Tuesday, May 26

Whirlpool and Role Fluidity

I'm a Marketer and a Dad. I've lived my life taking care of my children while balancing the demands of my career. Yes, it was a constant struggle every day, but I always put my best foot forward, no matter what the situation. Now that my children are young adults, I feel pure joy cheering their accomplishments as they navigate their own lives.

Pure joy.

As a very active parent in an untraditional family, I always grimaced at how fathers were portrayed in advertising campaigns. And as a marketer, there were times I was seriously embarrassed. Fathers were often viewed as aloof or fumbly and hyper-focused on career, leaving all the household and family duties to the mother. It was never that way in my home, so I found myself gravitating toward anything in pop culture that reflected our family. But there wasn't much...there were no role models to speak of.

There was no Modern Family.

So you can imagine my appreciation now in watching brands showcase and celebrate the real modern family today. As a marketer who has promoted brands for decades, I take great pride in our evolution and as a father I walk a little taller when I see the great inclusion happening across all media.

Honey Maid and Swiffer, just to name two standout brands, have shown the diversity of our families and have celebrated how we collectively take care of our homes and our children. Luckily, these two brands aren't just trending; we are seeing more and more brands embrace evolving gender roles around how we each individually family. Yes, that is a verb.

The latest is Whirlpool with "Every day, care."

I am thrilled, personally and professionally, to see how the brand is featuring the fluidity of family gender roles and showing how traditional expectations of family are evaporating. Yes, dads can family too, thank you very much. Yes, that is a verb.

What I love about the Whirlpool family is how the brand reinforces the fact that it's the little things that matter when it comes to caring. "Every day, care" as they say.

After years of shuffling kids to activities, doing loads and loads of laundry, and helping with school projects, I can verify that it's the little moments that make a parent. The little things add up, let me tell you, when you hit a really big stumbling block and you have to rely on your family's love and support to get through it.

The fact that this brand "gets it" makes me respect it even more, especially as a parent.

I can relate because I remember vividly making school lunches in the morning, and including little notes and stamping little pictures on the brown bag... at least until my daughter told me that the other boys were making fun of my son for it.

Sadly, that stopped me in my tracks. It was OK, though, I found other ways to show a little love, albeit less publicly. "This too shall pass," was a common theme back in the day.

Let's face it; parenting is messy. It's not always on script and many times we have no idea how to tackle what's in front of us. But we move forward as a family, any kind of family, and we surround our children in love. It's often the little points of caring in life that get us through, like a little love note on a brown bag lunch or a freshly laundered t-shirt that smells like home. Or a freshly brewed cup of coffee hand delivered in bed.

As a father, I'd like to thank Whirlpool and the other brands that are so faithfully giving us all new role models to inspire us all to be even better parents...to family even better. Yes, that is a verb.

As a fellow marketer, it makes me proud to make this industry my career.

What's your experience? JIM


  1. I do love that commercial! I wish my kids were still home.

  2. I know! The empty nest isn't always so great! JIM