I've been inundated with free magazines and brochures on all sorts of baby products recently and they all have the standard “when you want the best for your baby” type slogans and feature a good looking, upper middle class, white mum in her early 30s. Apart from being a massive stereotype they've done their job well, since their target market is in fact, good looking, upper middle class, white mums in their early 30s. I'm not so daft that I believe everything I'm told though, and just because a company tells me their product is “closer to nature” than the next doesn't mean it is, so I'm going to look at the ingredients list and decide for myself (I knew my units on cosmetic chemistry would come in handy one day - I know what all those big words are!). And I know that just because the baby in your ad is cute and smiling when you use “Super Fantastic Nappies” doesn't mean mine isn't going to scream down the house sometimes when I use them – but that's OK, you can gloss over some of those minor details, make it look pretty - thats advertising after all.
There is one ad though, that whenever I see it I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's for the Steelcraft Strider Plus pram and whilst I'm sure it is a fantastic contraption, the ad features a tall, leggy model dressed in crisp white trousers, black high heels, funky necklaces and not looking a day over 25. I have a few problems believing this is an accurate depiction of a mother;
- those blindingly white pants should have some baby spew or at least a bit of smooshed banana on them
- accessories and high heels are not the first things I think of when I hear the word mother – I'm more likely to think (and wear) jeans and ballet flats. If those flats happen to match my shirt then all the better. The necklace should have some crusted up baby slobber on it too
- this pram is $700 before you even buy the infant carrier section – if you can afford such an expensive pram and your under 25 I want to know what line of work you are in, and can you get me an interview?
- but the absolute kicker? THERE IS NO BABY IN THE PRAM!
Are you sure that's not the friend of the mum just minding the pram while she puts bub in the car? Yes I know, I'm stereotyping too. I'm sure a mother can be glamorous and look like a model – I've seen the pictures of Heidi Klum strutting her stuff down the Victoria's Secret catwalk mere weeks after popping out her fourth – so I know it is possible. Do people really think if they buy this pram they will look like this highly starched goddess?
I'd much prefer the ad campaign to show a normal looking mum (you can still make her good looking, upper middle class woman in her early 30s if you must – I'll let you keep that for now), taking a real child on a shopping trip. Show me how useful this contraption is going to be - how much of my shopping can fit underneath? Can I fold it down and put it in the boot one handed because I'm busy holding a screaming toddler in the other arm? That goes for the harness too - can I do it up with one hand whilst stopping the trolley rolling away and causing car-mageddon? And most importantly, how effectively will it push people out of the way at the January sales?