Ragu Hates Dads

I hate how companies, movies and society likes to pick on the dads of the world by portraying us as clueless parents who don’t know our way around parenting. It is one of the main reasons I started Digital Dads and why I’m proud of Cast of Dads.

As a marketer I’ve worked with companies big and small to advise them on how to properly use online media, how to reach out to influencers and how to be smart about content. After years of successful campaigns I know enough to be able to say what works and doesn’t work.

Combine these two aspects of my life and you can understand why I’m so pissed at the stupidity of Ragu and whoever their agency is.


I’ve never interacted with Ragu on Twitter before and honestly don’t buy their product. So when I got the above @ message from them linking to a video I wondered what it was. A quick look at their Twitter stream showed me that they had @ spammed a bunch of dads with a link to the same video. Here is the video:

As the person in my household who does all of the shopping and all of the cooking I took offense to this video. Implying that dads can only cook the simple things and Ragu is somehow going to help make that easier. Give me a break!

I’m sure there are plenty of couples out there where this might be true, but once again we have a brand who has decided to only focus on the mom side of the parenting equation and play into the stupid stereotypes that dads get pegged with all the time.

When will brands wake up to dads and the active role we play in our children’s lives. I’m sick of seeing every company that wants to have a parenting focus completely forget about the male side of the equation. I long for a brand to embrace fathers and really step up and cover both sides of parenting.

Ragu, you failed. You tried to be clever and you blew it. Whoever your agency is that told you this was a good idea should be fired because they are doing things for you that snake oil salesman are selling companies on every day and you’ve written the check for it. You should have known better. They should have served you better.

I’m sure Ragu doesn’t really hate dads, but after this video I can firmly say that there are plenty of dads who will hate Ragu. I certainly now do.

Update: If you are just reading this, I hope you’ll read my follow up giving advice on how it could have been done better and then my final post after Ragu called me.

  • 100% agree with you on this, C.C. I do a ton of cooking in my house. It’s not that my wife does not, but I just love to cook.

    Love to hear the follow up from Ragu (to you AND other dads), should there be any. 
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • The key statement here is IF they respond.

      They obviously are not monitoring twitter too much or are just ignoring it or talking to legal council about how to respond.

      Who knows…

      • Bob Goyetche

        before they start monitoring social media channels, they really should be worrying about how their product tastes – but that’s almost beside the point isn’t it?

        the target demo here is moms who feel dad is an idiot,  and would hurt the children if not for their pre-packaged goo.

        The real mistake here was @ ‘ing dads, it’s angry moms they are after.

      • EXACTLY!!!!

        I’m sure this video will play fine to moms who will get a kick out of it.
        The @ spamming of dads was their biggest mistake. Especially @ spamming me.
        OOOPS!

      • Bob Goyetche

        So, does the brand understand social media ?  No.

        Does their agency? No.

        Then why are they in this space?

      • BINGO! We have a winner!

      • Bob – I have to agree here.  I’m also a little flummoxed why we’re having such an impassioned debate over this.  I mean really, who cares?  Were you dads out there personally OFFENDED by this gaffe?  Did it ruin your day?  Or was this an attempt at self-branding by making noise…

        Aren’t there more important things to care about that a lame attempt at a video series?  Stereotypes are going to be perpetuated on all mediums.  Hell, most of prime time sitcom television operates this way, and we sit and enjoy that.  What’s the use in climbing a Twitter pedestal to shout at Ragu. Don’t buy their sauce. Call them lame to your friends. 

        One of the sad things emerging here is that folks on Twitter have developed this behavior of shouting at their friends when something goes “wrong”.  Comcast Cares handles this fluidly.  Packaged goods are sort of at the mercy of the mob.  Is that what we want to be, an angry mob?

  • Wow CC they did fail. I don’t do the shopping but I pick up the kids from after school care for the last 8 years and have been responsible for dinner.  Now I do get help from the menu planning and recipes that are set up for me by my wife.  But guess what brands that is what the modern family does now. They share parenting, cooking, laundry, lawn mowing, garbage take out, vacuuming dishes, diaper changes, up in the middle of the night with sick kids.  Parents chip in to make careers, kids, families work.  Thanks CC I appreciate the stance. Also I gotta start checking Digital Dads out more!

    • Yes, the days of dads not being involved are long gone and someday I hope and pray that the world will wake up to this.

  • Now that social media is a checkbox service offered by agencies and run by the junior associates at those agencies as part of a much larger campaign wherein which the only part of social that gets done is the pushing out of meaningless link spam, I’d like to offer that I think Ragu has no idea that you exist, let alone any sense of your cooking skills. 

    Their content, my friend, does not rule. 

    • I’m normally not a fan of long sentences, but that (Mr. Brogan), was brilliantly said.

    • You are SO right about that and that is what pains me so much because as someone who has run an agency and ran campaigns much better for this for a variety of brands I hate seeing companies waste their money.

      BUT, that being said at some point someone from the company had to approve of this video so they have some blame.

    • The fact that the agency hasn’t yet responded to this is proof enough.

      • Yeah, but it is after 5:00 so they are all home asleep.

        Last tweet was 8 hours ago as I type this. I’m betting around 10:05 (because there will have to be some meeting about how to respond *laugh*) I might hear something. If by the end of the day tomorrow there is no response then you know they are not listening which is what I’m expecting.

      • You have clients, I have clients, Scott in the post below has clients.  We ain’t sleepin.

      • Exactly!

      • Anonymous

        My expectation is that they aren’t listening.

        Tim

    • CB – we are speaking on this at BWE – I hope we can (finally) meet?

  • Wow. Just, wow. Whoever came up with this dumb ass campaign should be force fed ragu for a month. Lord knows I wouldnt feed their product to my kids if it was the only thing grocery stores sold.

    • Ha!!!

      Yeah it has always been the sauce of last resort for me and even then I’d remember that I have a whole store of other options and would skip it.
      Think you’ve got a sauce recipe to post on Digital Dads soon? *grin*

      • “When dad cooks, it’s dinner for breakfast. Sausages or waffles. Or – and this is only if he’s coming off a three-day bender – he might actually try to get the kids to eat some of that Ragu crap.”

  • CC – Couldn’t agree with you more. My wife and I share multiple duties and cooking is one of them. But, one of my “Dad” responsibilities is doing the grocery shopping. Well, needless to say, there will be no more Ragu “Garden Combination” purchased in this house. 

    What a huge swing and a miss from Ragu and their marketing cohorts. 

    • Exactly, I think more and more households are sharing responsibilities. Life is too hectic for one parent to do it all so we are seeing more and more of this.

      I might need to go and buy a bunch of Ragu though. I’ve got an idea for a video of my own. *evil grin*

  • Anonymous

    At first I was thinking maybe you were just extra sensitive because you are one of the few dads that does more of the shopping and cooking in your family, but then I asked my husband what he thought. He agreed that any kind of sweeping generalization like that is offensive. He isn’t responsible for most of the meals and shopping but steps in a lot where needed and does a pretty good job at it, and he is definitely a fully engaged, hands-on dad. As a mom blogger I see this as another case of brands following the money, which statistically is still mostly spent by moms, but I personally hate hearing women bash or mock their husbands ever. EVER. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it in the past but I’ve learned. So while I get the reasoning behind this video, I agree that they should have made something far better. 

    Frankly I suck as a cook and I love Ragu and will keep buying their sauce but this would deter me from working on any campaigns with them (which I have been pitched in the past, but for no compensation, which was offensive in and of itself.) 

    • Thanks for chiming in, but I disagree with you that I’m “one of the few dads that does more of the shopping and cooking” because I think there is a large and always growing segment of us out there.

      I know that this video was made by women (I finally found out who made it) for women and there is nothing wrong with that. Yes, I hate them for playing into the stereotypes, but for their market it was fine. But, then to turn around and @ spam dads thinking we’d get a kick out of it was just plain stupid.

      I’m just glad they gave me another example of how NOT to do it for all my talks around the globe. I’m sure that is just the type of PR they were hoping for. *grin*

      Dont’ even get me going on the compensation angle. That is a whole other pet peeve of mine. 🙂

      • Kristy

        I totally disagree with you, there. While I have found TONS of other commercials way more insulting to men — this was on the mild side, and the moms were mostly kind here — the fact that it was made by/for women doesn’t make it okay in and of itself. Why is it “fine” for “their market”? It’s not.

        Just as it wouldn’t be okay for a group of men to make a video disparaging women and say it’s okay bc it was only intended for men.This just feels like a poorly executed campaign with inconsistent messaging: like the videos were supposed to make fun of dads in the kitchen, but then supporting them, but then sending the message of “let’s mix it up” because women need a break, and somehow Ragu makes things easier. So…as a wife/mom, I DO or I DON’T want “Dad” in the kitchen? I can’t even tell. 

        So I agree this was a miss. I do not agree that it’s okay for any market. I find *that* insulting. 😉

      • You know what, the more I think about it the more I believe you are right.
        The whole thing about “having a cocktail while my husband is cooking” felt like a big slam to the parenting ability of these women, but then again I thought maybe they were just being playful and I didn’t want to judge them.
        TOTAL miss for sure.

      • Anonymous

        Oh yes, TOTALLY agree that spamming a bunch of dads with this on twitter was pure idiocy. “We think it’s playful mocking of dads, surely they must agree!” Primetime television and movies are chock full of dads who are the butt of jokes and totally unvalued for the sake of female camaraderie. That is NOT ok. 

        I do think the number of dads doing the shopping and cooking is rapidly rising, and that’s great, I’m ALL for it, but with all due respect I’d be willing to bet your idea of the size segment of the population that does is skewed. 

  • Good call, CC. As a guy who can and does cook, I’m offended. Anything that feeds into stereotypes offends me.

  • This is the second egregious agency error I’ve seen today (the first being a blatant disregard to Facebook’s contest rules – agency in question probably doesn’t even know they exist). I’m sick to death of agencies who, as Brogan says, offer social as a checkbox service and continually get it wrong.  How do we as social media professionals do a better job educating brands on what to look for in an agency, and how to protect themselves?  I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately, not sure what the answer is.

    Also, my husband does all the shopping and most of the cooking; he’s a stay-at-home dad and a damn great one at that. I hate Ragu but he buys it because it’s often on sale. From here on out – we’re done with them. 

    • It is a battle I’ve been fighting for as long as I’ve been in this space. Something about a slick presentation and firm handshake and brands sign on the dotted line without really knowing any better. Drives me nuts.

      Kudos to your husband. Being a stay at home parent is NOT an easy thing and I have nothing but respect for anyone who does it.

