5 Brands Successfully Marketing to Parents

February 12, 2019

By Joanna Valente


Parents are an important target audience for many brands, but the diversity within the segment can pose a challenge for even the savviest of marketers. Parenting comes in many forms: single parents, dual-income, heterosexual parents, LBGTQ+ parents, foster parents, just for starters. And yet, many companies only seem to market to only one demographic and lump parents together as married mothers and fathers, even though this type of family is not necessarily as common as it once was.

But what about single parents, for example? Only 18 percent of single parents, for instance, report being able to live comfortably, and 32 percent said they have little money remaining after covering life's necessities, according to a Pew study. According to research from the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of children living in families with two parents decreased from 88 to 69 percent between 1960 and 2016. During the same period, the percentage of kids living only with their moms almost tripled, from 8 to 23 percent, while the percentage of kids living just with their father rose from 1 to 4 percent. In addition, Pew also reported that 16 percent of children are living in what the Census Bureau terms "blended families," which is a household with a stepparent, stepsibling, or half-sibling.

Interestingly, according to a new study from HP Inc.,75 percent of Americans still identify the all-American family as white and heterosexual with children, while only 25 percent of American families actually match that portrait. Meanwhile GLAAD estimated that "more than 10 million people have one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) parents."

"One thing we have seen is that with one income in the house, parents are looking for savings and offers to help them be more thrifty," Jay Loeffler, SVP of national accounts at SKUlocal, a division of the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Valpak, stated in an interview with ANA Magazine.

Sofiya Deva, VP of marketing at Zen Media, a global marketing firm, also stressed the need for marketers to acknowledge more diverse parenting in marketing, so as not to lose entire segments and demographics (and meet the needs of real people), stating "as family dynamics and composition are quickly changing in the United States, marketing needs to catch up and reflect society as it is. Research shows that one in 10 children lives with a grandparent in the house, interracial or blended families are becoming the majority, and some children have same-sex parents. Showing these real family situations is key to reaching them as a market."


Goya Foods

Goya Foods wanted to promote inclusivity, largely focusing on helping Hispanic families striving to raise their children with a blend of both Hispanic and American culinary tastes. In a 2018 campaign "Growing Up with More Than One Flavor," the campaign's target audience was Hispanic parents who live in the U.S. and who had an interest in teaching their children about their cultural roots, and also encourage other people of non-Hispanic backgrounds to be more inclusive of their culinary choices.

Goya strove to position itself as an ally to families, providing the variety of ingredients that allow Hispanic families to explore both traditional and non-traditional recipes, thus enabling their children to grow up with more than one preferred "flavor" while also promoting the idea that cultural diversity and traditions are something to be proud of, not hide.



For the 10-year anniversary of P&G's "My Black is Beautiful" program, the brand wanted to expand its message beyond beauty and self-acceptance, and address racial bias in America. It created a video entitled "The Talk," about the conversation Black parents have with their children about prejudice, especially with self-esteem and appearance. The campaign increased the program's relevance among its target audience, but delivered an inclusive message all consumers need to hear.

The "My Black is Beautiful" program consists of nearly three million women. Its primary target was African-American mothers, and the program served as a way to encourage cross-cultural conversations across communities. The campaign spread awareness about beauty standards and how a lack of diversity can affect the ways people view themselves and others.

My Black is Beautiful/YouTube


The Wonderful Company

The Wonderful Company, currently one of the most successful food and beverage companies, wants people to live better lives. The company focused its strategy on being a consumer-first brand to connect with consumers in personal ways as our current use of technology can be overwhelming, as it is constantly changing how people consume food. The Wonderful Company wanted to change how parents with young kids eat for the better by introducing snack options that are healthy and affordable.

By strategizing seasonal marketing campaigns and in-store grocery exhibits, the brand increased household penetration, purchase frequency, and consumer love and loyalty of all families of diverse backgrounds. Their simple mission, to eat healthier, is universal for all.

The company's campaign "Grove of Goodness" reached children across the country through its use of cuteness, but a new custom television commercial targeted older adult snackers to broaden reach. In 2018, The Wonderful Company launched produce's biggest-ever point of sale display program in over 10,000 stores nationally — and promoting healthy eating for families of all kinds is a good reason.

The Shelby Report/YouTube


Wyeth Nutrition

To understand the parents the company serves, Wyeth Nutrition developed a data-driven strategy to and improve its message relevancy to parents of young children. The company, which develops premium-quality nutritional products scientifically designed to meet the needs of infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating mothers, wanted to find a way to identify different segments based on their unique digital habits. To do this, the company worked with Google to identify different groups and their needs.

After launching the data initiative in 2016, the brand successfully identified 198,000 pregnant moms and 272,000 moms. The use of data and segmentation also significantly improved the cost efficiency of Wyeth's media strategies: the cost per click lowered by over 30 percent, the cost per view of videos lowered by 50 percent, and the bounce rate on the brand's landing pages lowered by 20 percent. Best of all, Wyeth now has the capability to efficiently move consumers along a more personal consumer journey that meets their unique needs.

Promil Nurture the Gift/YouTube


Robin Hicks/YouTube



Creating a home that is not just a place to live, but a place that invites warmth, support, and comfort is necessary for all families. However, it's not an easy thing to do, especially when time and money are scarce. For parents with young children who are also looking for ways to bond, French DIY brand Castorama, known for decoration and home furnishings, created an activity that inspires home décor and storytelling.

Castorama realized that bedtime is one of few times of day parents and children spend together. To help parents make the most of this time, Castorama's created "The Magic Wallpaper," an accessible, fun, and innovative way for parents to tell stories to children, and was the first wallpaper to inspire innumerable adventures for kids ages 3 and up. For busy parents, single or not, bedtime can be one of the only times they get to spend with their kids; nearly 13 million French people were targeted and the experience was available online before it became available in stores.


Another campaign, "Building Stories," also speaks to parents of older kids and how merging memories and design can help create powerful bonding moments:

Esteban Dido/YouTube

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