There is a difference between “knowing your audience” and knowingyour audience.
The Bonds Father’s Day ad is an entertaining comedy skit. The tension and timing is beautifully established, the casting is great (albeit very white-males) and some of the jokes are kinda funny. Kinda.
And therein lies the rub.
It has a “jock-ular” and light-hearted premise; a group of near-naked men in Bonds undies in a peer-support group wanting their pre-baby bodies back. It includes references to stretch marks, swollen ankles and an utter disbelief that David Beckham is out there running bare-chested, a week post-partum. It even includes the role reversal reference that wives might be checking out other men (Really? Do men actually do that with a post-pregnant wife because, ouch.)
It’ll probably make the Dad’s laugh. And the Mum’s might too because it’s a funny Saturday-Night-Liveish-skit, but somewhere in their gut and observed in their ongoing scorecard with brands, women (the presumed consumer for Father’s Day) may feel that twinge of ‘piss-take’. The trivialising and body shaming and the stereotyping of mother’s with “baby-body” issues might be funny to guys, but not so much to gals.
A well-documented fact not to be overlooked is that women’s brains significantly change when they become a mother. A wonderfully comprehensive article here describes it as discovering a strange new room in a house you have been living in for years. Anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviour can plague new mum’s.
In a poster accompanying the campaign is a plea “Think of Father’s this 4/09/16”. But I don’t know what to feel/think. Whether to be embarrassed for the actors who are trying to sell this script by making “the gender-switcheroo” work? Or for the brand hoping to sell more jocks, presumably to mothers who are presumably the purchasers of the Father’s Day gifts? (Willing to stand corrected).
But I am conscious that I am super-attuned to my female-lens, so I put it out there…?
My girlfriend had this to say: “Interesting discussion on Mamamia podcast about this very thing I don’t think it got the thumbs up at all ….I dislike it personally and it seems to trivialise the decades of us women being valued on our looks/bodies. I’m probably oversensitive to this type of thing and seem to be losing my sense of humour for it as I get older….”
My husband said this: “It takes the piss and satirises stereotypes and social culture trends: trash and general celeb media make a big deal out of celebrity post-baby bodies. But underneath it all, it leverages a real truth: men tend to get ‘dad bods’ when little ones turn up, for a range of reasons. And, like women, in a society that champions youth and slimness, they don’t feel great about it…”
Shame my husband is not buying his own Father’s Day presents or Bonds might have made a few sales.
There is just so much more to unpack in all of this: I love that my husband acknowledged that ‘all parent’s’ bodies change – I wonder why they didn’t own that insight and opportunity to build empathy with men? At least that way women would have been more engaged in the emotional storytelling rather than felt they were the butt of the jokes in this campaign.
Get it right with women – they will buy the whole Bonds range for a long, long time. For themselves, for their babies, for their kids and for their partner/husband.
Take the piss…it plays a bung note. And for women (did I mention they are the strongest emerging consumer economy making 9 out of 10 purchasing decisions?) then that bad note translates as a “SEEN and NOTED”.
Bonds, you are on notice.