Moms Around the World Say Advertisers Miss the Mark on Realistically Portraying their lives, According to New BabyCenter® Research

Moms Around the World Say Advertisers Miss the Mark on Realistically Portraying their lives, According to New BabyCenter® Research

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Laura Goldberg – [email protected]
Laurie Jakobsen – [email protected]


“Authenticity Trumps Aspiration”:

70% of Moms Surveyed Say Their Favorite Brands “Understand What It’s Like to Be a Mom”

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (April 25, 2016) – BabyCenter’s latest 21st Century Mom® Insights Series study, “Mind the Gap: The Disconnect Between Moms and Marketers,” reveals the huge divide between how moms perceive themselves and how they feel they are portrayed by marketers – and shows that the difference is felt across the globe. Only 16% of the expectant and new mothers surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, India, Germany, and Middle East feel that they are presented realistically in advertising.

Only 1 in 5 pregnant women feel that advertisers portray them realistically. As women progress from pregnancy to early motherhood, this feeling drops to just 15% – a 21% drop.

The implications for brands are tremendous. When asked about the qualities of their favorite brands, 7 in 10 moms surveyed agreed that the description “Is a brand that understands what it’s like to be a mom” was somewhat or very important to them. With 85% of the women surveyed saying they have changed their purchasing criteria since becoming a mom, brands may be turning off potential new customers by presenting what one mom called an “airbrushed” image of motherhood.

“We received a resounding message from moms across the globe: Brands don’t understand them,” said Julie Michaelson, Head of Global Sales, BabyCenter. “Moms don’t identify with the idyllic portrayals of pregnancy and early motherhood, and so they don’t trust advertising that does not reflect the reality of, say, a screaming baby at feeding time. Authenticity trumps aspiration. Mom wants marketers to embrace what we call the ‘real motherhood’ – warts and all – and they reward their favorite products with strong loyalty and are vocal in their support.”

Drilling in to exactly how pregnant women and new moms perceive themselves and how they feel they are portrayed in advertising, our site looked at specific terms:

For Pregnant Women

AttributeDescribe YourselfBrand Portrayal

For New Moms

AttributeDescribe YourselfBrand Portrayal

This gap was generally consistent across the countries surveyed, but there were some regional differences. In Canada, India, the UK, and the US, a third of respondents said they perceive themselves as “anxious.” Comparatively, more than half of Brazilian moms felt the same, with only 18% saying that this reality was effectively portrayed in advertising. Discussions among 7,000 Brazilian moms within Talk Tracker, BabyCenter’s proprietary social listening tool, revealed that their higher level of anxiety is likely due to increasing concerns about the Zika virus. For example, one mom in Brazil noted that “I’m terrified of the Zika virus, and doing research, I learned about other viruses and infections that can harm my baby.”

The upside for brands that successfully connect with today’s new generation of moms is huge, in both brand loyalty and advocacy. When asked, “Which actions do you typically take if you find a product you love?,” 3 in 5 moms in the surveyed markets said they bring it up in conversations, and 4 in 5 said that they will purchase it again. our site discovered some differences between countries. For example, in Canada, moms are likely to sign up for rewards or newsletters (55%), while in the US, almost half (46%) leave online reviews if they love a product. In Brazil, moms will follow brands they love on social media (41%), while in India, they text their friends about it (42%).

The complete study can be downloaded here.


This study included qualitative and quantitative research conducted by BabyCenter. The in-depth survey was responded by 4,811 new and expecting moms (with children newborn to 5 years old) who were sourced through our proprietary 21st Century Mom panel and websites in 7 different regions: Brazil, Canada, India, Germany, Middle East, United Kingdom, and United States. The qualitative interviews were conducted over the phone in the UK and Canada, and through in-house friendship groups in the US, to reveal even deeper insights. Trends around specific topics in some countries were also uncovered using BabyCenter’s Talk Tracker, a social listening tool.


About BabyCenter® LLC

BabyCenter is the world’s partner in parenting. The #1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination, our site reaches more than 45 million parents a month from every corner of the globe through its 11 owned and operated properties in 9 different languages. In the United States, 8 in 10 new and expectant moms online use our site each month. our site provides parents with trusted information, advice from peers, and support that’s Remarkably Right® at every stage of their child’s development. Products include websites, mobile apps, online communities, email series, social programs, print publications, and public health initiatives. our site also leverages its industry-leading audience engagement to provide unparalleled insights and innovative marketing solutions to the world’s top brands, retailers, and institutions. our site is also committed to improving maternal health globally, and, through its Mission Motherhood™ campaign, works closely with nonprofits, NGOs, and governments to help make motherhood safer for all women. our site LLC is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. Visit our site on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn or follow @our site and @MomInsights on Twitter.

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