One of the buzziest phrases bloggers and media outlets have latched onto in the last few years is “mommy wars.” You probably know it: the fight between moms about what stroller is best, what age to potty train, what the consequences of breast feeding versus formula are and, the granddaddy of them all, stay at home mom versus working mom. Each side in these battles has a set of strongly held, unwavering opinions, and anyone who disagrees is at best wrong and at worst harming their child.
That sense of competition has apparently seeped into adverting to moms. If the goal of these mommy wars is to prove once and for all who is the best mom with the best kids and the best life, then companies are offering plenty of ammunition for moms to one-up each other with.
Take the “Brag About It” commercials from Burlington Coat Factory. They feature lots of different subjects finding deals on clothes, but there is a certain level of competition, not just deal finding, in the ads featuring moms.
Both of those ads show off the “smarter” mom who knew to shop at Burlington and not waste money. Even their tagline, “Brag About It,” suggests the importance of moms showing off their superior smarts.
This Pediasure commercial takes it to another level still:
One mom has been feeding her children Pediasure, and they are excelling at sports, while the other mom has been giving her kids junk food, and they are struggling. The moms appear differently, with the Pediasure mom looking put together and pretty and the junk food mom looking slopping in sweatpants and undone hair. The Pediasure mom even gives the other mom a condescending little pat on the shoulder as if to say, “it’s okay, we can’t all be as good as I am.”
Even 5 Hour Energy, a company you don’t really associate with moms, has gotten in on the mix. Take this commercial for example:
After this mom drinks a 5 Hour Energy drink she is able to cook, clean, take care of her kids, and do all the “supermom” tasks that seem to be expected of women today. At the end she says, “What will you do with your next five hours?” as if to actually say, “Can you be as good of a mom as I’m being?”
It’s certainly debatable if all this competition is a good thing. If moms are left feeling inadequate because they can’t keep up with an image constructed for them, that’s not good at all. But for now, advertisers seem to want to stick with the idea and convince anyone wondering:
Yes. The mom wars are still on.