I hadn't quite realized how intensely Madison Avenue was attempting to co-brand and cross-market every single consumerable product known to mankind until BossLady and I started shopping for the baby. Did you know that you can buy an Eddie Bauer car seat, a Harley Davidson rocking chair, a Kate Spade stroller, or a Jeep Cherokee crib? I even saw a John Deere baby toolkit! Wow...talk about having low expectations for your own child's future. A toolkit for babies? You have to wonder about a parent's motives there, don't you? ("Well, Johnny ain't never gonna be no doctor but maybe he can get one of them union jobs unclogging toilets.")
Anyway...every time we walk into a baby store, I'm always amazed that the cross-marketing or co-branding of baby products could have any possible effect on a parent's decision to purchase what's best for their baby.
Obviously, men and women are genetically programmed in different ways. And no more is this evidenced greater than when purchasing items for their baby. When it comes to women, you're simply not going to fool them with smoke and mirrors. Their nesting instincts will compel them to research any potential product by looking up Consumers Digest reports, discussing it ad nauseum with their friends, reading every post on urbanbaby.com, speaking to their doctors, and cross-referencing the databases of the BBB, FDA, BATF, and OSHA. They'll go to BuyBuyBaby in person, examine the product with a microscope, and then return again every week to bombard the overworked, underpaid, minimum-wage, commission-earning salesman with a list of questions longer than the Federal Budget. When moms finally do make the purchase, they'll usually return it 4 days later because one of the clips didn't close at the proper 38 degree angle. Moms know this because they busted out their Graco protractor and found that the clip measured out only to 35 degrees.
Guys are different. When we're at BuyBuyBaby on a weekend when the Red Sox and Yankees are playing a three-game series and our wives are asking us whether we like their carefully chosen baby product, we really couldn't care less. But we're sensitive to our pregnant spouse's needs so we'll usually just base our judgement on how shiny the product is (the shinier, the better). Sometimes we're not paying attention at all or are completely surprised that our wives have actually asked us for our opinion about a baby product (a rare occasion). In less than a nanosecond, we panic. Our thought process usually goes something like this, "hmm...hold on a sec. she's asking me for my opinion. She never asks me for my opinion. Is this some sort of trick? Did she catch me looking at all these enormous boobs? Quick. What do I think? Shit. Well, let's see. It's made by Eddie Bauer. I really like that flannel shirt I bought there last Christmas. Even though it's a little itchy, it seems to be pretty well made. If this car seats's anywhere near as good as that flannel shirt, I'll probably like it. Quick, dammit, say something." At this point, we usually turn to our wife and say, "I think it's great, honey. I've done a lot of research on this car seat too. We must have been looking at all the same websites. Let's get it. If the clips don't measure out to 38 degrees, we can always come back again next Sunday."
Shit. Maybe those advertising whores on Madison Avenue have me figured out after all.