June 2012 Trend Report from Rec Room

Mega Trend: Dad – isfaction

Men are deriving great personal satisfaction and enjoyment from being a father in a way that hasn’t been seen in previous generations. Today’s dad considers fatherhood to be a critical identity marker, an integral part of who he is. This has led to the emergence of a new dad culture that media and marketers are just now waking up to and that presents important new opportunities.

The Dad Shopper

More than ever, dads are shopping for CPG products, home care items, and baby and child care products. For example, 80% of dads are fully or
partially responsible for product purchasing decisions in the child and baby care product category (Yahoo!, 2011). As of 2009, almost one-third of men were the principal shoppers in the household (Nielson, 2009) and we can assume that the 2012 figures are significantly higher.

Social Media

Like the “mommy blogger” culture in the early 2000’s, there has been an explosion in dads’ blogging and social media usage. A study by Edelman shows that 40% of US dads with kids under the age of 2 who are using social networks are writing family related updates on a daily basis, 56% post family related photos a few times a week, and 21% post family videos (Business News Daily, April 2012).

Traditional Media

Media and entertainment companies have caught on. New sitcoms backed by major networks are portraying cool dads in non-traditional roles. Up All Night features a stay at home dad (Will Arnett) who takes his daughter to playgroups, playdates and on visits to mom’s office. Jimmy Fallon’s new show Guys with Kids about men “enjoying the adventures of parenting” has already been green-lit for 13 episodes. At Rec Room we particularly love the documentary The Other F Word, about famous punk rock dads (Flea, Rob Chaos) balancing their wild lifestyles and colourful past with the ambition of being really good parents.


A 2011 study determined that three of the 10 most liked new TV ads featured “fatherly love” – touching stories of dads with their sons (Neilson, 2011). Unfortunately, this is not the norm in advertising, and despite making more purchasing decisions than ever, dads feel disenfranchised by the marketing messages attached to these products. A full 57% of dads said they felt alienated by ads in the child and baby care category and 52% felt ignored by ads in the home goods category (Yahoo!, 2011).


We are in the early days of a massive new dad culture. There is tremendous opportunity to build brand loyalty with dad by getting in early with targeted, relevant and respectful messaging that reflects the good feelings men have about fatherhood.
foot note

More Dad #Wins and #Fails

Dad #Fail

This recent advertising disaster by Kimberly Clark for Huggies caused outrage among moms and dads alike. Huggies created a series of ads where their baby products were put to the ultimate test: Dad parenting! For five days in a row! Without mom! Social streams immediately lit up with parents expressing their outrage at the portrayal of dads as incompetent, negligent and useless. The backlash was so fierce the executives at Huggies flew to the Dad2.0 conference to talk with real dads about their needs and wants from advertisers and rejigged the campaign accordingly turning their #fail, into something of a #win.

More #fails





Dad #Win

Google received great attention when it released this touching commercial,featuring a thoughtful dad documenting his daughter’s life using Google products. Brands like Bugaboo have been doing it right for years, showing hip and cool dads pushing their hip and cool strollers.

More #wins