    • I’ve been thinking about this a lot here lately, too. And I agree with C.C. Chapman that most of the time it’s about a slick presentation and a firm handshake. But after seeing a few wrong marketing agency hires I think there’s another reason behind it. Most of the decision makers are not “plugged in” to the same channels as we are. As social media professionals we read the blogs, tweets, facebook posts, and g+ posts of other social media professionals, so we know if they are legit or not. Decision makers, however, often don’t read these same things and rely on the initial presentation and a show of wealth from the marketer to cement their decision. 
      Can we break through the wall that exists? I don’t know, but I suspect as our generation steps into more executive roles that might change. Just my thoughts on the matter.

  • I love sterotypes like this. I do most of the cooking in my house and we eat like kings. Ok kings on a coupon budget but non the less a king of sorts. The best part about this sad video is that this brand thinks  they can change their image with a few condescending recipe bones thrown our way. Sorry more often than not your product wasn’t purchased in the first place, and probably won’t be any time soon. I’ll stock up on other stuff just to make your sales seem less of a deal.

    Am I actually upset? No, not really. I deal with tons of women who think that men can’t cook, it has always been my joy to prove people wrong. Without generalizing the people who came up with this campaign too much, I’ll just choose to ignore it.

    • Well said.

      I’m more upset at the agency who convinced the brand this was a good idea. They are the real people who made the mistake.

      I do know one thing though. This has made me want to make a big Italian feast for the family tomorrow night.

      • You know what, same here. Now I have a hankering for some fine pasta and a good meat sauce, time to switch the defrost for tomorrow to something savory!

  • Wow. I’m just glad that Chef Boyardee isn’t alive to see this.

  • Adam

    Social media is a two edged sword and both sides are sharp.  Queue the inevitable uninspired corporate apology when this gets picked up in 3..2..1

    • I wonder if they will even notice or pay attention.

  • I’m with Chris that this doesn’t rule but I’m not sure it’s a call-to-arms for fathers to storm the gates of the jarred giant. (Armaspaggetton?) The moms on the video aren’t super likable but are merely discussing how their cooking techniques vary from their husbands.  I cook differently from my wife.

    I’m not affiliated with Ragu nor their agency but from the sheer numbers game, mom’s are still doing most of the cooking. I recognize that social media let’s us talk one-t0-one but many clients are still just dipping their feet into these “new” frontiers – typically with limited, experimental budgets. Producing a dadcentric piece may have been the right way to go but may not have been an option for any number of reasons. I’m sure there are things the agency wish they could change.

    Could be karmic retribution for Chef BOYardee?

    • Oh I’m not calling for anything like that and you’ll never hear anything about boycotting or any of that.

      I just think their agency blew it by calling attention to this in the dad market by @ spamming us. It makes zero sense to me.

  • Christy @morethanmommy

    Hmmm. I didn’t really think it was all that demeaning to dads. I thought it was geared more toward women. Among my friends, many have an attitude that their husband’s can’t cook (which the guys seem happy to play into). I thought the video was telling women to take a break and give dad a chance, which I honestly believe we need to do more of. For some reason, we’re raised to believe that we’re the ONLY ONES who can take care of our children, which is (as you all know) absurd. My hubby had less kid and domestic experience than I did, so I think he needed more encouragement and less meddling from me. Now he’s a fabulous parent. But if I hadn’t given him the space, he wouldn’t have done it on his own.

    Anyway,marketing teams are notorious for stereotyping us by gender. I mean, really, do I need a PINK hammer? And, yes, my daughter loves LEGO bricks (in regular colors) just as much as my son. Why do commercials still show a dad coming home from work to his wife and kids? Perhaps once women are no longer portrayed as shallow domestic beings with a penchant for shoes, men will no longer be the “provider” who can’t possibly take care of a child.

    • I hear what your saying, but I feel it is impossible to know if something is demeaning to someone unless you are that someone.

      I hate any type of stereotyping just like you laid out. I know and understand how marketing works, but there is absolutely no upside to sending this video to a bunch of dads when it is clearly made for the moms of the world as you called out.

      • But isn’t there always a ‘someone’?  Are we simply going to scream and yell at every single marketing campaign until every single one sucks and goes back to the 1950’s advertisements?  If anyone should be offended, it’s me… I’m a single father of two.  I’m not offended at all, though… they’re trying to drum up some attention and you’re giving it to them ;).  

      • I know, but I’m HOPING that they learn from this. I want to see them (and every brand) do better.

        Hell, as soon as I find a human on the other side I’m going to send them a copy of my book in the hopes that it helps them do better 🙂 We’ll see what happens.

  • Ed

    I’m a single dad of 3. I do the cooking.  
    1) Ragu would be slammed in the media if they “discussed women this way. 
    But the politically will be .  2) Spamming people on Twitter in the same exact pattern that porn spammers use, when you have a huge budget, is humiliating.3) I sold truck loads of Ragu 25 years ago. I will never buy it again, not even in a pinch. 

    • SO true isn’t it? And I know I’m going to get at least some comments saying I’m over reacting, but I’m speaking from the heart AND from a marketing perspective who hates to see stupidity like this.

      • Anonymous

        I’ll be honest. I don’t get the outrage. I watched the video with my husband and he didn’t find anything offensive about it either. In a straw poll of people I know, more women than men handle cooking duties in American homes.

        How exactly did they discuss dads in an offensive way? Can you give a specific quote or time where you felt degraded?

      • I hated it the moment I started watching it. Where they implied that when dad was cooking it meant simple things for dinner. The comment about it meaning the grill. Or the one about how it always means sausage or waffles.
        It implies to me that dads can’t cook and those that can need Ragu to come in and save the day with new recipes and to ME that offended me because it plays into the stereotypes that I hate.

      • Anonymous

        I hate the stereotype of the oafish male too. It does nothing to show little boys how they ought to act in the world and leads little girls to think men are tools to be manipulated. And you are right that this seems to be the last safe category to make fun of on TV.

        Can you not see though that in the vast majority of households, moms do most of the cooking and men still haven’t been raised or taught how to cook so that, when they are in the kitchen,  spaghetti, breakfast, or grilled food are the de facto choices? This one video couldn’t possibly address ALL the ways children are fed dinner. And I don’t really think anything in this video implies that dads aren’t involved parents, just that being in the kitchen isn’t the first choice for most of them.

        Of course, their tweets to you and other dads were incredibly tacky and I do find that offensive.

      • I’m sure that you are right that the majority of households are still that way, but I want to change that.

        I agree though that the approach was the biggest and tackiest part of it all.

  • The URL http://www.raguhatesdads.com is available…just saying.. 

  • Kristy

    I’ll try to state this clearer than in my first comment. 

    The smirking, “Oh, Dads are so cute when they try to cook” angle wasn’t OVERT, but the video messaging definitely has an undertone of condescension towards dads. 

    Which isn’t okay. Don’t let the women who made it off the hook just because it might play well to women/moms. It certainly wouldn’t be okay in the reverse. Men/dads don’t get to make fun of women because it might play well with dudes. 

    • I agree with you fully and this is something I’ve talked about over and over with both brands AND with other guys.

      While it seems fine to do this in one direction it is certainly not ok to do in the other.

      THANK YOU for saying this.

      • Kristy Sammis

        P.S. I say this as one of the owner/founders of a women-run business that markets to women. 

      • Unfortunately, it’s still profitable.  Those “gee, men are so clueless! Especially when it comes to parenting!” commercials have been on the television as far back as I can remember. (Which is sadly, pretty far.)

        While some of us rail against the “stereotypical moron” image that ad agencies see no problem in perpetuating – the truth is that it’s still profitable.  If it weren’t? It would’ve died out a long time ago.  Instead, it’s more pervasive than ever on television and it’s seeped over into social media marketing.  But it’s a societal thing we need to overcome, not just a social media one.

      • Anonymous

        Lucretia I totally and completely agree with this, my husband remarks on it constantly. But then I go out with my girlfriends, as I did last night, and I hear tale after tale of how inept their husbands are at simple parenting tasks. I don’t chime in because I don’t believe it doing that (besides my husband rocks at parenting) but I can completely see WHY it plays well to so many women. It’s sad, if you ask me. 

      • Anonymous

        Kudos to you Sarah for not joining in the bashing. 

        If he is inept at something. Show him. Encourage him. Don’t take over and huff and puff because ‘he’s so stupid’ and then bash him to your friends. I can almost guarantee he’ll stop trying.

        We set our kids up for success when they are learning new stuff. Wonder why the rule is different for mates learning new things?

        My husband does all the laundry (for 19 years). Yep – he messes stuff up sometimes. I don’t complain. I either tell him what happened or I just chalk it up to – ‘hallelujah, the laundry is done’ 😉

        Sometimes he feeds our 4 stuff that’s not my fave. But they’re eating. They have a dad. He loves them. We’re blessed.

        If these women are married to such stupid men — I just wonder why they agreed to marry the ‘idiots’ in the first place.

        There has to be some accountability. Some partnership. Some grace.

      • My wife and I have always said that ANY relationship needs to be a partnership. It is the only way it really works in our mind.

      • Anonymous

        My wife and I both mess things up now and then, but like you say, it’s a partnership. We bring our children up together. We both cook, clean or do whatever we need to, to keep our family together.

    • Kristy, this makes me cringe on behalf of both dads *and* moms.  In fact, anyone who thinks that raising kids is about being PARENTS might see this as a reason to cross Ragu off their shopping list.  It’s been a long time since gender spelled out a specific role in parenting–for a number of ways and for a number or reasons.

  • I have a CPG client and the most recent stats I have heard is that 52% of Dads do the shopping. So, you can even argue strategy here not just tactic. 

    To dig even deeper into this most Mom research shows that Moms consider being Mom a “lifestyle” in which they do things that “fit them”, not define them as a Mom. Understanding and embracing the changing family needs to be at the forefront of their marketing strategy versus just embracing new channels to communicate.What is even stranger to me because it seems as though if you play into their generalization you can make the argument that Dad’s probably only cook spaghetti or pasta nights. Let’s face it, we have done it since dorm rooms and impressing college dates if you are a Dad like myself that does not have a huge recipe rolodex. When I cook it almost always is pasta night. 

    Just seems like the stars were aligned for Ragu to embrace Dads. 

    • Thanks for sharing that stat. Do you have any links to studies that back that up? I’d LOVE to read it since I’m always looking for this sort of information.

      • I want to say IRA stats but I may be wrong. The brand and vertical research guy mentioned it in a meeting so let me see what I can find.

