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Would you judge a parent for serving fish fingers at tea time? When the Daily Mail shamed so-called ‘slummy mummies’ for blogging about the (real) difficulties of parenting, the article was met with harsh criticism from parents, stirring up a hornet’s nest with nearly 10,000 shares and over a thousand comments. Birds Eye picked up on the debate and has come out to support mums and dads with its #Solidaritea campaign. We explore the insights behind the ad, and explain why ‘standing with them’ often wins with consumers.

In May 2017, a group of mummy bloggers, including Katie Kirby (Hurrah for Gin), Steph Douglas (Don’t Buy Her Flowers), Sarah Turner (The Unmumsy Mum) and Clemmie Telford (Mother of All Lists), were shamed in the Daily Mail for ‘driving down’ parenting standards. “What really irritates me about the boom in anti-mothering manuals is that their constant pastiche of failing at the tough challenges of basic motherhood is really just selfish moaning in another guise,” wrote Anna May Mangan. “These arrogant women shouldn’t forget that, as well as being hard, having a new baby is a gift.”

These mum bloggers are known for openly discussing the calamities of real parenting, whether that’s screaming kids, messy households, preparing food or putting them to sleep. But the final straw for Mangan was that one mum “happily confessed to being so lazy, she gave her toddler a fish finger straight from the freezer.”

Birds Eye celebrates the imperfections of parenthood
Birds Eye, Brids Eye (2017) ©

In response, Birds Eye launched its #Solidaritea campaign, which features the ‘fish finger five’ – the aforementioned mum bloggers. Created by Recipe, the ad embraces their honesty around the realities of parenting and offers up its frozen fish fingers as one shame-free solution; “For every 5am wake up. For every Peppa Pig meltdown. For every spelt out swear word. For every ‘I want daddy’. For every gin and tonic. For every smile. For every fish finger tea.”

Facebook and Instagram have contributed to a media landscape that’s populated by images of picture-perfect lives. But parenting is no walk in the park, and 80% of women in the UK feel added pressure to be the perfect mum from social media. So, it’s no surprise that Peter and Jane, a fictional blog that addresses the struggle of parenting, attracts 100,000 hits a month, or that Birds Eye would seek to align itself with the growing pushback against perfection. In just over a week, #solidaritea has racked up nearly two thousand posts on Instagram. By standing with ‘imperfect parents’, the brand is positioning itself as a supportive and ‘real’ brand – a narrative that resonates against a backdrop of airbrushed, over-filtered, unachievable portrayals of parenthood.

Alex Rückheim is a behavioural analyst at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research, and who has worked on behaviour change projects with global clients including Samsung, the UK Government, Red Bull, AKQA and OMD. With a background in Strategic Marketing, he is also special lecturer at the University of the Arts London, and curator of design-focused site GOODS WE LIKE.



17 Jul 17
3 min read

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