THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Can you still market to the nuclear, two-parent family?

After 41 years, Oxo is ditching its use of the nuclear family image from its TV adverts

After 41 years, Oxo is ditching its use of the nuclear family image

from its TV adverts

HARRY MACAUSLAN, J Walter Thompson

’No, it looks a bit trite, obsolete and cliched. Adverts should be

abrupt and intrusive because you have to keep them fresh. Happy smiling

moms dishing up food in the kitchen, tired looking dads coming home from

work and cheerful children no longer reflect today’s family. There is a

perception that family life has changed whether it actually has or not

A family nowadays is as likely to include two gay dads and marketing

needs to reflect these changes.’


’It is not that families have changed, but that our perception of them

has. People want to buy into the comforting myth of a nuclear family but

it is an advertising myth that has never really existed. The illusions

of marketing have been shattered by changes in the workplace and the

realisation that consumers are complicated beasts. I suspect Oxo’s

decision is more to do with changing dietary habits.’

TOM BLACKETT, Interbrand Newell and Sorrell

’The reason the time-honoured theme is being dropped is nothing to do

with whether families eat together - the world’s most famous family, the

Simpsons, eats together in just about every episode. It is more to do

with the fact that the poor old cube is no longer a vital meal

ingredient and sales are not what they were. The company has tried to

diversify the flavours but there is only so much you can do; the world

has moved on and the cube is looking dated.’

DAVID FULLER, The Red Consultancy

’Despite the tide of statistical evidence which suggests it’s positively

unfashionable, for certain products it makes commercial sense to target

and identify with the nuclear unit. The family invariably uses the same

brand of toothpaste, the same washing powder and the same loaf of bread.

If we’re tempted to persistently segment audiences, a product for the

majority could soon end up as a product for the minority.’

DAVID BRAIN, Burson-Marsteller

’The nuclear family has had its day. The market is more fragmented

today. Families still eat together, but in different ways: they eat out,

use pre-packed meals, kids eat on the way home from school. You can

reach the ’classic mom’ through women’s media, daughters through teen

press and sons through the lads’ press.’

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