      • Just found this for ya- http://adage.com/article/news/men-main-grocery-shoppers-complain-ads/148252/

      • Oh blech. Okay a) not all men are dads, b) “a study by Yahoo based on interviews last year of 2,400 U.S. men ages 18 to 64”? yeah, that’s a representative sample… of guys 18-64 who took surveys on Yahoo. *sigh*
        The shopper marketing folks have much better stats to work from – but then again, that’s their whole business.

      • Thank you. I appreciate it.

    • Where did you hear that stat Matt? I’d love to get a source on it. The most recent figures I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of them) still show CPG shopping at 76-78% controlled by moms.  Granted, there’s probably a lot of error in those as well – what defines a “mom” and what defines “controlled by” – but I’ve never heard such a high number for dads.  Although it’s interesting that both sets of stats leave out the single, child-free, or otherwise-identified people.  Does a retired grandparent who hasn’t had kids in the house to shop for in 20 years still qualify as a mom or dad?

  • I get offended when I’m out with my kids and people ask me if I’m babysitting.  Uh, no, I’m not babysitting, they’re my kids!  Having said that, this video didn’t bother me from that angle.  I found it a little boring, and I prefer Prego anyway, but it didn’t get me riled up.  It might just be that I don’t cook that often, so that particular stereotype may be accurate in my house.

    • Oh I hate that comment too. 

      Yeah, I’m not sure why it hit me so hard. I guess it was more of the lazy agency and their attempt to get traffic by @ spamming dads. That was stupid.

      • Anonymous

        Seems to me bad publicity’s working just as well for them.  They’re getting a lot of traction from the backlash from shocked..I say shocked…Dads.  As for me, I’ve been desensitized  by all too many out of touch marketing campaigns, I barely raised an eyebrow at this latest mangled mess.   

        Perhaps the Ragu marketing wizards are brilliant.  I can envision “the dad response” with Dads vying to be the spokesperson for the new role of Dads with Ragu being a staple product when it’s Dad in the kitchen.  

        Excuse me if I’m a bit cynical about the entire uproar.  Still, I”ll be on the look out for the “new” Dad campaign starring CC and the gang. 🙂

      • Well I can safely and publicly say that you won’t ever see me involved in a campaign from Ragu. It has never been a brand that I’m a fan of so that wouldn’t happen. Even before all of this.

    • I’m a single father of two and have been for over a decade since my kids were small.  Talk about shock and awe when I tell folks!

  • Anonymous

    Wow.  Very interesting.  Thanks for targeting this campaign for a post, CC.  I actually don’t find the video offensive at all, but like you commented, I find the execution on the agency side really…well, just stupid.  I can see how it might have sounded like a good idea to spam a bunch of “influential dad bloggers” when the hip agency folks were sitting around, giggling about their plans to “make a viral video”, but really….just not smart.  

    Poor strategy, poor job of influencer identification & targeting, poor agency work.  They actually missed a huge opportunity to bring in some dads who play a major role in the kitchen (like yourself) to create a series of fun, great content around the concept of”mom vs dad” in the kitchen.  That could have been a lot of fun and definitely would have gotten great response from the “dad bloggers” out there.   Big miss, Ragu (or Ragu’s agency).  

    I also think this is an example of an agency using traditional, old-line “demographic” thinking to create a mindless campaign based completely on silly stereotypes.  I have real problem when people try to apply demographics to the social space.  It doesn’t make any sense.  We are moving very quickly to a post-demographic age of marketing (http://traackr.com/blog/2010/07/are-we-entering-a-post-demographic-era/)…but obviously not fast enough.  

    Thanks for calling this one out…

    • SO many better ways to do this right?

      The consultant and marketing guy in me cringes just thinking about it.

  • What’s wrong with grilling, sausages and waffles? Those Dads sound amazing.

    • Ha! Yeah, I love making breakfast for dinner too since it is easy and fun.

      • I make a MEAN French Toast from bread I make from scratch!

    • And really, grilling waffles takes amazing skill. When I do it all the batter falls into the grill.

  • I agree with what you said in this post, however, when I watched that boring video, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. 

    • Back on point, though. I do the cooking in our house (i’m the dad) 90% of the time. Regardless, I get the joke coming toward me all the time, “Oh I bet you can’t wait to get home so your wife can make you a lovely dinner with these groceries you are buying.”

      Fortunately, I don’t have bigger problems to worry about, right guys?

  • Stefania

    What is wrong with the general premise of asking moms, “What’s it like when Dad is in the kitchen?” On the whole, the moms answered that dad being in the kitchen is a very positive thing.

    The question was not “Tell us–what does Dad like to cook?” or “How does Dad handle the meal planning, shopping, and cooking?” If those questions had been posed to moms instead of dads then I could see getting very upset, but this question was asking moms to reflect on what it’s like when their husbands cook and share that with viewers.

    I think that Ragu attempted to be leading, but these women (who I know personally and respect muchly) kept the tenor of the video positive and showed their social media skill by “not going there.” Frankly, it’s the women in the video who saved it from being a complete and total disaster.

    Now, titling the video “Dad Cooks Dinner” then not talking to a single dad? Dumb.  Twitter-spamming dads (or anyone, dad or no) and asking for their comments? Not the wisest move. And that’s where I would (continue to) direct my ire.

    • Oh, are the women in the video actual moms and bloggers? I had no idea. It doesn’t say who they are so I wasn’t sure.

      As with most campaigns I’ve seen they’d rather ask the mom what dad does in the parenting equation rather than asking the dad.

      Just look at the Ragu Ambassadors. They have one dad…..ONE! Grrr

    • Did they really not go there?

       What I got from it is, “sometimes I let my husband cook, which is ever so adorable, and I sit back with my glass of wine while watching the kids play but not actually interacting with them.”

      So either they did go there or it was a case of bad editing, in which case, I’d be kinda angry if I were in that video.

      • Stefania

        I really didn’t read it that way, but I think it’s because I know the women personally–I know not everyone viewing has that benefit.

      • Stefania

        And forgot to add that editing and the sad attempt to make this video into something that belittles dads–coupled with poor social media outreach–is very deserving of criticism.

  • There is no doubt that you are right. That the video is way off the mark and that it never should have seen the light of day. Even worse, it certainly never should have been targeted to dads. It’s an all around miss. But here is what I don’t get… I constantly see brand encouraged to try things in social. To take a chance. Although this is a clear miss, isn’t that what they did?

    Somehow, this was the idea that the liked, somehow an agency or the people at the brand fell in love with getting dads move involved in the kitchen (something I could use to do more of admittedly) and went about it in the completely wrong manner.I get telling them what they did, I get hoping that they learn from the experience, but isn’t something like going out and registering FURagu.com just far more likely to scare them and other brands away from social entirely rather than encourage them to learn from their missteps and do it right next time?

    • You know what, I believe in tough love.

      I love seeing experimentation, but if that is what this is (and I don’t think it is since they have a whole ambassador program, just did a weekend with the brand, etc) then they should also be listening which so far they clearly are not.

      Experimenting is great, but you must be smart about it.

      There is NOTHING smart about making a video like this that picks on dads and then reaching out to them in a shiny happy people manner to tell them about the video. That isn’t experimentation, that is stupidity.

      And registering the URL was more of a joke. I used the hashtag and was worried someone might actually register it and do something bad with it. I just used it as a redirect to this post. 

  • Oy.  Frankly I thought this lame attempt was as offensive to moms as it was to dads.  What? As soon as dad “helps” all mom can do is grab a cocktail or a glass of wine?  Gimme a break. From the “perfect” kitchens replete with “kiddie art” on the fridge to the politically correct assembly of “moms” this video and campaign is about as authentic as Joan River’s face (no offense, Joan, I think you’re a comic genius, albeit slightly “stretched,” if you know what I mean).

    Seriously, at this point can’t brands understand that parenting involves PARENTS.  The roles moms and dads play vary within every household as every household faces their own set of challenges – jobs, divorce, extended families, and on and on.  Ozzie and Harriet are long gone.  The stereotype should be that there are no stereotypes. Brands seeking to reach PARENTS should embrace the fact that today there are moms who are the breadwinner… there are dads who stay home and do the laundry.  There are relationships based on equality, sharing and doing whatever needs to get done to provide for your kids as best you can, regardless of what may be expected or accepted as “the norm.”  The only “norm” left today is on reruns of CHEERS!

    Thanks for giving RAGU the sauce, my friend!  

    • Sounds like a perfect topic for Cast of Dads now doesn’t it?

      I avoided asking the questions about how this video portrays moms because that was a whole can of other worms. 

      Parenting is done by whoever it is that is there to love and raise the children. Mom, Dad, one or two of each. Yet, everyone seems to forget that. Someday it’ll change. I just don’t know when and not soon enough for me.

      • Anonymous

        fave part was ‘while he’s cooking I’m passively interacting with my kids’ — ummm WOW, awesome parenting style 😉

        Better approach would be how dads are creatively using Ragu. Or how kids would use Ragu in recipes. But the parent vs parent approach is ick to the extreme.

        And yep – we don’t watch sitcoms because of how idiotic the dads are, how snarky the kids are and how controlling the moms are. It’s not a scenario we want to emulate.

        My husband works for me (he’s my CFO), he is a hands on parent 24/7, we make decisions together, he shops, I cook – it works. It’s not sitcom material because we respect each other.

        No one assigned him to me. I CHOSE him. And he deserves my respect in public forums. These moms? Wow.

        I’m glad Dads got mad. They should. (Us Moms should be too)

    • Did someone mention cocktails and wine? * LOL *

  • “Well a lot of times I’m drinking a cocktail or working on my computer.  Or sometimes, I’m interacting with the children…… sometimes…..”   WHAT THE…..

    Love the commentary stream throughout this entire post – raising so many good questions and insight into the amazingly myopic, shortsightedness of this campaign.   And it is a produce & push driven campaign and not a social engagement program.   

    Alas, one question still remains.   If Ragu is playing the Moms rule in the kitchen card, why would they conduct a SPAM driven ploy to known Dad bloggers?   Let alone with this ‘Dad tries but just can’t execute’ focused video content. 

    The collective team behind this campaign would have been better off watching Pixar’s Ratatouille than dipping too much into their own sauce.
    “What do I always say…..  Anyone can cook”    http://bit.ly/qM6zRo     

    By ostracising one group to court favour and attention with another is never good form.

    • Exactly, it makes no sense right?

      Then people like you and I look at it and shake our heads because we know if they were our clients we would have done something much better.

