Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ruth Truth #8: the Soccer Mom is a mythical creature

Raise your hand if you consider yourself a “soccer mom.”

What, nobody?

Hey, I’m with ya. Apparently, so are most mothers of children who happen to play soccer.

Okay, so I have a kid who plays on a soccer team. My husband and I take him to practices and games. We drive a vehicle large enough to accommodate car seats for three children. Once per season we bring snacks for after the game. That’s sort of how it works if you want your kid to be involved in an organized sport. I would say with some confidence that this aspect of my life does not define me. (Or my husband, but you don’t hear much about soccer dads anyway.)

The term “soccer mom” was popularized during the 1996 presidential campaign. The busy middle class suburban mom, faithfully slicing oranges, laundering uniforms, and shuttling her offspring between music lessons and soccer games, was considered a key voting demographic. Since that time, all sorts of businesses have been marketing to soccer moms. There’s just one problem with this strategy: in the past decade the term “soccer mom” has taken on a bit of a negative connotation, and very few women actually identify with the label.

In fact, there’s even a book about marketing to women called The Soccer Mom Myth. The authors of this book found that hardly any women considered themselves “soccer moms.” Therefore, the billions of dollars spent marketing to this demographic is essentially being wasted.

Well then, how should you market to women? If you want to find out, you’ll have to read the book. I only skimmed the summary on Do you think I have time to read books? My son has soccer practice twice a week and a game every Saturday, we’re in charge of snacks next week, and the minivan is due for an oil change.


Meaghan said...

Once I was surfing around iTunes and found a "Soccer Mom" playlist. I opened it, ready to laugh condescendingly at the ridiculous "soft & light" songs "those" moms listened to. To my horror, I liked approximately 90% of the songs on the "Soccer Mom" playlist. Does this make me a "Soccer Mom" even though I have only one child who is not involved in soccer, or any other organized sport for that matter? In fact, she's not even all that coordinated. So how do I end up in this demographic, at least as far as iTunes is concerned? I should get the book I guess.

Angela said...

I don't have anything funny to say, darn it...
But, I'm not a soccer mom. Who has time for kids to find their own sport, when I can't even brush my own teeth? (theirs are brushed, just not mine YUCK!) Besides...It is stressing me out to decide when in my day to brush my teeth? Before the coffee? Yuck. After the coffee? When does that happen? Coffee is my constant companion these days... So..before bed seems to be a good time, if I'm awake enough. Lately, I've been doing it when I brush the kids teeth at 8 pm. I don't eat after that, so it works. And, i seem to remember learning in my health class in college that ONCE a day is good enough... normally that wouldn't work for me...but for this season of my sounds pretty good. Just don't get close enough to smell my breath, unless you really like coffee... which i know you do.

Ruth said...

Meaghan, perhaps you are a soccer-mom-in-waiting. You might want to start looking into local peewee leagues.

Angela, you are right, it is just a season, eventually you'll probably be back to no caffeine and a twice a day brushing habit. Remember, your life just got insane. You're wrong about one thing, though, I think you did have something funny to say.