The Modern Family


The Leave It To Beaver family model is, for better or worse, a thing of the past. Over the past sixty years, as cultural norms have become more liberalized, family structures have changed as well, giving rise to a plethora of new household types. Even over the past decade or so, these changes have been quite remarkable, as borne out by the results of the 2010 census. Between 2000 and 2010, for example, there was a 28% increase in American households headed by interracial couples; a 30% increase in multi-generational households (that is, those with three or more generations of a family living together under the same roof); a 39% increase in households headed by unmarried opposite sex couples (57.5% of which reported incomes of $50,000 or higher); and a stunning 80% increase in households headed by same sex couples (55.7% of which reported incomes of $75,000 or higher).

As marketers, it is incumbent upon us to realize that we are no longer attempting to sell goods to the stay-at-home wife with her 3.7 children (who, if June Cleaver is any indication, thought it was practical to cook in heels!), but instead must reach out to such “non-traditional” consumers as the stay-at-home dad (or dads), the semi-retired grandparent, and the single, unwed working mom. Successful companies will adapt their messaging to appeal to these and other emerging demographic categories, thereby capturing the brand loyalty of the next generation of consumer. Stated differently, the new normal in America is the Modern Family– a fact that we, as marketers, simply can not choose to ignore.

Source: macys.comMacy’s is an excellent example of an organization expanding its marketing message to reach and resonate with the ever-evolving modern family unit. For example, for Father’s Day, Macy’s has executed an advertisement campaign on Chicago’s subway system featuring father-son models of diverse racial backgrounds, reflecting the increase in multiracial families in America. The company has also stated a “Pride & Joy Nationwide” initiative and, in recognition of LGBT Pride Month, participates in parades and festivals throughout the country. By undertaking these initiatives, Macy’s has broadened its marketing strategy to directly appeal to two growing segments of the modern American family, wanting customers not only see themselves represented in the company’s promotional materials, but also to feel supported by the company’s culture as a whole.


J.C. Penney is also doing a noteworthy job of adapting its marketing campaigns to account for the new normal in American family life. In May, in recognition of Mother’s Day, J.C. Penney featured a real-life lesbian couple and their children in its catalogue. When this resulted in complaints from traditionalists still wed to the outdated Leave It To Beaver norm, the company issued the following non-apologetic statement: “As J.C. Penney focuses on becoming America’s favorite store, we want to be a store for all Americans. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re proud that our May book honors women from diverse backgrounds who all share the heartwarming experience of motherhood.” The company subsequently featuring another same-sex couple and their children in its June catalogue, in recognition of Father’s Day. J.C. Penney understands that households headed by same-sex couples are the wave of the future, and that, notwithstanding the retrograde opposition of some traditionalists, it must appeal to this new customer base if the company is to continue to thrive.

In short, the American family has changed, and companies must recognize this fact when designing and implementing their advertising campaigns, because engaging the diversity of modern-day America will be key to successfully capturing the brand loyalty of emerging demographic segments of the population. Just as we now no longer think it is normal to cook in heels, we must also recognize that it is no longer appropriate to market our products exclusively to the stay-at-home homemaker.

Do you feel your modern family isn’t being portrayed in the advertising world? What ways do you think brands could better reach the diverse, progressive consumer of today?

Posted in Marketing/Advertising | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

AK’s Productive Jams Playlist – Week of 5/7

AK’s Productive Jams Playlist for the week of May 7th:

So many big changes going on at work. I transferred from one client to another, the new client being GENERAL MOTORS! Which was recently acquired by iProspect as a client, so this involved a huge launch once we took over the business. Let’s just say, I’ve been VERY busy and in need of some serious productive music. Check out some of the songs I’ve had on rotation in this week’s playlist!