      Just makes zero sense to me.

    • And yet, if this was a video of men saying, “yeah, I lay on the couch with a brewski, while the kids play, but I just watch, I don’t play or anything,” there would be outrage.  Women would be talking about how overworked they were. It would be a totally different type of controversy if men were protrayed in this manner instead of women.

  • Derek Wilmot

    I have to agree with you on this C.C. this was just not smart.
    Who would approve this & then hit the send button to spampaign it out dads?
    Send them a copy of your book with an invoice. Sounds like they need help putting the fire out in their in their social media kitchen.

    • Oh I’m planning on putting a big red bow on a copy of my book and sending it to them. 🙂

  • I know (as someone who once worked for a company with this mentality) that most companies target their “family” marketing towards the mother. I’ve always thought this was wrong. But now, Ragu has taken this one step further. When will companies learn that today’s parents do not fit the stereotypes from the 1960s?
    Of course, the sad face of the matter is it’s not just the companies. There are women out there (like those in this video) who try to raise their own status in the family hierarchy by presenting themselves as better than Dads (or men in general). It’s just plain ridiculous. Each parent brings something unique to the family, and that uniqueness should be celebrated, not heckled.
    It is also clear from the above video that these women are jealous that they put so much time in the kitchen and their “man” can just whip something up and the kids are ecstatic. 
    Needless to say, I will be very surprised if this works.

    • Yeah, I figured the people in the video were just actresses of some sort so I don’t fault them for what they were told to say (we’ll blame the copywriter for that).

      Just hate seeing stereotypes play out AND then a badly done outreach. 

      • Anonymous

        Sadly no, I’m quite familiar with all three moms. This doesn’t really change my opinion of them b/c I know enough to know better, but I smell a vicious editor here, not a copywriter. 

      • Good point. I’ve got nothing against anyone involved with the Ragu brand. My complaint is directly with the brand and their agency. Thanks for clarifying this for me. I appreciate it.

  • You know, I will leave the company out of it, but sitting in on a dog-and-pony show in which a marketing VP explained that “moms are where the money is for us – so that’s where we put our advertising dollars” a few years back I was rather obnoxious and interrupted with “Excuse me – but can I ask whether you spend your money advertising to moms because they are your target market, or whether your percentage of customers is overwhelmingly moms because that’s where you spend your money?”

    I felt somewhat bad when he asked for clarification and I said that while I might be a mom, I knew that a number of my non-mom friends preferred their biggest competitor because they felt alienated by the lack of advertising that seemed to want their business whether single, childless, male, or other and that they had expressed feeling like the other company actually wanted them as customers too.   So I was wondering if they poured so much money into the ‘mom customer’ because that’s what they were shooting for or whether their lack of appeal to the non-moms might be due to their advertising approach.  No, they didn’t know.

    It’s tangential to the point though, C.C.  Which I think you’ve made quite well here.  In this case, the ‘helpful’ video presumes that Dads are helpless, hapless, and really just need saving.  If the same tack were taken toward Moms when it came to something the 1950’s traditionally viewed as non-feminine? There’d be a right riot over the sexism and insult.

    The truly insulting part though is that they link-spammed you on Twitter with this.  Take no prisoners.

    • p.s. I should edit this for clarity – but it’s midnight.  Not as eloquent as it could be. The TL;DR version “yeah… what C.C. said.”

      • Ha! Yeah I couldn’t sleep either and I love that I’m now up this morning before anyone from the brand or agency is. 

        I agree with what you said completely. 

  • Howard Scott

    Glad to see sexism in advertising is alive and well on both sides of the pond then.  It’s both offensive to men and women at the same time. And what’s the actual message saying? Men can’t cook,but women who use a sauce out of a jar can?

    You could forgive them their inabilit to understand the power of social media, they’re making the classic agency mistake of seeing it as simply a free alternative distribution channel they can extend the campaign out into rather than coming up with anything that does something well.

    But the content of the message, which is the basic principle we all need to get right regardless of how we want to engage with the audience, is what’s offensive here – not the mistakes in social and how they went out and targetted CC Chapman in grave error identifying him as a “dad influencer”.

    • Yeah, the copy sucks. They need a new writer 🙂

  • Sara at Saving For Someday

    Anyone nowadays can call themselves a social media consultant simply because they know what The Twitters and The Facebook are. Often brands now go to any one of the plethora of ‘social media mom’ experts who have gained their expertise by having a blog, tweeting and being a mom (and possibly having stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?)

    Brands are being bamboozled and hoodwinked by so-called experts. Did The Ragu Marketing Manager even authorize the tweets or was it part of an overall generic plan? You are assuming there was some brand person behind the tweets, when, as you know, it was probably some agency hack. Which makes it worse because someone outside the company is now controlling the brand message.

    In the history of marketing blunders this is nothing, but it is demonstrative of the bigger problem I see in brands outsourcing their social media to people who (1) don’t know any more about social media than just being on it and (2) will never understand the brand as much as those who work on it day to day. Social media is seen as just another media buy. Most of the ‘experts’ espouse that premise. In fact it is more than that and needs to be dealt with differently.

    I think your real problem has nothing to do with the video, rather your issue is with how the Ragu brand twitter account was used to lure you into watching it. Had you just happened on it you’d likely have said nothing. It was in being lured to a video with the predisposition that it would be engaging. Instead you were ambushed. Social media used to ambush people is a huge fail, just like being punk’d.

    • Exactly, my biggest problem is with the campaign.

      I ran my own agency. I sold it to a bigger agency. We ran campaigns that won awards and much more importantly delivered great results to the clients who were paying us.

      You are right that anyone can hang a shingle and sell their services, but more and more are doing horrible jobs like this.

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  • David Meerman Scott

    #FAIL  I wish that the camera had panned down a little. Maybe the “little women” in the video were “pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen.”

    Stereotypes don’t work. Women do play golf. Teenagers do like classical music. The damned financial firms need to realize that people without gray hair and who are not retired have money to invest. 

    • Exactly. 

      Then on top of it all this is just LAZY social work. Love that whoever tweets for them punched out and isn’t even back yet this morning when I’m back awake and so is everyone else.

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  • I’ve always despised the stereotype of men as bumbling idiots.  Mr. Ng is a better cook – and is much neater than I am – and as a mom who travels a lot for work I can do so with confidence. I don’t even leave lists behind. 

    I think this stereotype came about because many women (way back in the day) were trying to find their place.  There was a time when they might have felt  their place in the kitchen and perhaps claiming superiority there was there way of showing they were better than men at something? Not saying it was the right approach, but I can see why it would happen. However, it’s 2011 not 1950. Women have made it clear our place isn’t in the kitchen and I’m glad there’s a dad movement happening to show the stereotypes exist all around and dads are more skilled and hands on than many brands (and people)  want to give them credit for.

    • Amen!

    • Yes Deb –  and, as you well know, that is why @Blogworld is focusing on parents and dads in November!

  • I’m no mom (or dad), but this video portrays both the dads AND the moms in question as idiots.   Sure, it’s not fair to imply that men can only barbecue or make waffles, but I think it’s equally unwise for those women to disparage their husbands on video.  Doesn’t make either of them look very good, if you ask me.

  • Thanks for bringing my attention to this CC.  In our family, my wife and I both work, and are a team in every aspect of raising our kids, including the cooking.  I think this is more representative of  the traditional family today.

    The days of dads out working, moms home cooking and raising the kids are long over as the norm. I actually don’t know of a single family where this is the case.  I think it’s both funny and sad that brands seem to b the last ones to notice the shift.

  • @williamcmurray

    Aarrgghhh!!!! I can’t even compile an intelligent response to this right now. In our house, the kitchen is everyone’s domain and I love cooking, teaching my boys to cook, and creating fantatic meals. This video is just plain insulting.

  • Ken Wiesedeppe

    As another Dad who does ALL the cooking, I’m offended that the lazy/incompetent male cook stereotype is still being propagated. Might have been true a couple of generations ago, but is totally unfair today. So many Dads I know are really involved in their kids lives right from birth now.  It’s really disappointing to be shoved aside so society can point and laugh at the small minority of Dads who aren’t.

    Boo to Ragu!

  • I think someone told them content is king and they just need to start producing. Obviously they didn’t put much thought into putting it out there.

    • *laugh* Maybe I should send them a copy of my book to help them do it better next time.

  • Anonymous

    In feminism we have a term for this kind of thing: PHMT. Patriarchy Hurts Men Too.

    • I was hoping someone would mention this — thank you!

  • Hmm, my biggest complaint is it’s not funny- that is the biggest offense anyone can commit in a  campaign like this. I can’t really summon as much outrage on the “dads can cook too” platform, tho.

    They could have had a lot of fun bouncing the stereotype off the walls and making the brand fun, while at the same time giving some practical cooking advice (and this is leaving aside the quality of the product – high fructose corn syrup?- another issue entirely)

  • DadCAMP

    Amen bro, wrote the same thing a couple weeks back on YummyMummyClub as I railed against ManLand at Ikea and grocery store signs targeting Moms for back to school.

    http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/men-are-stereotyped-too

    • Anonymous

      just the name ManLand makes me mad, LOL

  • Short Order Dad

    CC, I’m impressed with your outrage, yet I’d like to offer another perspective as a former agency president AND trained cook who, like you, prepares all my family’s meals.

    Unilever is a giant, global food company, perhaps the biggest in the world. Obviously, they do many things well, e.g., Dove, Axe, etc. I would agree with you that this Ragu effort is not the best example of their marketing prowess, but I’m not nearly as offended by it as you are because I don’t believe their intent was to disparage dads as much as it was to “engage” their mom target in some halfhearted attempt at humor.

    You were particularly incensed that they reached out to you with a link, but again, I think that demonstrates their belief that it would not offend fathers. On the other hand, their thinking in this regard is incredibly shortsighted given the data-proven emergence of guys like us, who not only do the cooking, but who have become increasingly responsible for the shopping.

    Hate not, my friend, our time is coming.

    Rob “Short Order Dad’ Rosenthal

    P.S. My brisket recipe: http://huff.to/beautifulbrisket

    • Mmmmm…..brisket. Sorry, that was the one line that really caught my attention.

      Thanks for chiming in and you are correct.

  • Ragu is pretty gross anyway! Home made sauces are better than that garbage any day. (p.s. AS A DAD I am a pretty good pasta sauce maker Ragu!) -Craig @TheHipsterDad:twitter 

  • I was ready to say, “Oh, c’mon, CC, you’re overreacting!” But, sadly, you’re not. Ridonculous content (also coming from a Dad who does a lot of the cookin’).

