Brands are shifting away from aspirational messages with an idealized vision of family and instead infusing campaigns with moments of realism—showing moms who curse, a dad who accidentally destroys a bouncy castle, parents who forget things—because that’s exactly what millennials want to see from brands, reports Adweek, which added, in part, that according to “exclusive research from BabyCenter, 66 percent of millennial moms say it’s important for brands to realistically portray parenting.

““There was a generation for whom aspiration work was right,” said Elizabeth Paul, vp and group planning director at MullenLowe. “But millennials are more savvy, [have] higher expectations and a stronger bullshit monitor.”

“In early July, American Greetings released a 90-second spot, “Not Alone,” from MullenLowe in Boston. The ad was timed to National Parents Day and followed a couple struggling with infertility. The story, based on a real-life couple, isn’t what you might expect to see on that day from American Greetings, but “through consumer testing,” the brand and agency “learned this story resonated as authentic and relatable,” explained Paul.

““Real life presents a range of experiences that don’t always fall on a calendar holiday or fit in a perfect box, but they are totally deserving—sometimes even more so than set occasions—of acknowledgement,” said American Greetings’ CMO Alex Ho in an interview with Adweek. “Infertility is one such experience.”

“Babies R Us also retooled its messaging in July to attract millennial parents with the help of agency BBDO. The new tagline, “Be prepared-ish,” speaks to the impossibility that parents can be prepared for everything.

““Millennial parents, more than any other parent, were very vocal about us being real, us being honest and us being raw,” said Babies R Us CMO Carla Hassan. “The vulnerability that we’re bringing in the language that we’re using—this notion of, you’re going to forget things, and that’s OK. You’re going to make a mess; that’s OK. You’re going to be scared of leaving the hospital; that’s OK—[came from] the idea that they just wanted us to be much more raw.””

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