6 in 10 US moms prefer ads featuring real families

November 6, 2017

While motherhood is full of beautiful moments, the everyday isn’t always picture perfect and it’s this reality that moms like to see reflected in advertising from their favorite brands. New research from Mintel reveals that six in ten (59 percent) moms* prefer advertisements which show stories of real families, and just under half (46 percent) like when ads show the ‘unglamourous’ side of motherhood.

10% of moms say they like advertisements featuring celebrity moms.
Highlighting their sense of humor, the most popular type of advertisement among moms shows humorous parenting moments (60 percent). Themes of empowerment also resonate as two in five (41 percent) moms agree that they prefer ads that show moms successfully balancing their responsibilities. Advertisements that shine a spotlight on working moms are also popular (38 percent), especially among single mothers, who are more likely to prefer ads showing working moms (54 percent), non-traditional families (30 percent) and young moms (29 percent). Less popular are ads that spotlight celebrity motherhood as just 10 percent of moms say they like advertisements featuring celebrity moms. Mintel GNPD.

Despite what their social media feeds might portray, rather than living the picture-perfect lifestyle, for many moms, it’s the little things that give them a sense of accomplishment. Indeed, the two things that are most likely to make American moms feel like a ‘super-mom’ at the end of the day are spending quality time with their kids (48 percent) and getting their household chores done (46 percent). Instead of enforcing house rules (13 percent), moms find that setting a good example for their kids (40 percent), not losing their temper (36 percent) and saying “I love you” (34 percent) are more important factors to feeling like ‘super-mom.’

“While we’re seeing an increase in celebrity mom partnerships and endorsements, especially on social media channels, and some moms do reference celebrities as parenting role models, few say they appreciate advertisements featuring celebrity moms. Instead, our research shows that American moms prefer ads that show stories of ‘real life.’ Brands interested in portraying an unvarnished ‘real’ take on motherhood should consider how their efforts can balance the challenges with the pride and joy that moms experience raising their families,” said Dana Macke, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst at Mintel. “Brands must also identify with small, but important segments of their consumer base by ensuring that a variety of different types of moms are depicted.”

Motherhood can often seem like a balancing act, but for most, no amount of household duties come before family time. In fact, more than half (56 percent) of moms say they skip some household chores in order to spend time with their kids. What’s more, if given the option of a helping hand with housework or with the kids, moms are more likely to prefer help cleaning the house (72 percent) and cooking meals (56 percent), while one quarter would welcome extra help entertaining their children (25 percent) or helping kids with school work (24 percent).

While motherhood is an around-the-clock responsibility, fewer than three in 10 (28 percent) US moms say they feel overwhelmed with their motherly duties and just 17 percent say they struggle to keep track of family appointments or obligations.

“The role of mom encompasses many different responsibilities. While some feel a sense of satisfaction when finishing household chores, most moms would rather play hooky with their kids than fold the laundry. This balance between the duties of being a parent, and the fun that comes along with having kids, is something that brands should explore as they strive to capture the authentic voice of mom,” continued Macke.

33% of moms overall say that they use social media to learn tips/tricks from other moms.
When it comes to reaching their parenting goals, many view technology as more helpful than harmful. One third (33 percent) of moms overall say that they use social media to learn tips/tricks from other moms, rising to more than two in five (44 percent) moms aged 25-34. What’s more, one quarter (26 percent) of moms overall agree that mobile apps help keep them organized, including 31 percent of moms aged 25-34. For some, online photo albums are just as good as a baby book as 34 percent of moms say they use social media as a way to save photos of their kids for themselves, including 43 percent of moms aged 25-34.

Despite the fact that social media plays a significant role in learning about and documenting motherhood, Mintel research indicates that having kids does little to change the frequency of social media posting. In fact, moms are almost just as likely to say they post more to social media now that they have kids (27 percent) as they are to say they post less after having kids (24 percent).

Becoming a parent brings on a multitude of expected and unexpected lifestyle changes. Moms most commonly say that after having kids they are more likely to watch their finances closely (55 percent), make a grocery shopping list (46 percent) and ‘stress out about little things’ (38 percent). At the same time, some moms have become less concerned with how they look, reporting that they spend less time on makeup/grooming (41 percent) and worry less about their appearance (36 percent) than they did before they had kids.

“Social media, mobile apps and other online services are important tools for many moms as they help moms connect with other parents and stay organized. That said, the transition to parenthood isn’t always easy and many moms say they’ve changed their behaviors now that they have kids. While some may not have the time or mental space to focus on their appearance the way they once did, this doesn’t mean that moms don’t want to look their best. Younger moms in particular may feel less prepared for these lifestyle changes and may be less likely to have a social group that includes other moms, which is likely part of the reason social media has become a good support system for this group,” concluded Macke.

*female internet users aged 18+ who are a parent/guardian to at least one child under the age of 18 in the household

Press copies of Mintel’s Marketing to Moms US 2017 report and interviews with Dana Macke, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

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