“Dads and Grads” – Brilliant or Lazy?

It’s that time of year again . . . June brings us both Father’s Day and graduations.    You’ve probably heard some clever advertiser jump on the “dads and grads” marketing bandwagon to grab your attention.

Honestly, this is a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to marketing.  Aside from a rhyme, how smart is it to lump the two groups together?  Effective marketing is supposed to be targeted.  You’ve researched your customers and/or target audience, you’ve analyzed the demographics and sociographics, and you’ve somehow concluded that dads = grads and it’s smart to market to both simultaneously.  Really?!?

I’m a dad, but I doubt I have a ton in common with the class of 2012 when it comes to demographics and sociographics.  You don’t need to be a market research guru to come to that conclusion.

Most college graduations occur in May, but you don’t see marketers lumping them with Mother’s Day.  Why not?   June is an extremely popular month for weddings, but you don’t see marketers lumping brides or grooms with dads.  Why not?

It’s a safe assumption that there’s a demographic/sociographic discrepancy between each of the aforementioned groups.  Therefore, I can assume the reason dads and grads are linked is simply because they rhyme.  How pathetic is that?!

Don’t you think recent graduates want their own moment in the spotlight after years of hard work?  As a dad, I’m a little insulted that the significance of Father’s Day is muted by the inclusion of graduates.  Aren’t we deserving of sole attention from marketers?  And while I’m on my marketing pet peeve soap box, not all dads are bumbling, clueless and lazy.  Come on marketers, you’re better than that!  “Dads and grads” is not creative, original or effective; it’s lazy.

I’d especially like to hear from fellow dads out there.  Am I off-base with this or do you feel similarly?  What’s your biggest complaint with how dads are portrayed in advertising?


8 thoughts on ““Dads and Grads” – Brilliant or Lazy?

  1. Ok here’s my take. Yes, because it rhymes but also most of the people buying for “grads and dads” are women. And we know how to shop, we’ve made up our mind what we’re getting, we’re busy with kids and work and we want to get it done all in one trip. Now if we were buying for Mother’s Day that’s usually a special girlie thing found at one particular place. Weddings, same thing, they are registered somewhere, not much decision-making there. However, Dads and grads kind of want the same things that can all be bought at Target, Sears, Best Buy, etc. My son just graduated HS last week, he needs dorm stuff. My Dad likes books and CDs for Father’s Day. Boom, both can be found at Target. Sorry. Dad’s are awesome, but they are far less fussy to buy for so consider it a good thing. 🙂

  2. I’ve thought the same thing over the last two weeks, Arthur, and it does seem pretty lazy to me. However, I think that in some circumstances, an organization can offer one product that actually can be enjoyed by both dads and grads. For example, I took advantage of the Rochester Amerks “Dads and Grads” gift pack this year, purchasing a hat and two ticket vouchers to any home game for next season. I bought this as a gift for my dad, but I would have enjoyed getting it too, and I’m not far removed from high school.

    So, perhaps when you have something, like hockey, that is enjoyed by a huge number of people across multiple generations, it makes sense to target both groups at the same time. Of course, the rhyme doesn’t hurt, either!

    James Mignano

    • Thanks for your comments James! I think “dads and grads” can work more easily when it’s a father-son relationship. Not that daughters and moms don’t/can’t enjoy the same things or dads and daughters or moms and sons . . . .

      So watch for “proms and moms” soon because that rhymes. 😉

  3. I agree that Dads and Grads be marketed to seperately..Perhaps that is how they stretch their advertising budget. Also, it avoids message saturation – Mother’s Day, Grads, Dad, Brides – too many demographics in a short time span.

  4. I have to say when I first read the headline I thought “Can’t it be both?” Then I read your post and was definitely agreeing with you on the lazy aspect, perhaps being lazy myself I never gave it much thought but you made a compelling argument. I have finally ended in the camp of “does it work.” Has it helped your sales? Increased your business? Yes, then it is brilliant. No, then it is lazy and you need to travel another avenue.

    • Thanks Rich! There aren’t too many items that would appeal to both groups. Locally, I think a company like Delta Sonic could get away with it (both have cars) or a cell phone provider. But in the end, I have to believe it’s the rhyme that’s driving that marketing vehicle more than anything.

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