Archive for February 2009

Kids Today Conference

February 27, 2009

 

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Kids Today conference in San Antonio, on how companies in the children’s home furnishings industry can – and should – work with mommy bloggers to market products. There was, happily, clear interest in the topic, meaning these manufacturers and retailers alike understand the influence bloggers have on the community of moms. Thank you to Kids Today magazine for the invitation and to members of the audience for your feedback.

 

Marketers, what have you learned in your dealings with mom bloggers – what experiences would you like to share?

 

Mom bloggers, what would you like marketers to know about the dos and don’ts of working with you most effectively?

Wonder Woman!

February 19, 2009
Stephanie Azzarone (left) with Women In Toys president, Patti Becker

Stephanie Azzarone (left) with Women In Toys president, Patti Becker

 

Earlier this week, I was honored to be named the winner of the Wonder Women of Toys Award, in the Consultant category – and I’d like to share the good news along with a big thank you to all the judges. The awards are sponsored by Women in Toys, a professional networking organization for women working within the toy, entertainment and licensing industries. The award was presented at the organization’s 5th Annual Wonder Women of Toys Dinner this week at the Penn Club in New York City. I was delighted to be in the company of other women who are recognized leaders in their fields, including Sharon John, Hasbro (Manufacturer), Laura Phillips, Wal-Mart (Retailer), Leigh Anne Brodsky, Nick and Viacom Consumer Products (Licensor) and Carlin West, 4Kids Entertainment (Licensing Agent).

 

Child’s Play Communications, which specializes in publicity and marketing communications for products targeted to moms, has represented dozens of toy manufacturers and licensing and entertainment companies, including Hasbro, Gund, K’NEX, Spinmaster, Play Along, a division of JAKKS-Pacific, Elmer’s Products, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, National Geographic Kids Entertainment and Kidz Bop.

 

For more information, please visit: http://childsplaypr.com/news/news_details.cfm?ID=15

 

Designer Babies

February 14, 2009

 

Is the era of the custom-made kid upon us?

 

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a Los Angeles fertility clinic claims it is on the verge of enabling parents-to-be not only to select the sex of their child but also to choose traits such as eye color, hair color and complexion.

 

The capability, according to the clinic, is based on a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD. The procedure has been in place since the 1990s to allow parents to avoid passing on life-threatening diseases to their children. The process: A 3-day old embryo is tested for a particular genetic disease and only embryos without that disease are implanted in a mother’s womb. The same technique may now be able to screen embryos for other physical traits – i.e., for cosmetic characteristics rather than medical concerns.

 

A recent New York University School of Medicine survey of nearly 1,000 people who sought genetic counseling found that a majority supported prenatal genetic testing for the elimination of certain serious diseases.  However, about 10% said they would want genetic testing for athletic ability, another 10% for improved height, and nearly 13% for superior intelligence.

 

Aryan Nation, here we come. I can’t decide whether I’m watching the History Channel or the Sci-Fi network.

 

Is choosing a child’s physical characteristics unethical – or is it merely the natural next step in a land where beauty (and cosmetic surgery) rules?

Daddy Dearest

February 9, 2009

 

Last week’s post talked about dads who don’t do their fair share of parenting. All that may change – may have to change — as more fathers find themselves at home because they’ve lost their jobs. With the January unemployment rate for men hitting 7.6%, couples not only have to deal with the psychological stress of a lay off, but may also have to reinvent the parenting paradigm.  A potential seismic shift awaits as a family’s tradition clashes with new needs and expectations.

Will men get as involved in parenting as mothers historically have, and, if so, how will dads feel about their new role — and how will moms react to giving up control? Are there certain components of parenting that dads will gladly adopt while ignoring others?  Will the family dynamic be altered forever? And, from a business perspective, will companies who have always targeted moms now include dads in their marketing?

What do you foresee happening as the employment crisis deepens?

Delinquent Dads

February 2, 2009

 

So much for the revolution. When it comes to dads sharing the parenting role with moms, according to a new study, the man in the family is just not pulling his weight. The result: supremely ticked off mothers.

 

That’s the conclusion of a survey of 1,000 moms by Parenting magazine, with results appearing late last week on parenting.com.

According to the article, “We love our husbands — but we’re mad that we spend more mental energy on the details of parenting. We’re mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs. We’re mad that these guys, who can manage businesses or keep track of thousands of pieces of sports trivia, can be clueless when it comes to what our kids are eating and what supplies they need for school. And more than anything else, we’re mad that they get more time to themselves than we do.”

Some specifics:

•46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more. About half describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it’s “deep and long-lasting.”

•44% are annoyed that fathers often don’t notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids.

•40% are peeved that their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids.

•40% are mad that Dad can’t multitask.

•33% say their husbands aren’t shouldering equal responsibility and are less concerned than moms are about their children’s basic needs, like nutrition and clothing.

•Nearly one third of moms complain that parenthood has changed their lives more than their husbands’.

•31% say their husbands don’t help with the chores — in fact, they generate more.

The more kids moms have, the more intense their negative feelings.

Moms responding to the survey express annoyance that dads repeatedly forget to do simple or essential tasks — like keeping an eye on the kids while mom cooks or remembering to put the children’s mittens on. They resent that dads don’t help get the kids off to school in the morning, or that they leave their own dirty dishes in the sink even though the dishwasher is empty. To many moms, dads seem incapable of multitasking, while moms regularly handle several different projects at once. Moms dislike constantly being the ones responsible for all the daily details of family life, from making sure to buy fresh vegetables for the kids to getting the car repaired.  And most of all, they hate that dad seems able to find time for himself. The lack of time off is a major issue, especially for  moms with the most anger. Over 60 percent of the moms who get mad weekly — and almost three-quarters of those who are angry every day — feel this way.

For more details on the study, visit www.parenting.com.