The dynamic of a family is changing and we see it every day in the world around us. We are no longer a society of the family equation being: 1 mom + 1 dad + 2 kids = family. We see it in movies, tv shows, among our friends and family and now some well-known brands are catching on and trying to attract this important modern family consumer group to their products.

According to Mintel’s Marketing to Non-Traditional Parents – US 2014 Report, non-traditional families face the same challenges as traditional parents in providing for kids and doing so in the most cost-effective ways possible. This creates a significant consumer group for marketers. Notably, several brands are being more inclusive to attract LBGT consumers, who are often absent in mainstream advertising and media.

Companies such as JCPenney, Target, Allstate, American Airlines, Marriott, Smirnoff, and Orbit have launched national advertising campaigns targeting the LBGT community. Although their attempts are applauded by the LBGT community, conservative consumer groups have pressured the advertisers to pull the campaigns. The fear of alienating or offending the general population is a major challenge for marketers. 

In addition to non-traditional families, Dads are also stepping up their participation in the household game. Despite success on the basketball court, it is off-the-court where NBA star Dwyane Wade has sought his most cherished goal: being a good dad to his sons, Zaire and Zion. After a long, bitter custody battle that ended in 2011, he was awarded sole custody of his sons in a virtually unprecedented court decision. That’s just one story—there are more dads today who are raising their children, alone. And, even in households where the mom is present, men are taking on more responsibility around the house, including time spent with their children.

Some attribute the rise in dads having more of a role around the house to the recession where many men lost their jobs and were forced to take on responsibilities in the household traditionally held by women. During the recession, many people turned to entrepreneurship—even if it was doing odd jobs as a way to subsidize earnings previously made from corporate jobs. It could also be attributed to the mindset of Millennials who have earned an entrepreneurial reputation.

According to the Ad Council, “86% of dads spend more time with their children today than their own fathers did with them. However, a majority of dads (seven out of 10) also reported that they could use tips on how to be a better parent.” The Ad Council, in conjunction with The Fatherhood Initiativ,e have a series of public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at reaching out to all fathers to inspire and support them in their commitment to responsible fatherhood. The PSAs communicate to fathers that their presence is essential to their children’s well-being. The campaign also serves as a resource for fathers by providing the information they need to become more involved with their kids.

For more on Mintel’s Marketing to Non-Traditional Parents 2013 report, click here

Fiona O’Donnell leads the US Multicultural, Lifestyles and Leisure research analyst team at Mintel. She specializes in consumer behavior, demographics, travel and green trends, and uses her expertise to advise clients on marketing strategies and business decisions.

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