Spotify Playlist Link*

Second Chance by Peter Bjorn And John
Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls) by Foster The People
Wild Ones by Flo Rida featuring Sia
Lights – Fernando Garibay Remix by Ellie Goulding
Feel So Close by Calvin Harris

I found out that David Guetta (whom I gushed about in March) was involved in a remix/extended version of the Wild Ones track by Flo Rida. If you aren’t quite into the hip-hop-ness of Flo Rida check out Wild One Two by Jack Back & David Guetta. It’s a more melodic-slower paced version but still has Sia’s amazing vocals and a steady beat, I suggest giving it a listen to as you’re pluggin’ away at a task.

Add a few of these jams or a couple from the last few posts (here and here) to your playlist and let me know what you think! Also, comment and let me know any suggestions you may have to add to my music rotation.

* ADVISORY: Music may contain explicit content or language which some listeners may find objectionable. tries to provide only edited versions of songs, if no other version is available, leaves the choice to the users whether or not to listen to what is provided. The opinions, content or language expressed in these songs does not necessarily reflect the views of Amber King.

Amber suggests listening to songs on headphones prior to, say, exposing small children or your grandmother’s bingo group to the above playlist.

Posted in AK's Productive Jams Playlist | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Trying To Care About Pinterest

This may come as a shock to most, but I am NOT an early adopter…of anything. I maintained my Myspace profile much longer than I’m willing to admit and didn’t get on Facebook until 2007 when I returned to college. I still don’t have a smartphone but will jump on that bandwagon as soon as I can justify the expense. I have an iPod that I fight with regularly and only during my more self-aware moments will admit the issue is the user (i.e. ME) and not the platform. This isn’t to say I’m one of the “New Luddites”, Mark J. Penn spoke of in Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, whom reject technological advances. I love technology and eventually adopt and adapt; I just need sufficient reason to believe the newest trend is worth investing my time and effort. My current struggle has been trying to care about Pinterest.

The Ultimate Guide To Pinterest created by Michael Litman, describes Pinterest the best as a combination of a bookmarking site, a social network, a gift finder and a platform for collaboration. Pinterest allows a user to organize images within categorized virtual bulletin boards that can be seen, commented on, liked and re-pinned by followers and other Pinterest users searching within the site for content. Currently the bulk of users are ‘pinning’ content related to crafts, gifts, hobbies, interior design, fashion and event planning.

My personal experience with Pinterest thus far has been using the site as a combination of bookmarking sites I want easy access to without saving them all in a massive bookmark list within my browser or pictures I find interesting. I have begun following brands I’m loyal to and friends that have already gotten on board in hopes to get a better feel for what Pinterest has to offer. I’m still trying to decipher what I can personally gain from the use of Pinterest that I can’t gain from any of the social media sites I’m already active in. As unique visitors to continues to increase, 429% from September to December 2011, it becomes more apparent that I need to become more acclimated with this new form of online communication.

Although on a personal level I’m still feeling out how I can use Pinterest to its fullest potential, I can see the vast branding advantages for companies. Pinterest is gradually becoming one of the top social media sites for referrals having beaten out Twitter in February with a 1.05% referral rate,which was a 23% increase month-over-month. This is a big opportunity for companies to be active on Pinterest and generate engaging content as ‘pins’ will drive relevant traffic to their brand’s website. Successful brands are posting not only their products but pictures and videos that are entertaining and thought provoking. Some have begun to incorporate corporate social responsibility aspects, like recycled or reused products to encourage their consumers to be environmentally conscientious. Regardless if the purpose is to increase revenue or create consumer interaction, Pinterest is definitely of interest for branding purposes and audience development.

As I continue to research and use Pinterest I’d love to get feedback on what people think of it and how they are using it. How do you like it as a user and what do you think of brands’ use of the site? Do you feel like this is a great addition to other social media networks or do you feel the features are already available within other outlets?

Follow me on Pinterest!

More interesting articles to help you in your endeavor to care more about Pinterest:

Push Pin Photo via Shutterstock

Posted in Communications | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off