Marketers have been reminded that mothers cannot be treated as a single homogenous group. According to Graeme Pitkethly, Executive Chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland, stereotyping mums can be a mistake for brands that are trying to attract this audience.

He highlighted Dove as an example of one brand that has realised this, as it has avoided making its marketing about mothers specifically. “It’s about women,” Mr Pitkethly observed. “The core authenticity of the brand is particularly relevant to teenagers and they need to see their mum as an equal.”

This belief was apparent in Dove’s recent Legacy campaign, which Mr Pitkethly said was designed to “help mums remember the impact that their relationship with their own beauty has on the world around them”. “It’s a genuine lesson,” he added.

Mr Pitkethly was speaking after a study carried out for Marketing by FanFinders revealed that nearly half of mums feel marketing puts them under pressure to live up to unrealistic ideals.

Furthermore, 35 per cent said they feel pigeonholed by brands, while 28 per cent were particularly critical as they described marketing to mothers as sexist. A similar proportion said they think promotional activity aimed at mums as patronising. In addition, 87 per cent stated that fathers should be incorporated more heavily into marketing.

Alistair Macrow, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s UK and Northern European division, believes the mistake is being made as soon as brands decide they want to target mums in particular. Instead, he suggests they “ask the right questions first” and strike the correct balance “between women’s roles as mothers and the fact they are still a person in their own right”.

Nick Hadfield, a director at FanFinders, added that brands who want to engage with mums must focus on building trust with this audience. He said the general problem for these companies is the way they try to get their message across. Mr Hadfield argued that instead of “interfering” and diverting the attention of mums away from what they are doing, they should instead try to build trust by providing information when it is likely to be needed.

Marketing to mums is broken, Marketing

Posted by Robin McCrink