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8.18.2010

Choosey Corporations Choose Responsibility - An Open Letter to Jif Peanut Butter

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Mr. Timothy P. Smucker
Chairman and CEO,
The J. M. Smucker Company
                   1 Strawberry Lane
                   Orrville, OH 44667-0280

Dear Mr. Smucker,

I was casually watching television last night when I caught your latest commercial for Jif® Peanut Butter, the one with a dad building a tree house for his little girl. I wanted to let you know that I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the commercial with the change in your tagline: “Choosey Moms and Dads Choose Jif.” Thank you for being responsible in your advertising by recognizing the importance of dads in the lives of their children - even the everyday, mundane tasks (such as grocery shopping and making meals). I do hope that this is a permanent change to your advertising and not just a one-time shot just for this commercial.

Mr. Smucker, while I’m aware that moms still do most of the grocery shopping and are therefore your target audience, well, the times they are a’changin’, and it is no longer socially responsible for corporations to continue to endorse and push traditional gender roles just to help the bottom line. Our sons need to know that they will have just as much responsibility for caring for their future children as the future mother of their children does. Our daughters need to know and expect that the job of caring for the day-to-day needs of their future family is not incumbent only on them. And while the job of educating our sons and daughters about this first and foremost belongs to us, their parents, we need partnerships from the brands we buy – not to be undercut and under-minded. Isn’t that the real way socially responsible corporations should behave? Choosey Corporations Choose Responsibility, after all.

Again, Mr. Smucker, thank you for taking the right approach. While speaking to audiences, I have frequently targeted Jif’s® tagline as a negative example of corporate ir-responsibility when it comes to supporting involved and engaged fathers. If this is indeed a permanent change, as I hope it is, we can now use Jif® and the entire J. M. Smucker Company as a positive example of a corporation getting it right.


With warmest regards,

Christopher Maples
Dad & Director,
Dads Inc. – A Division of The Villages

7 comments:

  1. Chris:
    Thanks for posting this! I appreciate you pointing out this issue. In my household, our two year old girl is fed, dressed and prepped for school each morning by her Dad.

    We really have little interest in following traditional gender roles and instead focus on what makes our family work! Thanks for the info about the change Smuckers has made in their advertising. I think it is great! Arin

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  2. I think it's great too. Nice letter.

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  3. I've always been annoyed by the "Choosy mothers" ads. I'm sure it's a good product, but I always end up with Peter Pan brand in my grocery cart. And now that I consider the issue, it's pretty much because of Jif's well-known tagline.

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  4. I agree with everyone - great letter! Thanks for pointing this out and holding them accountable. It's great that dads are finally stepping up and demanding their voice be heard.

    Let us know when you get a response. Hopefully this is a permanent change, but if not, you should start a boycott of Jif. With the big reach you have in social media, you could really get your voice heard. And I would help get some of the "Moms" groups I'm in riled up, too :)

    Jackie Rogers

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  5. Thanks for your responses, everyone. I'm glad that a lot of moms are commenting, too. We appreciate your solidarity! ;)

    Jackie, I will let you all know when we get a response. Before we start laying out a battle plan, let's just give them the opportunity to let us know the change is permanent. If not, we would like to work with them to make the change permanent, not against them.

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  6. Mary Jane MitchellAugust 21, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    I'll bet your letter won't go unanswered! Maybe they'll recruit you for their first commercial featuring "choosey dads" exclusively!

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  7. Well, I would settle with them sponsoring the Fatherhood Hall of Fame Dinner, Mary Jane :)

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