (49%) of these young dads are mainly responsible for planning play dates and other activities with their kids outside the home (compared to 23% of older dads, 35+). And what’s more, millennial dads see themselves as the provider of family entertainment. These dads place higher value on entertainment and leisure with their families compared to older dads, allowing them to spend both time and money on entertainment. Beyond Disney, brands should see this as an opportunity to create family entertainment from e-commerce to brick and mortar retail activation.

So who’s investing in these dads? Here’s a few that’ve been doing a great job.

Dove “Men+Care

Robinsons “Pals” (UK)

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