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Dad’s role at home is changing, are South African brands taking note?

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Dad's role is changing, are brands noticing?

I’m sure it’s not only me that’s noticed that the days where many fathers played a very low-key role in the home have mostly disappeared. Growing up in my little village in Swaziland, it was quite the norm for mothers to be home running the household, while fathers brought home the “bacon” and seen as the disciplinarian. It was natural then for brands to target the mothers with their communication – radio, tv and print adverts. 

The modern father

Today’s dad or father doesn’t need to be married, he can be single. He can be straight or gay. In full-time employment or a stay-at-home-dad. A biological dad, adoptive or even a step dad. More and more regardless of the ethnic background, fathers are taking a more active role in the modern household. According to the American Psychological Association research suggests that a father’s affection and increased family involvement helps promote children’s social and emotional development. 



Household’s as we know them are changing 

Today, more and more you can find households being run and managed by the father. Retrenchments are forcing many men to assume this new role while the mother now brings home the bacon. Recent economic trends see more women taking up employment and relying less on the male counterparts to survive or raise a family.  


An insert by ENCA back in July 2013 on Stay-At-Home-Dads on the rise


Research over the last 20-30 years began focusing on men as the primary caregiver, a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development(NICHD) found the reason that some fathers assumed a more active role as a caregiver was because of:

  • they are working fewer hours
  • opt to work from home or the stay at home parent
  • their partners worked longer hours
  • they cope well with major adult tasks

Gay men are now starting their own families, either through surrogacy or adoption. I agree with research finding that work load in gay households is split evenly, and it works. The notion that gay dads won’t have time for children is nonsense, if anything, I believe that we make more effort to be there for our kids than is believed. 


Are brands taking note

The modern dad is contributing and playing a healthier role in their children’s lives and households, so why are companies still only targeting the female demographic group? Is it not the time to change this archaic way of looking at our society?

What is the demographics of these new dads that South African brands should be targeting:

  • Generation X born 1966 – 1976 most dads here will probably have teenage kids. Their focus is on paying off the bond and providing for the family. Are well educated but highly cautious.
  • Generation Y / Millenniums born 1977 – 1994 dads in this category mobile, tech savvy, immune to traditional marketing. Aren’t too brand loyal but are extremely fitness and fashion conscious. Decisions are made as a family. 

With more dads doing all the running around getting groceries, buying the nappies, picking up the kids, actively involved in their children’s lives, laundry and even cooking more, shouldn’t there be more focus on dads from brands in South Africa?

A survey by the US Department of Labour suggests that between 2003 and 2016 the share of men doing food preparation and cleanup increased from 35% to 45% that’s 10% increase vs women doing the same only showed an increase of 4% from 66% to 70% over the same period. 


Commercial taking notice

Here are examples of commercials that have taken notice of the changes taking place in the market dynamics. Previously these adverts would have featured only women as they were the main decision makers when it came to purchasing these products.

Have South African domestic brands started to take notice?

How long before they catch up? 

Just so you don’t think it’s only about gay men in commercials …. here’s another.

About The Author


Parenting and Lifestyle Dad Blogger. If you enjoyed this post feel free to share it, or if you would like to engage with me you can find me on TWITTER @twodadsandakid or INSTAGRAM @twodadsandakid Follow my blog so you never miss out!

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