Diaries Magazine

Philips Norelco IV: A Lost Hope

By Bloggerfather @bloggerfather
First, a recap of the first three episodes.
Six months ago, I noticed Philips Norelco's only parenting item, a kids' hair clipper, was marketed as "Designed for Kids, Made for Moms." I contacted Philips, they promised a call back, and after waiting a month for a call that never came, I started writing.
The first post, Philips Norelco: Parenting is No Place for Men, showed the way Philips Norelco completely ignored fatherhood. Not only was the one parenting item marketed solely at moms, but all the instructional videos featured various "supermoms." Philips Norelco marketed body grooming for men, and parenting for women.
A week later, I wrote my second post, after noticing a trend with Philips. Philips Norelco 2: Now With More Offensive Marketing!!! was mostly about another Philips label: Philips Avent. When you go to the Philips site, there's a Personal Care tab, which features men (except for the supermoms in charge of the children). Next to it is the child-care section, titled, "Mother and Child Care." Each of the products sold by Philips Avent is marketed specifically for moms. From feeding bottles to baby monitors, the Avent site--in fact the entire Philips site, with its numerous labels and brands--does not mention dads once. In my favorite section, the Avent tips for users, one tip suggests mom ask a neighbor for help with the child, so she could get some time to relax by doing some gardening. I assume even here there's no mention of dad because he's too busy shaving his armpits to help with the kids.
Philips offensive marketing
The third post was a surprise. Without alerting me or the guys at 8bitdad (who also sent many emails to Philips and wrote about it on their blog), Philips Norelco quietly changed the item description from Made for Moms to Made for Parents.
So, victory.
Well, it would have been a victory if not for the latest disingenuous campaign by Norelco: A group of blogging dads is writing sponsored posts and filming videos about the New Face of Dad. There will be a Twitter party celebrating the new dad. Even. But is there anything behind it? While celebrating dads, does Philips actually celebrate fatherhood as well?
The answer is clearly No.
  1. While the description for the kids' hair clippers changed on the Philips website, it didn't change on Amazon. The description written by Philips still refers to the clippers as "Made for Mom." Moreover, it's still described as "Made for women's hands." Because, as we all know, all women's hands are tiny and delicate. The single parenting item by a company that purports to celebrate dads, is marketed solely for moms.
    Philips offensive marketing
    Made for Moms
  2. Even while Philips changed the description on their site, what looks like a later model of the clippers is still described as "Made for Moms" on the site.
    Made for Moms
  3. Philips Norelco, which celebrates dads with sponsored posts and Twitter parties, is part of the same company that markets its entire catalog of child-care items as "Mother and Child Care."
    Philips offensive marketing
    Mother and Child Care
Which would have been fine if they didn't decide to jump on the "Dads are Awesome" bandwagon. Really, I moved on.
But they keep pulling me back.
After expressing my feelings on Twitter, a marketing guy for Philips Norelco contacted me. Very nice man. Unfortunately, we were having parallel conversations. It went something like that:
Him: "Norelco is making great strides. We take it seriously."
Me: "Great, but while you come up with a new marketing campaign that taps into this cool niche, especially after the Huggies mess, the fact is the Norelco has a single product for parents, and it's being marketed as 'Made for moms.' At the same time, Norelco is part of Philips, which has a child care section called 'Mother & Child Care,' which completely ignores fatherhood."
Him: "Yes, but look at the videos we have planned. They're great."
Me: "They're disingenuous! It's all marketing with nothing behind it!"
It went on like that for about half-an-hour, but really, he had nothing to offer as a concrete plan for change, because he knew he was unable to offer change, and because he knew he could get away with saying basically nothing. Sure, there will be a nice set of YouTubes talking about The New Face of Dad, and a few more Facebook Likes for Norelco, since all sponsored posts linked to their Facebook page, and a week later we'll look back and think we've really achieved something. "Here's yet another brand that 'gets it,'" we'll say. "They know dads are important! Hear us roar!"
And like the kittens that we are, we'll watch Philips continue to ignore fatherhood while "celebrating fathers," and we'll say, "Hey, it's just marketing!"

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