  • I don’t see dads as being trivialized here. What is bad is that dads are a clear afterthought in this campaign and they thought by spamming a lot of you, all of you would care even when dads were not a part of the conversation to begin with. 

  • Greg Hollingsworth

    Well, everyone else has pretty much said everything, so I’m just going to agree and move along.

    For the record, I highly recommend Sorriso’s (www.sorrissossauce.com) if it’s available in your area (and you aren’t making your own). Great flavors and it’s gluten free (which is great since the wife is allergic).

    • Never heard of that sauce. Will have to check it out if I can find it.

  • DL

    Look at the product: Unhealthy, calorie-ridden, and horrible taste. What more would you expect?

  • So here’s something that would be fun:

    Dads who cook, post up your spaghetti sauce recipes, then put them together in a nice PDF for the FURagu.com site. However many recipes you get, call it X Reasons Not to Buy Ragu.

    Here’s mine, a clone off of Bertucci’s original sauce:

    http://www.christopherspenn.com/2007/11/bertuccis-pasta-sauce-a-culinary-mystery-solved/

    • Now there is a fun idea and a FUN recipe. THANK you for sharing both

  • Reminds me of a billboard for the Dodge Caravan I saw in the Seattle area when I lived there a number of years back. The tagline was, “Does more work than most husbands.”

    Stereotypes are nearly always used to disparage people with cheap shots. It’s immature, disrespectful, and just plain rude. It really isn’t that much harder to express an idea (or ad) in a manner that elevates people rather than denigrates.

  • They’re not actresses, they’re mom bloggers. At least one is: http://cutiebootycakes.blogspot.com/

    In any event, they should know better.

    • Anonymous

      All three are well known mom bloggers. 

  • Hi, I’m new to your blog, followed a tweet to this message. I’ll admit I read the comments before watching the video and I expecting a more overt…attack for lack of a better word, but I honestly find that ‘chat’ muddled and without a clear message. It may be because I was expecting more ‘slamming’ in the actual interviews instead of the whole premise being fairly ‘it’ll be cute to get dad to cook’ – which is not all right in ANY way.

    The purpose of this campaign baffles me. They didn’t tie to the product, they didn’t really promote dads cooking as s great thing for the whole family (which I’d assume might be a misguided focus? ), they didn’t talk about how the product would make it easier for getting meals to the table (again, seems it should be a message) I also didn’t find the tips particularly highlighted in the video clips, although they were patronizing in that they were directed at the moms. And why would this campaign not have been dads talking about how they use Ragu to feed their families? Cooking dads aren’t that unusual, they aren’t a side show, if the focus truly was about dads, they should have been interviewed.Disclosure – I do the dinner cooking most of the time in our family. We’re not a meal planning-type family and I’m just better at throwing together what ever is in the fridge. That being said, my husband rocks breakfast and lunch…and about 65% of the grocery shopping.

    • Yeah the video on it’s own isn’t THAT bad, but I still hate the stereotypes in it. 

      It is a pet peeve I’ve had forever and one of those sensitive topics that trips me out. We all have those little things and this is one of mine.

  • Anonymous

    I have seen many posts now indicating that Ragu isn’t aware of what is happening over here on CC’s blog.  I completely disagree.  They know, however, as Chris pointed out, they didn’t hire a true Social Brand agency, they hired a traditional PR firm, and, as such, they have absolutely no clue how to respond to this because there are no Social Media Disaster Plans in place.

    • I don’t know about that.

      Now that I know the agency behind all this it sort of bugs me even more because they were an agency that I thought knew better than this.

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  • As a 26-year old who is living with her boyfriend, in the midst of starting my own company, I will say this:

    1. I am so glad I’m not on staff at an agency that thinks this is awesome.
    2. I am so excited to get married and have babies so I can be all judgey-face like the mom with the husband who grills all the time.

    Not that I eat this crap anyway but now I’ll give a nasty glare to the display when I’m perusing the pasta aisle.

    • Your last sentence exactly echoes my feelings on the product and ad. *g*

    • Best of luck on the company and the pending marriage and babies 🙂

  • So much to say about this. First great post C.C. As a dad in advertising I am offended for both parties I represent. I agree with Sass, this is not only offensive to dads but moms as well. It is truly geting tiresome to see big brands continue to stereotype household roles. Have we not moved beyond this yet? I guess not. This campaign not only lacks creativity but also lacks legs. 

    Just because you throw the words “Be part of it. Be heard.” and have a facebook page, doesn’t mean that you have created a social program. Fail. 

    I am glad that the dads of the world can share their opinions and voice their issues. Ragu has turned back the clocks for dads, and this dad is not pleased. Since I not only share the cooking duties in my household, but also the shopping responsibilities I for one will not be adding Ragu  to my shopping cart. 

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree with you more on this. Personally, I couldn’t care less about this video because if I *were* going to use an off-the-shelf sauce, it certainly wouldn’t be Ragu. But usually I just make sauce from scratch, it only takes a few minutes and tastes so much more fresh. I usually have time anyway, while the HOMEMADE meatballs are cooking in the oven. That’s right, I’m the chef in our house.

    Do we really still need these insulting stereotypes that men can’t cook, don’t spend time with their kids, and don’t know how to parent? How do women feel when they are presented only as the “homemaker” or soccer mom, as if they can’t also make a contribution to the family other than by being a nanny?

    I agree that the agency that came up with this lame excuse for a marketing experiment needs to go back to the drawing board, and stop billing themselves as a “social media” agency. They obviously don’t get it.

  • I don’t get offended easily, as a dad or otherwise. But I’m still amazed that big brands are this clueless. Although, I guess they figure pissing CC off is better than being ignored completely. No, it actually doesn’t work that way… not all PR is good PR.

  • I’m a dad who does the majority of the cooking in our house.  Yes, there are times when my cooking is heating frozen meals because we’re strapped on time.  But there are other times when I “assemble” (to use the word one of the ladies in the video used) a meal from scratch.  For the record, I will use jarred sauce if I’m strapped for time, but I much prefer to make my own since I can control what goes into it.  (More veggies, different spices, less salt.)  I don’t use Ragu, however, so my continued non-use of their sauce probably won’t sting much.  (Neither me nor them.)

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a father of a child so I can’t relate from that aspect, but I really hate the Twitter spam from their account. Chris Brogan’s comment hit the nail on the head.

    Unfortunately, controversy gets people talking and psychologically can lead to people purchasing. It’s a known fact in advertising and marketing. While your post does stir the pot and bring a little bit of negative light to the campaign, the countless Moms out there who think like the Moms in this video will be happy to see Ragu lifting them up and they’ll go out and purchase their products. How do you fight that battle? 

    • If I had that answer I think I’d be a very rich man. 

      I had more than one person ask me why I even shined a light on this since in some ways it helped them.

      I shined the light because I genuinely want to see brands be smarter and do better in social media. 

  • Niri

    CC I say all of this an (unpaid) Ragu sauce ambassador. I do believe the brand genuinely cares – but as Chris Brogan mentions – I cannot vouch for what they are aware of in social media conversations. I cannot speak on behalf of what the agency understands or not. I will emphatically agree on the DAD point. I would not tolerate it if tables were turned so kudos that you spoke up on this. As a household that shares the belieft that promoting stereotypes harms us looking at each other equally.  Personally I consider it spam if someone who does not engage me sends me a link, not in conversation but in promoting. 

    • Thank you for chiming in. After I wrote this I discovered the whole ambassadors program through a tweet of yours and I wondered what the program was about and how some of you might react. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  • It seems many ads/socialmedia/digital-whatever efforts use stereotypes to sell their products. Whether it’s portraying dads as bumbling idiots or having a bunch of men in lab coats showing women how to clean a bathroom better, the vehicle doesn’t matter it’s the message that’s offensive. It appears that even though we have access to an amazing amount of data and insights on our consumers, we fall back into familiar patterns and themes for communicating our message. I guess it’s convenient?

    Thanks for sharing. It’ll be interesting to hear how/if Ragu responds.

  • Seems like a lot of angry folks around here. Who really cares? Why such a visceral reaction to this? Are they wearing baby seal coats stitched together in a child labor camp?

    It misses the mark and does nothing to establish the brand in my kitchen; however, I’m not in the least offended. It’s fluff.I’m a Dad that does most of our ‘fancy cooking,’ as my wife might call it. I cook on weekends for meals through the week — mostly everything from scratch. Last week I made a big vat of tasty pasta sauce from the good eats picked out of our urban garden. My 11 year old called it a 10/10 — high praise from a picky eater. I don’t long for brands to embrace me, my loved ones will take care of that.I’m not even sure how this can be described as trying to be clever. There’s no need to hate the incompetence, just walk away, and it will go away.

    • Yeah looking back I honestly didn’t think this would blow up the way it did. I’ve certainly moved on from the anger filled feelings I had when I wrote this and moved on to, I wonder if they actually learned anything or not.

  • Meh. I’m an occasional cook. And by that, I’m the “guy at the grill” they’ mentioned.

    But what Ragu thinks of me as a cook doesn’t register on my list of things I need to worry about.

    • Fair enough! And nothing wrong with grilling. Did up some great chicken thighs tonight for dinner.

      • C.C.  – I agree with your comment about the agency & their responsibility. Ragu makes sauce; their agency is supposed to create the emotion surrounding that sauce – to that point, they indeed failed.

        Maybe if they had appealed to the competitive nature of us grilling guys & “challenged” us to come up with something that complimented our meals, it would have touched another emotional response.

      • Now THERE is an awesome campaign idea. Wouldn’t it be great if they were listening?

  • And now I’m craving pasta for lunch. 😀

    I’m disappointed, but not surprised by this from Ragu. Too often these types of campaigns are developed and executed terribly.

    I’ve been reading Jason Falls’ and Erik Deckers’ No Bullshit Social Media. It’s a great book that more companies need to read. They recap some great fires that companies and the agencies who represent them created for themselves.

    I totally agree that it’s time to put an end to the dumb dad stereotype too. I’m interested to see how (if) Ragu responds to this great post C.C.

    • Well they finally got in touch with me and I’m talking with them tomorrow. I hope it goes well.

      Yes, the book is great for sure and I’m looking forward to finishing it.

      • I’m glad they followed up with you C.C. That’s the responsible way to handle it.
        I’m keen to hear *how* they follow up though.

        Thanks.

      • I’m glad to. If they hadn’t it would have really been a failing of them and their agency.

        I’m very much looking forward to the call.

      • Me too. Keep us posted man.

