Marketers seeking to celebrate diverse families have focused a lot lately on same-sex parents and interracial parents. But there's another type of family that's much more common, yet rarely named in advertising—divorced and remarried parents and their stepchildren.
More than 40 percent of Americans are part of a so-called "blended family," with one in three U.S weddings today creating a stepfamily, according to Honey Maid. Yet divorce is rarely mentioned in ads, beyond those from divorce lawyers.
And why would it be mentioned? Unlike same-sex and interracial couples, divorced couples result from an objective breakdown of family. Yet Honey Maid, which has been saluting the changing face of American families all year, sees that as little reason to ostracize them—indeed, quite the opposite. (Everyone buys graham crackers, divorced or not.)
In this two-minute spot from Droga5 (breaking Monday as a :30 on TV), the brand salutes two blended families—who share a son—for being as loving as any other.
"Sometimes it's hard to explain our family to people. I have two moms, and I've got two dads," the little boy says at the beginning. The ad, shot like a mini documentary, then goes on to interview the parents, who explain—with quiet pride—how they made the transition as smooth as possible for the kids.
It's nicely made, and pointedly includes a scene of the family praying together before dinner. (Divorce isn't just for heathens, after all.) And it obliquely references an older, less-P.C. term for families of divorce—"broken homes"—in the hashtag, which is #NotBroken.
In some ways, this is actually a trickier topic than gay or interracial families. Objections to the latter are just bigotry, which is uncomplicatedly batted away by marketers. Divorce isn't as straightforward. While it's clearly heartwarming to see how well this family has fared, how will viewers react whose divorces didn't have quite as sunny an outcome? Will they be able to see themselves in this family?
In the end, of course, it's just advertising—i.e., obviously more aspirational than realistic. And as an idealized view of a situation that most parents—divorced or not—would probably admit is not ideal, it's skillfully presented. Overcoming adversity is always a popular ad theme; and a huge percentage of the population will relate to this particular adversity, if not necessarily the transcendence this family has found.
And anyway, for Honey Maid, the whole campaign seems to be working. Gary Osifchin, senior marketing director for the Mondelez brand, tells USA Today that sales jumped 7 percent in June and July, and Google searches for the name Honey Maid were up 400 percent.
Client: Mondelez International/Honey Maid
Senior Marketing Director, Wholesome Sweet: Gary Osifchin
Senior Brand Manager: Tracey Benitz
Senior Associate Brand Manager: Funbi Ibe
Agency: Droga5, New York
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director: Kevin Brady
Copywriter: Tara Lawall
Art Director: Devon Hong
Copywriter: Nicholas Bauman
Art Director: Sean Park
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
Senior Producer: Anders Hedberg
Interactive Producer: Benny Goldman
Brand Strategy Director: Matthew Springate
Communications Strategist: Will de Lannoy
Group Account Director: Jodi McLeod
Account Manager: Joan Wortmann
Associate Account Manager: Jasmine Moesel
Production Company: Über Content
Director: Eliot Rausch
DOP: Jackson Hunt
Executive Producer: Preston Lee
Producer: Sarah McMurray
Editorial: Cosmo Street
Editor: Stephen Mirrione
Assistant Editor: Mark Potter
Head of Production: Jaclyn Paris
Producers: Marie Mangahas, Anne Lai
Music: Sion Dey