As Father's Day approaches, what brand do dads think of most highly? Turns out it's Band-Aid.
A survey released this week asked American fathers which brands they hold in highest regard, and the Johnson & Johnson adhesive bandages topped the list. (A different study, covered in Adweek this week, looks at the Top 10 brands dads most desire.) What's more, Craftsman tools—last year's leader—finished in the No. 3 spot, behind No. 2 Amazon.com.
What gives? How did a brand so historically associated with mom turn into a fatherly fave?
"I'd say that dads aren't as removed from taking care of their kids' boo-boos as traditional dads might have been 30 or 40 years ago," said Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov BrandIndex, which conducted the survey of 1,800 American fathers.
Marzilli added that Johnson & Johnson itself made this year's list (coming it at No. 5)—still another indicator that dealing with skinned knees and diaper rash has increasingly become pop's domain.
Another likely force at play here is the steadily increasing number of fathers who've replaced mom as the kids' primary caregivers. "In today's families, we've seen an increase in stay-at-home dads who cite caring for their children as the main reason they are home," said J&J’s marketing director Colin Smyth.
According to the advocacy group National At-Home Dad Network, 1.4 million fathers in the United States stay at home at least part time, and U.S. Census figures show that 32 percent of married fathers (some 7 million men) are today a "regular source of care for their children"—a 26 percent rise from 2002.
"It's fascinating that Band-Aids are the number one brand on the list," said Katherine Wintsch, founder of marketing agency The Mom Complex. In Wintsch's view, "it's a real sign that dads are taking a bigger role in child-rearing activities. I would venture to guess that 10 years ago dads would have been hard-pressed to tell you where the Band-Aids were kept in the house. Now they're seen as a go-to brand and product."
Not that grown men don't need plenty of Band-Aids, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 1.2 million men cut themselves badly enough to visit the emergency room in 2011 (the latest data available), whereas only 158,000 women did.
And, just for the record, it was a father of two children who invented Band-Aids in the first place. In 1920, Earle Dickson (who worked as a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson) placed a square of gauze and crinoline on a strip of surgical tape for his wife, who was prone to scrapes and burns in the course of making dinner for the family.