  • Wow, I know personally and love all three of those ladies. The whole thing is honestly  a little weird. I do have to say I wonder how much editing played a role in it. And for the record, @bugfrog:twitter cooks as much or more and better than I do.

    • NOW knowing that these are bloggers in the video changes my perspective a bit because I thought it was just horrible copy going on, but as people have pointed out they are in fact active bloggers.

      I’d love to sit down with them over drinks sometime and off the record and hear what they think of it all.

      Editing can be a pain! that is for sure.

  • These women drink a lot… or their husbands are never in the kitchen. My husband is the better cook. I’m like “hamburger helper” mom and he’s like “fancy-tasty pasta dish” dad. 

  • Ok knowing that I might get slammed as the conversation here pretty much let’s you know this could be an unpopular comment.

    “Me thinks thou dost protest too much.”

    Having had a husband and father who got in the kitchen, he did it out of competition, not out of skill chuckle.  Is that diminishing to him, nope it is honest.

    Yes, granted not all mother’s are the cook in the house.  But do you think you can speak to “everyone” when do execute on any campaign.  You know you cannot.  They choose to speak through mom’s about their experience that is still occurring in homes. (even if it is not what happens in all)

    Is it changing?  I sure the hell hope so, as I was one of those Mom’s 30 years ago who was part of the movement to make it ok for “the dad” to be a parent and not just hold the title of Dad” as it use to be.  I encouraged my husband in changing cloth diapers ( and not letting him think it was woman’s work) we became role models for a more equal parenting relationship which frankly was not so equal then ;).  Doing all that when it was not popular was not easy.  We got a lot of stares, questions and ridicule.

    Back to today, this video was not that offensive, heck I found it humorous.  To hear a man who use to be a chef not want to have anything to do with cooking anymore.  It just goes to show that you can allow yourself to morph and change.

    I looked at @Ragusauce:twitter timeline and all I am seeing so far is them tweeting is a question of “who makes dinner in your house?”

    So it seems that their only fault was not making a video and tweeting with dad bloggers first.  Granted there could have been a bigger or more dynamic way to have created this piece.  Is every campaign suppose to be perfect?  Are we not to learn and improve each time?

    Where is that fail forward fast mentality we hear so much about?  It leaves me with a lot more questions than answers.

    Feeling like I may open a can of worms, guess we will see it as a learning opportunity.

    So when you can I saw you tweet you are flying, I would love to hear more why it has to be so extreme that you hate Ragu.  Do we not have room to just disagree anymore?  Do we have to hold brands feet to the fire or can we state here is where I disagree with you…

    • Amen, Michele.

      Okay, we get it – brands often make mistakes, but the best way to learn is by getting productive feedback, not ram-rodding like this post. And saying their agency should be fired because they did something a blogger doesn’t like? Come on…

      • I just want them to learn from their mistakes. That is the key. Hopefully they will.

    • I hope they do learn from it. That’s why I wrote the follow up post saying how they could have done it better.

      I just don’t like any brand that slams dads. Never have. Never will. Trying to be cute while slamming doesn’t make it ok in my book.

      • @prosperitygal:disqus But isn’t that the point? The second post was better, as it offered solutions; this one is just a rant that does nothing except get your frustrations off your chest.

        Humour against sexes is nothing new; it’s been happening for centuries through print, and then radio and movies came along and continued that.

        Are we to get upset at all the comedies that portray men and women in stereotypical ways through scriptwriting? Or we to stop comedians from telling jokes that portray views the same way?

        If there are deliberate and hurtful insults happening, sure, let’s highlight that. But other times we just need to get a sense of humour and see something as perhaps lame, and move on.

      • Lame it most certainly was and I am moving on because they were a product that I never used anyways and most certainly will never consider in the future.

  • I have to agree with my friend @chrisbrogan:disqus the fact that they bring anyone in to run these type of efforts make it increase the possibility of failing. 

    One key thing I saw at least on one the Kim Tracy Prince blog that she had no disclosure visible as of her relationship with Ragu which makes it even worst. 

    Good job C.C. on calling them out. Will share your story on our Papaheroes Blog you are in inspiration. 

  • I’m going to jump in here and agree with you that the  @ragu:twitter  twitter stream demonstrates that they really do need to hire someone who understands social. 

    BUT 

    I’m not sure how this video is upsetting. They took three bloggers and talked about their experiences with their husbands. It’s not scripted. Kim’s husband likes to grill, Rene’s husband used to be a chef and doesn’t enjoy it, and Whitney’s kids are picky. 

    Nothing about this makes dads look inept… not to this mom. Actually I think they look like superheroes, one mom said that the kids get to eat whatever they want. If my kids asked me to cook two separate meals first I’d scream, then I’d cry and then we’d all be sitting in the corners sucking our thumbs and rocking and trying to recover from my outburst. 

    Is it possible that the twitter stream was so hopeless and spammy that you looked at the video with a much more critical eye than you would have otherwise? 

    • Quite possible. I don’t know any of the people in the video and assumed they were just hired to shoot the video.

      All things aside I’m pissed at the stereotypes of picking on dads and this just feeds it. I’m more pissed at the lazy marketing done here.

  • This is just bad marketing and a even worse execution.

    What was the insight? How did they turn it into a valuable advertising proposition? The spamming of you on Twitter is actually the primary driver that speaks to the quality of the agency that executed this.

    It’s a everyday product for everyday people… they have no desire to be special or unique and their execution proves it.

    • Well said and thanks for seeing the part that really got me. The LAZY execution.

  • Ragu is garbage. That being said. I do 99% of the cooking here. I’m not a clueless parent.

    • If nothing else, this is what I hope my little rant does…raise the awareness to brands that dads are more active in the household chores than ever before.

  • Oh my! That wasn’t all too clever now was it?

  • Anonymous

    I may not “hate” Ragu, but I’m seriously disappointed in them. I used to use their sauce quite a bit when I made spaghetti, but I might be looking at other sauces in the future. 

    I’m just tired of marketers stereotyping dads as idiots.

    Tim

  • Ads has been making Dads out to be idiots for decades. “Only Mom can buy the right cough syrup for the kids, cause Dad is incompetent in this area.” It’s the “men are uncivilized brutes who lack the finesse only Mom can bring.”

    It sells product so they use it. Unfortunate.

  • Most of the top chefs in the world are men. That’s the reality of patriarchy flying right in the face of the “dumb dad who can’t cook” stereotype.

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  • It’s funny — I grew up with a dad who didn’t cook (doesn’t even know how!) and I’m marrying a guy who can *kind of* cook, but really doesn’t enjoy it at all. And it’s fine — I love to cook, and I’m a complete control freak in the kitchen, and so is my mom. It’s a thing we both own because we’ve got skills in that area, and I never resent it, and neither did she. As long as our guys pull their weight in other spots in the house, we’re in great shape.

    So men not cooking IS my reality… and yet I look at ads like that, and still wonder why they’d diss an entire audience. You’d think the smarter choice would be to try and *expand* their audience by appealing to a very real demographic that advertising has largely ignored, regardless of the reality of their existence: domestically gifted guys! Alienating a market share to try and appeal to another one (moms who feel ditched by their husbands in the kitchen?) lacks foresight, plain and simple.

    My tendency is to want to start some sort of a positive project to highlight dads who are fantastic in the kitchen, like a YouTube video channel of FoodieFathers where guys submit videos of them making their signature recipe (complete with kid helpers… maybe even scenes from the grocery store). A way to celebrate the men, instead of giving Ragu so much attention, even if they’ve merited a negative eyeball.

    (And I will say, Gradon made me one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had from a recipe he found on the internet — so he’s got potential. He just has to pry my garlic press from my cold dead hand. 🙂

  • I think any of those women would love to have a taste of my Mussels in Chorizo sauce. I’m not a dad, but I AM a guy. My girlfriend and I split cooking duties fairly often. They neglect the fact that a large part of their consumer base may be guys, and they are alienating them. Not very smart!

  • Gilbert

    What poor judgment on Ragu’s part! As someone who also does all the cooking and shopping (not to mention  the laundry), I’ll match my culinary skills against anyone at Ragu and come out a winner. Besides, my sauces taste far better than anything Ragu can concoct. Word of mouth is not going to help Ragu.

  • I have a dad & I’m in love with a dad – both of whom love to cook for their families, and the societal assumptions about dads similarly annoy me. Ragu (which is just really not good food anyway and they should probably focus on that) really messed this up – it’s not just offensive; it’s boring. 

  • Working on-air in radio for 15 years, it was our job to get ratings.
    That only comes with people taking about you. On a daily basis, I took
    an on-air position on a topic that was not my true position, in the name of
    controversy and ratings.

    I don’t believe Ragu cares one way or another. They want market share.
    The Ad agency LOVES this. They did their job. And are now pointing this
    out to Ragu.

    When we would execute a fantastic morning show and I was feeling good
    about it, inevitably, that day, I would meet someone who would ask me,
    “What do you do?”. I respond with “I do the morning show on 97.1 The
    Point.” and they would say: “Oh, I don’t listen to that station.”

    So, Hey, Ragu ad agency, Nice work.

    Hey Ragu, We still don’t like your sauce.

    Prego.

    • Unfortunately you are right. They’ve got nothing but tons of links and exposures from this and of course you could spin that to be a good thing. Who knows what is being discussed behind closed doors.

  • Tom

    Good for you.  Thanks for this article.  I’ve cooked my whole life.  I’ve catered events.  And I can cook whatever you want for any meal.  One of my specialties is a pasta sauce that I’m proud to say is now commercially available.  

  • Anonymous

    I think the video is pretty harmless…if you think it over generalizes and makes it seem like most (or all) dads are not helpful in the kitchen or rarely cook than it also makes moms sound like wine drinkers who ignore their kids.

    And honestly, after years and years of this kind of advertising: http://www.icanhasinternets.com/2010/05/25-horribly-sexist-vintage-ads/

    I think dads should be able to handle a playful jab.

    • Playful jabs sure. Stupid agency outreaches that don’t make it playful, not so much.

      • Anonymous

        So maybe instead of a title that says “Ragu Hates Dads” it could be “Whoever Operates Ragus Twitter Account Is A Moron”. Then again, that wouldn’t have pulled in nearly as much traffic.

      • *laugh* Looking back maybe that is what I should have called it.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty typical for marketing. Gender stereotypes are used often and without thought. It became more clear to me when we made the decision for me to run the business and my husband to be the primary caregiver. Suddenly 90% of commercials don’t speak to us because the women rule and men drool and suck at everything related to kids or the house angle is so prominent. 

