Similac's Formula Falls Short

Similac would love it if parents (moms) stopped judging each other because then parents (moms) would be free to use Similac formula without peer-pressure induced guilt.

That’s the tone of the message in a new Similac formula commercial that is raising eyebrows and receiving kudos. Well, mostly receiving kudos. Similac wants to end The Mommy Wars so we can practice our parental philosophies without fear of reprisal.

I’m on board with that. As long as your philosophies don’t damage everyone else (hello anti vaxxers), we should all be free to raise and love our kids without judgement. Our kids were fed with breast milk and formula. We used both Nestle and Similac formula products and didn’t feel guilty about it until .. we read parenting blogs.

So Similac‘s attempt to end the judgement is a welcome one. Except for the part where they dismiss dads.

Chris Routly of Daddy Doctrines tackled it first

“It’s really quite fantastic… right up until the last second, when they drop the ball. At least, if the idea is actually to support all parents.

It’s so rare to see this sort of thing that as something of a dad advocate it got my heart racing, I won’t lie.

But then, of course, the whole thing gets undermined, when we find out that by “parent” Similac is, well, really only referring to moms. This call for “no judgement” is really about asking moms to lay off each other. Dads, well, this isn’t about you, despite all previous evidence to the contrary.”

Brent Almond, Designer Daddy, also weighed in:

“I appreciate that dads are represented as one of the “gangs.” Big points for touching on issues pertinent to modern fathers — being made to feel less capable than mothers, being mistaken for a babysitter. Kudos for using the inclusive “parents” in the text at the end.

So why then did you sully all of that with the exclusionary tagline, “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood” and the hashtag “#SisterhoodUnite?” Why go to the trouble to include fathers at all, if you’re just going to erase them within the final shot?”

Similac Ad Gives Token Nod To Dads

DadMarketing was a little more bold in its criticism.

“While trying to find common ground among formula vs. breastfeed moms, Similac has managed to make dads feel like they can’t be part of the discussion. Regrettably using the word motherhood as a synonym for parenthood, the marketing team of Similac turned what could have been a creative endeavor into one poorly executed promotion.”

And many more have raised the issue on the Similac formula Facebook page. And, just as in the video, the dad opinion is being quickly dismissed by most. We’re told to calm down, stop complaining about the minute details, and take a back seat because this video is about moms.

Except it’s about parents. Isn’t it?

No, it’s about moms. Just look at the manifesto from the Similac formula website. Dads were tossed a bone in the ad, but it’s not about us. Parenthood means motherhood in this ad’s world.

“We believe it’s time to embrace mothers who choose to embrace motherhood. Time to put down the fingers and the subtle suggestions. Because no two of us are the same, but we’re all in this together. The sisterhood has only one rule. Nourish each other the same way we nourish our children. And, just like the sister who’s got your back, we’re there to help you get through the first few days and months of motherhood with confidence—and zero judgment. The way it should be.”

Sigh. The way it should be is embracing parenting as a team sport. The one where dads are maybe not the quarterback or team captain, but just as much as an MVP as mom.

There is a dad included in the social campaign to promote the spot. Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy Files is a proud equal parenting promoter. The tag line for his blog is “dads are parents too.” His promotional tweet included a subtle nod to the tone of the spot and the message they missed.

#ParentsUnite indeed. If only Similac saw it that way.

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