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Modern day dads are looking for something different, but is anyone ready to listen?

Author: Han-Son

Long gone are the days where dads would expect to come home, pat the kids on the head, have their partners serve them their dinner, and then relax in their armchair for the evening.

Modern day living has become increasingly equalized, and convenience is now becoming more and more important. Take for instance a new cooking business like Hello Fresh, who deliver just the right amount of ingredients for you to make specific meals, direct to your door. They are not marketed to the traditional ‘housewives’ stereotype, since the way that society has moved forward means that increasingly it’s both partners who are at work in some way of another, both partners who take the kids to school, and both partners doing their own fair share of parenting.

It’s this shift that has also seen more and more men become stay at home dads. There are now circa 250,000 SAHDs in the UK.

Millennial Dads want a different kind of relationship

We recently completed the first ever in-depth study on the Millennial dad; looking at their involvement in day to day parenting, and how that’s re-shaped how they buy.

The results have been eye opening.

  • 87% are heavily involved in all day to day parenting areas, with only 13% having little – no involvement
  • The majority cook for their kids during the week, and 1/3 do the majority of all cooking for their kids
  • Dads spend on average £6000 per year on activities for their children; ranging from classes through to eating out, arts and crafts, and much much more.


There’s 3 core factors around this.

1  Millennial dads have been ready for fatherhood…since their own childhoods.,

Dr Peter West really shined a light on modern day fatherhood when he interviewed thousands of dads as part of his book – Fathers, Sons, Lovers.

One of areas discussed was how, for a great number of millennial men, they were the first generation to experience first hand, the growing rates of divorce as children from their parents generation. I can personally attest to that too, and it really struck accord with me that in many ways I’ve wanted to make up for what I felt I never had a child. With divorce rates reaching as high as 50% at one stage in the 90’s – I’m sure there are many more men who have grown up feeling this way.

Its helped to shape a deep need to be involved, but how exactly do dads want to be involved?

2  It’s all about the bond

Involvement is one important factor of change, and understanding how dads want to feel involved is another. The answer is all about the dad-bond.

When we had the pleasure to conduct an AmaWrap review from a dads point of view a few months ago, what became apparent was that Dave (the dad reviewer) valued that closeness of fit, that genuine physical bond between him and his baby.

It’s probably why Amawrap accounted for 10% of all Millennial dads purchasing in the Dad Index when it came to baby carriers. Clearly there’s something in the wrap that makes it a great option for dads.

And that is a great learning for other brands too. The dad bond is a strong driver throughout all other categories too – from the way dads cook with their children, through to how they buy clothes, books, and even toys.

So if dads want brands to give them more of the dad bond how exactly can brands do it?

The secret lies in 3 F’s…

3  Form, Function, and Fun

I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with over 50 brands thus far and the ones I’ve seen do incredibly well with the Millennial dad market all share 3 similar characteristics:

  1. Form: The product / service has a deep understanding of how exactly dads are going to use it and what it gives them back. The many dads I speak to are also increasingly safety conscious (on and offline), and so ensuring that a product/service has all it’s necessarily safety checks is also vital.
  2. Function: More than just something working as it should for the children, function is all about how it helps dads function – the big question of why exactly dads need it is an important part of the puzzle that brands need to answer. Does it help specific situations? Is the design something that solves a problem like no one else can?
  3. Fun: Yes, I said it – dads want to have fun too! Now that’s obviously not the most important factor for every single category – e.g. safety and fit is still much more important in dads buying the best car seat for instance. But it is noticeable, and something I’ve seen a lot in the DaddiLife community, that dads are increasingly looking at the fun factor as an important buying signal.


Its time for brands to stand up and be counted

The ASA last year ruled that brands can no longer portray dads in outdated ‘bumbling dad’ stereotypes, but the change with dad goes way beyond just how they are portrayed in advertising. In fact I’d go so far as to say that brands who are still only talking to mum are missing a trick.

Dads want to be more involved and being a dad is a more fundamental part of their identity than it’s ever been. Brands like AmaWrap point the way towards the type of experience that dads really crave.

Author Bio

Han-Son is the founder of DaddiLife – a parenting website for dads, and the UK’s fastest growing dad community.

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