  • I read 141 comments, then watched the video, then clicked through to the video on YouTube. This video on YouTube now has an “as seen on” link to the CC Chapman blog and 426 views. YouTube of course presents other videos in this series nearby.

    I like the concept of paying bloggers to appear in a promotional video. It’s interesting how they put it together. Obviously, each blogger can be in their home, though the sound quality will vary.  Unilever has a proper disclaimer at the end of the video stating the bloggers were paid.

    The agency is also clearly shown at the end of the video. It is http://deca.tv/about-us Based on the comments, I thought it was female owned but doesn’t look that way with a male co-founder and CEO at the top of the leadership page.

    Since it is a series, for sure they could and should add one with well known Dad bloggers. There are many possibilities for this. One that I would suggest would be my former client,  @BruceSallan:twitter  who was a stay-at-home single dad for many years, and still takes turns with his working wife in the kitchen.

    I did not find the video itself offensive. However, the campaign of sending tweets to Dads could  have been improved. A warm up with these men before sending them a link would have certainly have worked better. I always react negatively to a brand or representative from a brand sending me an unexpected link on Twitter.

    Very interesting discussion. Great to see many of my pals in the comments. Landed here because of a retweet from @Neenz:twitter of a tweet by @copyblogger:twitter

    • Linda is VERY smart!

      • Thank you very kindly Bruce.

      • Yes and like I said on my post on this and General Mills piece that was also blasted, it is amusing to see”friends” jump on board blasting the brands. 

        I am tickled they are doing blogger outreach.

        Sometimes I think we just need to ask “Did you realize that your message felt insulting to me because …?” Then suggesting they do an additional campaign and why.  Heck I see it as a way to get some dad bloggers work.  I love opportunities, don’t you?

        The fact that women still have these issues with their husbands not actively participating is not going to go away because some dads have stepped up and do.  That is not something the brands can address now is it?

      • Maybe not, but they certainly shouldn’t be feeding it either.

  • So we all agree that Ragu completely missed the boat on this. Great, we get that. But what value does this post bring? Glad that you feel Ragu hates dads — which, they obviously don’t. What was your point of this post? Simply to bring awareness about a horrible campaign? Awesome. Social has allowed all of us to become the biggest critics — a lot of the criticisim is justified, but it’s made us all the biggest bunch of whine babies.

    They made a mistake, you’ve made mistakes, I’ve made mistakes. It’s part of life and business. It doesn’t make it right, but it also doesn’t mean we should flame folks all the time. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m tired of the holier-than-thou-I-think-I-know-all-and-I’m-going-to-complain crap that’s out there.

    You’re a smart guy, C.C. I assumed you were above these types of pointless rants.

    • Sorry you feel it was pointless. Best thing about the internet is that we each have our own platforms to say whatever we want and I felt last night and still feel today that this was a lazy campaign that could have been done better.

      It is why I followed this up with another post giving solid advice on how it could be done better.

      Sure, Ragu doesn’t hate dads and I regret not putting a question mark in the headline like I meant to. But, I don’t think they care much about dad either.

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  • ARE you coming to BWE in November, C.C.? I know Adam is – we should meet (FINALLY). THIS is the topic of the panel I’m moderating and exactly what I spoke about at the 140conf NY this past summer!

    • I am going and I am speaking. Subject is “Content Rules, but Common Sense Rocks”

      Wonder what I might talk about 🙂

  • I didn’t watch the video because I’m having a good day and don’t want anything to take it off course. I got the gist from the blog post and the comments. My upbringing broke this stereotype. Not only did my Dad do/still does all of the shopping and nearly all of the cooking (he does have to work late sometimes), but so did my Papa. In fact, our family prefers their cooking.

    From a social media point of view, Ragu and their agency missed a critical step — the Assessment. An assessment would have given them much more insight during the development of their strategic plan and could have possibly avoided including a foot-in-mouth ingredient in the Ragu sauce.

    Oh, I should note my Dad and Papa have never used Ragu sauce in their dishes. 🙂

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  • Gaynycdad

    Dads who help in the kitchen are not the norm. While the agency should not have allowed these women on the air highlighting that, from many conversations I have had in the playground after school, those of us dads who do the shopping and the cooking are the vast minority. And in this forum with social media dads, we are way more savvy than most dads across the country, just talk to them. So this video was a bad choice but is not necessarily off the mark statistically, in my humble, GAY opinion. Cause I am sure as the “gay” stay at home dad, I am also not the norm.
    Now, who’s next?

    • I think you highlighted an awesome point that there is not one single NORM when it comes to parenting. Especially in today’s society,

  • I don’t know that I am offended by this but I will say that it has become common for women to make cracks about their husbands. If you surf through the mom blogs you will find more than a few examples of wives who portray their husbands as silly buffoons.

    Sometimes it is clear that they are joking and others…not so much. I can’t help but wonder about those women. Is that really what they think of their husbands.

    • Yeah I often look at the way couples act towards each other and shake my head.

      My wife and I have a great relationship and while we poke fun at each other, we make sure the it is always in fun. Other people (both men and women) not so much.

      Weird world we live in.

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  • This also shows the lack of creativity that exists in some ad agencies. Or in most ad agencies.

    Here’s the formula for an ad campaign these days.

    1) Women are smart, men are stupid
    2) Children are smarter than adults
    3) Animals are smarter than humans

    As long as you follow these simple guidelines, you can write an ad that will be considered original and unique.

    As a side note, whenever my wife likes to poke fun at my ineptitude whenever I engage in a task that women tend to be better at, I ask if if she’s certain I’m not just faking it in order to get out of doing it in the future.

    To me, perhaps a slightly more clever way of ending a commercial where the dad is portrayed as incompetent, would be to show him with a sly look on his face as he yet again outsmarted his wife, and absolved himself of ever having to do that task again.

    But then, that would violate the guidelines above. And we can’t have that now can we?

    • Now THAT would be a winning campaign. A little wink and a nod to all the guys of the world.

      Seriously, I love that idea.

  • I Much Prefer Newman’s Own

    C.C., I watched the video in question, expecting something along the lines of an old Robitussin TV ad I recall from a few years back, in which the dumb dad shows off to sick-in-bed mom the great job he did ironing the shirt he’s wearing [sarcastic tone] all by himself! – only for dumb dad to turn around to show a huge iron burn on the back.

    I tried to find that on YouTube and instead found this deeply offensive sexist Verizon ad; far worse than the ad I had recollected:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpgeACOMS9o

    It is noted that this awful ad was pulled off the air.  In a word, good.  Condescending to a deep degree.  Hey dumb dad, says condescending mom, leave our smart daughter alone.  Let her work in peace with her online research that you’re too stupid to comprehend; make yourself useful and go wash the dog.  No doubt the daughter, following mom’s lead and being very disrespectful to her father, is either adopted or more likely the progeny of the cable guy – a ha! yes, an offensive sexist comment, on par I’d say with this fail of an ad.

    That said…the Ragu ad is nowhere near that level of offensiveness towards men.  In fact I didn’t find it offensive at all.  Banal?  Absolutely!  But not offensive.

    I propose the above-noted truly offensive Verizon ad provides a point of comparison: If that ad on the Dad Offensiveness scale of 1-10 is a 10, then the Ragu piece is, what, a 2?

    I’m all for calling out advertisers for idiocy a la Verizon, but…Mama Mia!  I think Ragu is getting a bum rap here.

    PS-If they were on their social media game, they’d have responded quickly…but that’s a quibble.

    • I remember that ad. Guess I know why I never saw it more than I did. Interesting that they banned it. Yeah that is a horrible one.

  • CC

    I read a lot of the comments and then watched the vid. I am not offended and really do not see where men would be but hell, I am embarrassed for them. This is creative? This is what an agency scripted out in a story board? Oy vey! As a marketer, I am offended that this would be put into the marketplace thinking that this was something of value, would be something that would entice anyone to buy their product. It was a chat room of women bitching or attempting to have some sort of conversation that their man sucks in the kitchen and they are superior.

    This low level attempt at creative is telling us nothing about the product and recipes that the product offers. I, as a woman, should trust and believe that Ragu has some great recipes from mom bloggers who are telling me through saying their husbands cannot cook? Sure it got us talking but no one said they were going to buy the product b/c they have recipes.

    As for their twitter, yet another brand that has no idea that social media is marketing. Now, I am not  the poster child for social media as my twitter stream is quite decorated during sporting events (ahem) but as a member of the social media community I take responsibility for my brand. I do get pissed when I see this crap out there as we as a community should and do expect more from brands. Most brands would not trust an intern and recent grad with their creative but do so with their SM. How has that become acceptable? It is not acceptable to me and having been intricately involved in the creative process of shooting commercials, this is not acceptable either.

    Meh, I can go on forever about the lack of responsibility on behalf of the Ragu marketing team and agency but that is just echoing the masses here.

    PS I am a mom and I am certainly no genius in the kitchen and await the day for a man to come in and take over the duties.

    • Thanks for chiming in. I was mad about them feeding stereotypes, but as you’ll see if you read the post I followed this up with this morning you’ll see I focused on the lazy marketing which when I slept on it really upset me even more.

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that the recent JCPenney ad is WAY more insulting to men than this Ragu commercial. Have you seen it yet? 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE7y8cUyuS8
    Speaking to the generic man, I’d ask…Do you feel like you need to see a sexy girl so you can be convinced to buy a polo shirt? Are you no more than an animal who will follow the bikini and do what you are told?

    • I actually laughed at that ad the first time I saw it. Playing off the 80’s movie famous scene I thought was funny since they knew that the men they wanted to reach had seen that movie when we were younger.

      Now granted I didn’t GET the commercial and thought it was more confusing than anything else, but it certainly didn’t insult me as a man.

      They were trying to play that age old game of you have to do this one thing you don’t want to do (be pitched on clothes) so we’ll give you something you do like (the woman) as a reward. I’m still not sure it worked, but most ads don’t these days.

      • Anonymous

        It definitely didn’t work. I can’t even remember what they were selling, other then “men’s clothing”?

      • Yeah I remembered the ad when you showed it to me, but if you had described it and asked me who the ad was for I would not have been able to tell you.
        This is true for most brands these days.

