Internet advertisers have it rough, no doubt about it. Theirs is practically the only medium where people actually manufacture methods to block their product. Not only that, but the entire Internet shifts and evolves constantly and advertisers are supposed to keep up with changing trends. It is a tough job, a near impossible task, and I give them a lot of slack. Sometimes they do something at even baffles ME, though. Right now, it is the bizarre preoccupation with Moms.
I first started to realize the mom-ward shift of net advertising when I was browsing a website and saw an ad that said, “Mom saves 95% on an iPad.” Incredible savings (and I mean that literally. It isn’t credible) aside, what does mom have to do with it? As is typically the case, once I saw it once I saw it everywhere:
A mom in (insert your location here) makes $500 a day working from home.
Obama wants moms to go back to school.
A mom losses 45 lbs in two weeks using one simple secret.
I realize that there are more stay-at-home moms on the Internet now than ever before, but surely some of these things don’t need to be mom-specific. What do you gain by targeting moms? Do mothers think that they don’t count as regular people? Do they disregard things not addressed specifically to them? If so, that would explain why people think that women are bad drivers. “Hmm. It says stop… but it doesn’t say ‘moms, stop’ so I’ll just keep going.” They haven’t done this with the more traditional stereotypical Internet users. We haven’t seen “Overweight antisocial shut-in got rich with our special techniques.” So why moms, and why now?
Let us assume for a moment mothers have the ability to correctly identify that a generally useful service or product might be useful to them as well. Why else could advertisers be focusing on them? Maybe they think that, by indicating that a mom did it, they are suggesting that anyone can do it. That’s even more insulting, because it implies that the act of having a child somehow makes women capable of only the simplest, most basic tasks. “Holy cow! It says here a mom found a revolutionary new stain remover and got rich patenting it! I thought it would be hard, but a MOM did it! And they’re USELESS!” It doesn’t help that they always seem to show a crude CGI woman or silhouette dancing around in the ad, as though moms are like cats and needed to see motion to stay interested. “Is it good enough just to put a name and description of our product?” “No, no. These women have procreated. You know how their minds wander. Put some flashing lights and an animated gif. That’ll convince these breeders that the president wants them to go to college.”
Maybe I’m being too narrowminded. The advertisers might not think that moms are technically inept imbeciles that are one step above simians. They might be indicating that they are merely enormously busy, and thus that this product or service takes little time or saves lots of it. I’ll buy that. But there are plenty of other busy people. Hell, EVERYONE’s busy. And if the act of caring for a child is the only thing you are interested in, then why not mention dads? With the exception of breast feeding, moms and dads are capable of and equally responsible for all of the same aspects of childrearing. Yet I haven’t seen a single ad letting me know that “A dad In Jersey City sold his unused gold and made hundreds!!!!” No, for some reason Internet advertising is currently focusing exclusively upon those with a functional uterus.
Most of the time I introduce a topic like this I provide you with a handy, neat little answer, but not this time. Nope, this one has got me stumped. If any of you out there have any ideas, or if you are responsible for making one of these ads, I’m all ears. Is it perceived stupidity, a tight schedule, or simply fertility that makes moms such a key demographic for banner ads? Speak up! The world needs to know!