Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome to Stepford

Sometimes, I'm sad that marketer basically ignore fathers as people who play a key role in family life (and purchasing decisions). And, sometimes, I'm thrilled that men are spared unspeakably silly marketing designed to make household chores seem hip or fun or special. (If Free to Be You and Me has failed in any way, it's that we must still suffer through ads for "detergent or soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach.")

This week -- via an ad on parenthacks --I learned about Samsung's "Moms Like Me" social network. It's a plain-vanilla social network (there are plenty for dads, if you're interested), but the glue that supposedly holds this group together is ... wait for it ... "life, laundry and the pursuit of cleanliness." This is a social network that defines themselves around what laundry says a person. It is deeply, deeply frightening.

There is also the disturbing fact that this is a gendered effort, designed to be causally moms-only. This sexism would be more offensive if they were excluding guys from something potentially worthwhile, but I'm in no particularly rush to bust down the doors. (As an aside, the most active forum on the site is an extended discussion -- titled "Samsung really needs to get with the times with its sexist attitude" -- that was kicked off by a guy.)

Amazingly, the bizarre Samsung site means that LG takes second place is in the weird-and-sexist washer/drier marketing campaign contest. That effort comes with the tag line "A woman has needs. And right now, I need this wild cherry steam thing." Seriously.

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