12 Apr, 2011
This is what marketing to moms looks like today
I’ve talked a lot about pitches and things here at the Fishbowl. I had to post a pitch policy just to stem the tide of misdirected pitches.
I thought it would be interesting to show you what one looks like today.
If there is ONE THING that gets my goat is when we are constantly reminded how busy we are, and how pathetically and desperately we need “helpful” snacks in order to keep our families fed.
This arrived in my inbox the other day. I have substituted my own text for the brand name, otherwise I’ve left it intact.
“For the everyday, active parent, the real work begins at 4pm. Finding time for dinner between music lessons, soccer practice, homework and dance can be a difficult task!
That’s why “BRAND X” is introducing their new “toastable” snack, ideal for a grab-and-go snack or meal designed to feed your hunger monster (we mean your children!). BRAND X Toasty-MEAT-THINGS” are easy to prepare in just minutes by toasting once and serving. School-aged children can make this snack by themselves.
BRAND X Toasty-MEAT-THINGS come in three varieties, including: MEAT, A DIFFERENT MEAT, and VEGETARIAN FLAVOURING.
Let me know if you are interested in testing a Toasty-MEAT-THING.”
I know that many parents are busy nowadays. Geez, I am too, some days I am running around and can’t seem to pull it together, but we need to ask ourselves; if we, as parents, can’t manage to prepare a few healthy snacks in between all of those music and swim lessons and whatnot, is there a larger problem that we should be worrying about?
There was a press release attached to the email too. I’ve inserted my own comments in the text [like this].
“A new survey* reveals that 80 per cent of parents are interested in quick snack and mealtime solutions that their school-aged children can make themselves. [I found this surprising. Only 80 per cent? Doesn’t every parent want their kids to make themselves a snack? Note the question wasn’t “healthy” snack.] BRAND X Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ is a new, “toastable” snack that will answer this need.
“After school and at mealtime, parents are looking for foods that their kids can easily prepare by themselves,” says Mr. President, President of BRAND X. “Toast your Toasty just once and you have
a healthy snack option, that is ideal for families on the go.”
Frozen, fully-cooked, individually-wrapped BRAND X Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ come in three varieties, including: [MEAT, A DIFFERENT MEAT, and VEGETARIAN LEFTOVER FLAVOUR.]
“Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ are a source of protein and contain less sodium than many comparable convenience foods,” says Mrs. EveryMom, registered dietitian and mother. [Notice how they threw that in there?] “As a result, Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ can be part of a balanced diet for active kids and teens. The vegetarian option is ideal for parents who are trying to increase their children’s vegetarian based protein sources.”
[I love how carefully they tread here. It has comparatively less sodium than other comparable convenience foods! Yay!]
“The survey also looked at the top factors that parents consider when they are choosing snacks for their children. In addition to convenience and portability [it saddens me that this might be true because this says volumes about how our perception of meals is changing], 92 per cent of Canadians are looking for healthy snacks and 58 per cent want a variety of snack choices for their children. [No guff!] Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ are designed specifically for toasting in a toaster, but can also be reheated in a conventional oven or frying pan.
“Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ are available at XXX grocery stores at a suggested retail price of $9.99 and $8.99 for a package of eight Toasty-MEAT-THINGS ™ .
[And this was printed in a handy sidebar. Read this carefully.]
“Brand X stands for innovation, quality and the highest performance in the development and marketing of frozen convenience foods. As a joint venture between Brand X and Canadian Manufacturing Co., Brand X’s products are designed to meet the needs of Canadian consumers.”
This says it all to me. Toasty Meat Things are not food. It is food in disguise. We are being marketed food-type products by companies who are driven by the dollar. And we are buying them because we are feeling rushed. Are we really and truly too busy to buy a bag of apples, wash them and put them out in a big bowl for our kids? Or to rinse off some carrots and celery? Tell me that’s not true, because if we don’t have time to peel a carrot or toss our kids an orange, well, there’s something wrong. I’m sorry, but there it is.
I won’t link to their website, but the message there is equally appalling.
“Tired of BOOOORING food? Need a quick fix? Try a TOASTY MEAT THING: the 1st toastable frozen meat snack! From the toaster to your mouth in minutes. How delish is that!?”
Friends, parents, countrymen: I have a newsflash. You don’t need this crap. Please say no to toasted meat snacks, premade frozen peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and similar kinds of food-type products. If your kids are little, don’t even go there. They will never know what they’re missing. I understand that many of us are busy and that sometimes it can be hard to get a meal on the table, but there are many things that are miles better than eating Toasty Meat Snax after school.
Food is for eating. For sharing. For enjoying.
Can you help me, help us, brainstorm some easy suggestions for healthy alternatives for after school snacks, especially ones that kids can prepare themselves? What about:
- Multigrain toast and peanut butter/cheese/egg/tuna
- Cut up veggies, with or without dip
- Hummus and pita
- A handful of unsalted nuts
- Air-popped popcorn
- A bowl of yogurt, maybe with a sprinkle of granola
- Eggs and toast soldiers for dipping
I would love to hear what you think of (a) the materials that were sent and (b) this terrible trend in convenience foods.
I’m off to eat an apple.
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