In the case of the laundry room, art definitely does not imitate life


Men and washing machineFor the first time in… ever? … we are marketing laundry soap to men as the end users.

It’s so great that men are finally doing laundry! It must have really stunk to wear dirty clothes for thousands of years. Granted, the average Joe got a little help from women in this area all that time.

If you know any men, and I’ll bet you do, you know that men have always done some amount of laundry and housework. In fact, they can be, are, and have been great caretakers. The numbers show that while there is a big gap (66% vs 34% nationally in 2012) between men and women caretakers of aging parents, that’s still enough of an audience to market to, considering there are over 65 million caretakers in the U.S.

Dads do their share of laundry in many households, but single dads are a good bet for ‘the numbers’. Single father households make up 8% (in 2011) of households with children, a steady climb from 1% in 1960. A few in that group of 2.6 million U.S. men probably wash clothes and buy detergent.

We know that pre 60s, when television was young and ad agencies were, well, mad men, we suffered the June Cleaver ideal, so we won’t go there. But post 60s saw a steady march towards trashing traditionalism the way Jimi Hendrix trashed his guitar. Irreverence has become part of our culture in every area but a few, including marketing household products to men.

So even though men have been doing a good amount of laundry all this time, only in the last couple of years are we seeing the very first commercials targeting them. Why? Continue reading