  • I don’t see anything being sexist in these videos. I am a dude with a girlfriend who happens to be one of these ragu women.. not in these videos however. I do all of the cooking and all of the shopping and we both enjoy it. Firstly think of it this way.. men historically decimate women at cooking and the proof of women using ragu instead of making their own sauce says it all. If women want to try to be cooks at home and feel good about it then I am all for it. Remember that they still make 75 cents on the dollar compared to men so if they are happy to be homemakers and poke fun at their husbands due to their lack of confidence or self appreciation.. that is fine. In THIS video there is no sexism at all and I am keen to sensing it.. like in this post I just wrote.. lots of sexism. This video is A OK with me!

  • Oh, also.. their ad got your attention and is being talked about.. yeah, on YOUR own blog. So I think you are wrong about it not being effective. Apparently you are ALL about their ad!

    • I love this argument that it was all fine and good because I’m talking about it. Not really the point when the commentary is a negative fashion.

      I write about things that catch my attention and yes I knew that by writing this I would draw some attention to it and I’m ok with that. As for if it “worked” that is impossible for us to know. Yes, it got my attention. But, it isn’t going to get me to buy their product and in the end isn’t that what they really wanted?

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  • Given that slopping Ragu onto pasta is arguably the laziest meal anyone could possibly make, is their point that all the lazy dads in the world should run out and buy Ragu?

    • I do think that is exactly what they are suggesting and I’m sure some will do it. I’m just not one of them.

      • It seems like a very strange way to position a brand. Brands typically appeal to their markets in a positive manner.  Branded gym chains, for instance, appeal to people’s desires to “look better,” “get fit,” or “be healthy.”  If a gym employed Ragu’s technique, they would commission men (or women) to rant about how fat their wives (or husbands) are, in the hope of pushing them into memberships.

  • “Men are obviously better cooks, just look at the gender percentage of chefs.  Women are much better at the simple, less creative, stuff…like cooking at home”

    Pretty sure any marketing campaign that stated that would be roasted over a spit (yeah, I’m using a cooking metaphor).

    As the cook in my household am I offended by the video?  Not really.  It’s too badly done and ineffective to be offensive, I won’t give it that much respect.  I am however a little disheartened that some folks can’t at least see *why* it might offensive.

    Cheers,

    -Matt

    • Thanks Matt for chiming in as only you could.

      And yes, if rolls ever get flipped all hell breaks loose. But, do it in this direction and nothing happens since us guys are “over reacting.”

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  • Bobbie {OneScrappyMom}

    I think you took the message completely wrong in this video. Ragu wasn’t saying that dad’s don’t cook or that dad’s cook simple things, the message is that when dad cooks it’s different. I don’t know how you (being a father and the primary cook in your house) can disagree with that. SInce you are the primary cook, it’s probably different when you wife cooks. That’s not to say she can’t or she cooks a simpler meal. 

    Personally in my house, we have “daddy” dinners and we have “mommy” dinners. This probably stands true for most families. There are MANY reasons for that. The lasanga recipe we make is my grandmothers. It’s not hard, my husband can make it but he doesn’t. That’s a mommy meal, mostly because the times I make it, I like the kitchen free of the kids and everything else and it brings back the memories of cooking it with my grandmother. Now the grill.. I won’t touch it! It scares the crap out of me. My husband does all the grilling. Grilling takes more skill then some of the meals I throw together! 

    The underlying message in this video was not that dads can’t make dinner or take the easy way out, it’s simply that dinners, when cooked by others, are different, no matter who the other is (grandma that lives with you could have a completely different dinner routine then you and your spouse, etc). 

    On a side note, I had a visit to the Unilever kitchens and there was a dad in our group. Ragu is working on making dinnertime easier, no matter WHO cooks it. 

    • I appreciate your input on this discussion because in my mind every voice and opinion helps, but I disagree with you.

      No one can tell me how I feel and to me I didn’t like it. Ragu themselves told me this morning they made this video for moms. I’m a Dad. I didn’t like it. Some others will.

      To each their own.

      • Bobbie {OneScrappyMom}

        I am not telling you how to feel. I am very aware that many things are going to cause reactions in this world, especially in the blogging world. The title of your post “Ragu hates dads” is simply not true. PERIOD. Look at their facebook page and the interaction they have with dads. If they were anti-dad they would not reach out to the dad’s that reached out to them. While this particular video and topic was targeted for moms, would you opinion be the same had they interviewed 3 dads and said What is dinnertime like when mom cooks? 

        You always have to look at both sides. I am not trying to be hasty or force an opinion, but when controversial things like this come up.. flip the coin and look at the other side. Would your opinion be the same? 

      • I did look at the other side. Did you read the two other posts that have gone up since this one did a couple of days ago?

        I talked to Ragu today. They TOLD me this was only made for Moms and I told them that it was not a smart move to try to attract dads if the video was made for moms.

        As someone who works in this space I always look at both sides, but in my opinion there is only one side being shown. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but then trying to start a conversation with me and other dads about it? That was the dumb and insulting part to me.

      • Bobbie {OneScrappyMom}

        I have not read your other posts. Personally the way you headlined this post, I would be inclined to never read a word you have to say regarding another topic again. Sorry, but you came across very demanding and insulting of a company that you had no knowledge of the campaign. Many dads are completely fine with the topic, so no, it was not in bad taste of ragu to want the opinions of dads. Attacks? That’s a whole different topic. 

      • Sorry you feel this way.

        Best part about the world we live in is that we are all entitled to our own opinions.

  • Consider the source. Ragu is to real spaghetti sauce what grape Kool-Aid is to Beaulolais.

  • Someone is going to lose their job over this. And I hope they don’t put this on their resume as a ” successful social media campaign.”

    Thanks for sticking up for us guys, C.C.!

    • After talking to them today I really don’t think they realize that anything wrong was done so in their mind it is a successful campaign. Look at all the traffic they got.

  • Yeah, and the moms in the commercial weren’t all that cute either

    • And you’re a looker? Thanks for adding no value at all to this conversation, Bob.

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  • Anonymous

    Wow! That’s really offensively sexist! I cook loads of things from scratch that are healthy and nutritious for my children. I’ve been a home-dad for over ten years! Wouldn’t touch Ragu with a barge-pole. I make my own sauces!

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  • Niri

    I just have to say how disappointed I am to see how this conversation has turned.

    I agree that stereotyping is bad, no matter which way.
    I agree that tweeting someone into a link when there has been zero engagement is poor taste.

    However,

    I think the heading of this post is really inflammatory and wrong. Ignoring a sector of your audience is not the same as hating. Unwise maybe but hateful – no!

    I do think that the entire campaign was judged on the video/s. Videos which were separately created and not any of them were  the “ambassadors” Facebook page pasted in the post following this. I am one of those on the FB page and if you read any of the 20 somewhat posts you would see amazing content creation from recipes to ideas.

    I think valid and key points got lost when cheap shots (which I honestly hoped would have been doused to prevent them going on) like the women not even looking good in the video. Like I would tell my 4 year old – be nice and be fair. That was really a mean comment.

    Speaking about the quality of the sauce is another thing. That had NOTHING to do with the point yet was ranted often about.

    The worst was the lashing and defensive statements about who is really the better cook (famous and better used interchangeably) . These statements do not help, nor does judging the “laziness” of using sauce in a jar. I drag my special needs kid to therapy and sometimes arriving home late I have to opt for a sauce out of a jar, even though I cook most days. Don’t judge – you are not helping everyone see us as one. 

    I guess it may be fun for so many to jump on a bandwagon – but maybe this wagon better be steered back to what was once a valid point.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, Ragu is the cheapest brand at our store, and wife does the shopping. Yes, your takeaway from here should be that Batman is indeed, married, with two kids, that look great in capes and cowls 😉

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  • I didn’t hear about this until I found your post. Didn’t bother clicking on the video since in my house, my husband does the cooking and my oldest son actually prefer it when he does. I even have to offer up a little white lie every once in a while to tell him that I used my husband’s recipe when I cooked so he’ll actually eat what I’ve prepared.

    And we don’t buy Ragu in our house. Never have, never will and as a mom blogger who receives pitches from various companies all the time, I have to say that I agree 100% with what you have to say. My site has the word “parenting” in the title and even though my primary readers are women, my goal was to create a space where both moms and dads, straight or otherwise, married or single, feel comfortable and find a sense of community and support there.

    Dads of our generation are a different breed. It’s time the media and larger companies who cater to families start recognizing this.

    • Thank you for chiming in and focusing in on the fact that the biggest mistake was the way they went about trying to engage dads rather than the actual video itself.

      I’m glad to know there are plenty of other parents out there that are bothered by this. It isn’t only a mom or dad issue.

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  • So weak. In so many ways.

  • I make dinner every night. God bless my wife, she is a great mom, but no culinary master. 

  • Hans Frans Begans

    Eh, I honestly don’t see how this is so bad.

  • Hans Frans Begans

    Eh, I honestly don’t see how this is so bad.  I see our oversensitivity to every-fucking-thing as a bigger problem.

    I teach my kids to be non-racist, non-sexist, non-asshole, critical thinkers and they’ve gotten the lesson by themselves that they should pretty much just ignore any advertising or retarded opinion hocking on the TV or internet altogether.

    Sorry, I don’t see the big injustice here.

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  • SE

    Another example of Social justice in rare form. I would love to see the communications you had with Ragu before this post.  I am sure you tried to work with them first before taking to skewing them for a single marketing idea across your platforms.  The point of the campaign was simple, even if it was not a fit for you or your way of parenting.  Surely the agency made a mistake in contacting you in the first place but don’t you think, given your personal “klout” you owe the company a private response before you do something like this?

    • No, I don’t believe I do since they reached out to me with their @ spam like they did to some other dads.

  • Swid00

    I’ve been making my own red sauce from scratch for 15 years.  It tastes much better than any Ragu product.  I will never buy any of there products because there will never be a need for me to eat sauce from a can.

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  • Katja

    Yes, families are all very different, and Ragu missed the mark. I just discovered this site, and on another note, I am a feeding specialist and the information on these videos is pretty atrocious. Yes, we can related to being worried our kids aren’t eating enough, or too much, but this site normalizes really abnormal feeding behaviors, “if you don’t eat, no Santa!” Really? I often see dads actually do better with feeding because they seem less anxious and less controlling. Not always, but often. Maybe you can write about that? I remember doing workshops with a dad’s parenting group and almost every question was, “My wife wanted me to ask you about,” or “My wife is worried about…” These were SAHDs for the most part who were orchestrating the meals. It is a fascinating dynamic. Anyway, just wanted to throw in a random thought, and here is my link..http://familyfeedingdynamics.com/2011/11/normalizing-abnormal-feeding-one-mommy-blogger-at-a-time/ Can the Daddy bloggers do better? I’d love to see it! Give me links! Thanks!

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